Uganda "Anti-Homosexuality bill": An inside look

It is unfortunate that Uganda takes the road to pass an" Anti-Homosexuality bill" which threatens Liberty and Human Rights in the nation. “If adopted, a Bill further criminalising homosexuality would constitute a significant step backwards for the protection of human rights in Uganda,” a Canadian spokesperson said. (voice-online.co.uk)

Most issues of this nature in some African countries need thorough analysis that focuses on cultural implications. The one thing that is certain is that it will take time for Africa to welcome homosexuality on the continent. For most people, especially church followers, and those who preserve culture, homosexuality is not only ungodly but culturally taboo. I see here a conflict between system maintenance and social justice. What makes this matter worse is the nature of exclusiveness which is vented in it. “The proposed law would mean a person convicted of gay sex in Uganda is liable to life imprisonment, and if that person is HIV positive the penalty is execution.” (voice-online.co.uk)

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni asserted that homosexuality is not part of the African culture; it has been imported from the West. The Uganda government’s Speaker, Edward Sekandi, told Daily Monitor adding that it was necessary “to do whatever we can to stop” homosexual liaisons in Uganda. “We don’t support that practice.” (voice-online.co.uk) For Museveni and many on the African continent, homosexuality is viewed as cultural imperialism. In other words, what is being portrayed here by the leaders is the evil nature of imperialism; a culture of supremacy that is to be fought, they say. This makes it even difficult for the few homosexuals on the continent to see their grievances addressed because the matter takes different dimensions. First, of political battle and second, of cultural boundaries.

In my judgment, the work to be done in this case will be to find possible ways to reconcile cultural differences and social justice. There is need to integrate system maintenance with social justice outcomes in Uganda and in most part of the world where the issue of homosexuality or other social justice issues are not tolerated. This is not an easy task for Africa, which has been reluctant to embrace this culture, but emphasis is to be put on reconciling the differences.

Prominent member of the Ugandan Anglican church, Canon Gideon Byamugisha said “the bill, which recommends the death penalty for anyone repeatedly convicted of having gay sex and prison sentences for those who fail to report homosexual activity to the police, would breed violence and intolerance through all levels of society “(Guardian.co.uk). I suggest that in order to limit the prospect of any future violence or conflict, there is need to look at new ways of thinking where there is willingness to hear the other that one happens to have differences with. My warning is that, not paying attention to the new social movement of gays and lesbians which is now evolving in Africa, whether you view it as good or bad thing, will lead to new waves of violence should exclusiveness becomes a great matter of concern.

Bernard Londoni

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