Gay Kenyan rugby playing asylum seeker has British Council Tax bill paid by strangers

Kenneth Macharia
Bristol Bisons’ Kenneth Macharia has lived in the UK since 2009. Photo:

A gay rugby player who is claiming asylum saying he fears “violence in Kenya” because of his sexuality has had the council tax bill he was issued with paid by two strangers. 

Bristol Bisons player Kenneth Macharia was ordered to £219 in council tax while fighting deportation to Kenya, as he is not eligible for council tax support as an asylum seeker.

Mr Macharia, a mechanical engineer, said he had to stop working in June because he was not allowed to as an asylum seeker. Since then, he has had to “live off” his 69-year-old mother, a nurse with British citizenship.

Under present rules, asylum seekers are only allowed to work if they have waited more than a year for a decision on their application, and are able to fill a role on the official “shortage occupation” list.

The bill covered council tax from January until March 2019 on his flat in Glastonbury, Somerset, which he said he was unable to pay without an income.  However, after hearing of his plight, two people contacted the team chairman and have paid his bill until June.

“I didn’t expect it but the support gives me hope,” Mr Macharia said.

A petition calling for his deportation to be stopped and to grant him asylum has been signed by more than 68,000 people.

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