The outrages reasons are now surfacing as to why Ezekiel Mutua, the censorship tsar of Kenya's censorship board, last week abruptly banned 7 cartoons on Nickelodeon (DStv 305), Disney XD (DStv 304) and Cartoon Network (DStv 301) for being homosexual (gay).
The bizarre reasons provided by Kenya's Film Classification Board (KFCB) it seemingly took straight from the internet without having actually watched and screened the various kids cartoons, are mind-bogglingly insane and shockingly unbelievable.
Ezekiel Mutua, KFCB CEO, told MultiChoice the 7 cartoons must be off the air on the DStv and GOtv satellite pay-TV platforms over seemingly foolish reasons, ranging from one character "who has a dick for a head", to two characters who go on an (unseen) "implied romantic vacation".
While on a superficial level Kenya's censorship and banning of kids cartoons might seem silly, it has systemic and operational real-world consequences for South African and African TV viewers far beyond the borders of the East African country.
Since channel distributors often only has one TV channel broadcast feed for Africa, a ban of content on a channel in one country, like Kenya or Nigeria - that a channel distributor then must agree to - means one of two things.
Either the whole channel must be completely blocked and be made unavailable in the affected country, or the content deemed offensive on the TV channel must be removed from the linear broadcast schedule.
Since we share one similar channel feed for more than one country, this means that the content is taken away not just from viewers in the country affected, but from millions of DStv subscribers right across several African countries, including South Africa.
The 7 cartoons are now abruptly banned, with the KFCB's shocking censorship that is creating problems for not just MultiChoice and DStv, but also the channel and content providers Walt Disney Africa, Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) and Turner Broadcasting EMEA that respectively run and programme the Disney XD, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network channels.
Some of the cartoons are not even airing anymore and ended years ago - for instance the now-banned The Legend of Korra that finished its run in 2014 (it would have aired on NickToons by now).
After responding to a media enquiry, the KFCB says the 7 cartoons - Loud House, The Legend of Korra, Hey Arnold, Clarence, Steven Universe, Adventure Time and Star vs the Forces of Evil are TV children programmes "with homosexual themes".
The KFCB says it doesn't matter that the shows don't include or show any overt on-screen "gayness".
If a show's creator said a character is gay - in the way that JR Rowling after the conclusion of the Harry Potter series said that Prof Dumbledore is gay - that is enough for Kenya's censors to order a ban on a kids cartoon on MultiChoice's DStv platform.
The KFCB says its "investigations focused on both current and previous programmes that are not suitable for children.
The KFCB - that said it banned the cartoons because it believes that the Nickelodeon, Disney XD and Cartoon Network shows "are intended to introduce children to deviant behaviour".
The KFCB says Kenya's constitution "only recognizes marriage between people of the opposite sex. From these references to the Kenya Constitution 2010, it is clear that homosexuality is not part of the culture, national values and the concept of a family."
"Further, it is important to note that South Africa is the only African country that recognizes same sex marriages. The Kenyan government has a responsibility to protect children against harmful exposure to negative media content and this is what the KFCB is doing as part of its mandate."
The KFCB provided the following reasons for why it banned each of the 7 cartoons on Nickelodeon, Disney XD and Cartoon Network:
The Loud House
The KFCB is so uninformed that it missed the announcement of self-censorship by VIMN Africa in mid-2016 when Viacom International "assured" DStv subscribers that it won't be broadcasting on television anywhere in Africa the "Overnight Success" episode on the Nickelodeon channel featuring the flash-appearance of two gay dads.
The KFCB has now banned the Loud House series over an episode that was never even broadcast in Kenya in the first place.
Star vs the Forces of Evil
KFCB would ban a cartoon that couldn't possibly have seen yet. Disney XD just started showing the second season of the show on the channel across Africa and is now at episode 8. It will be quite a while before episode 20, "Just Friends", makes it to actual TV screens that does contain a fleeting kiss - if you know where to pause and look closely in the background.
Legend of Korra
The KFCB decided to ban The Legend of Korra since the creator, after the conclusion of the show in 2014, said that two characters are lesbian. Yet nothing romantic during the duration of the show was ever shown on-screen.
Legend of Korra is banned although it isn't even showing on Nickelodeon currently.
The KFCB decided to ban Adventure Time on fake reasons and alleges that "the creator said the two main characters are in a gay relationship".
Not only are Princess Bubblegum and Marceline not the main characters as the KFCB alleges, but the creator, Pendleton Ward, has never said anything to that effect ever.
The closest is actress Olivia Olsen voicing the character of Marceline, at a book signing, who said that in her personal opinion Marceline is likely lesbian but that the show will never venture into that territory since "in some countries where the show airs, it's sort of illegal".
The KFCB found a correct quote from an interview with the website Movie Pilot with the show's creator. Ruby and Sapphire are indeed lesbians, according to the show's creator, but viewers will have to watch the show with that specific subtext to see that.
The KFCB however seems to read a lot of fanfiction. Is Pearl and Rose gay? The creator hasn't confirmed or mentioned anything.
Explaining why it banned this cartoon, the KFCB again lies and says a character calls someone "bitch". Nobody says this to another character and the word is never spoken.
What happens is that a character called Grunkle Stan once says "son of a ..." before the scene cuts away.
The KFCB lies when it says the characters watch porn. It's never happened. The show also finished in 2016 already. Like The Legend of Korra, the show's creator, after the conclusion of the series, said Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durand are gay, although its never ever mentioned or explored in the show.
The KFCB says "Arnold is taught the wonders of sexual stamina and given stories about sex". Nowhere in the series does that ever happening.
As proof of these and other simply not there things, the KFCB seems to have found a website that tries to find so-called "dirty jokes" in the cartoon.
The KFCB says Arnold's grandpa "had a dick for a head – head is in the shape of a penis and somewhere in the scene there is a poster written 'try my sausage".
It's real, definitive proof according to the KFCB that Hey Arnold isn't meant for children.
Luckily Hey Arnold isn't even on Nickelodeon currently but was on NickToons until this whole thing happened, so the KFCB didn't have to bother.
Special thinks to TV with Thinus