Content warning: This story includes topics of fatal violence that could make some readers feel uncomfortable.
Police in Kenya are investigating the death of LGBTQ+ activist, model and fashion designer Edwin Chiloba.
The body of Eldoret-based Chiloba was found stashed in a metallic box in Kapsaret, Uasin Gishu, along the Kipenyo-Kaptinga road.
According to reports, a plateless vehicle was seen dropping the metal box in the area. Bodaboda riders later alerted the authorities, who soon discovered Chiloba’s decomposing body in the same clothes he had worn on 31 December 2022.
Chiloba’s body was taken to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, where a post-mortem awaits to establish the cause of death.
Social media mourned Chiloba’s murder, with fellow LGBTQ+ activist and media personality Anita Nderu saying she’s “heartbroken and devastated”.
“Seeing the comments under the posts highlighting his death are so alarming. We are headed down a very alarming trajectory as a society,” she wrote.
“How many more members of the LGBTQ+ community have to be murdered before Kenyans realize that your silence empowers the homophobic, it empowers them to act unlawfully and with impunity.”
Disconnect actress Kate Kamau said: “I am so sorry.. My heart weeps for you. May your killers never know peace. Rest In Peace.”
“Edwin’s death reminds us that queer bodies continue to be under attack all over the country,” the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission wrote on Instagram.
Chiloba was well-known in Eldoret for being unapologetic in his queerness, often posting photos of his gender-fluid aesthetic on social media.
On 16 December, he told his Instagram followers that his “movement is for everyone”.
“It’s about inclusion,” he wrote. “And if I am going to fight what I have been marginalised for, I am going to fight for all marginalised people.”
Although rights organisations in Kenya have linked Chiloba’s murder to his sexuality, police spokesperson Resila Onyango said the motive is not yet known and that “experts are handling the matter”.