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Uganda’s homophobic madness

Uganda parliament in jubilation after successfully passing the law that awaits the president to ascend. Photo: @AnitahAmong

How the new anti-gay law is bad for our country yet good for the long-term tolerance of homosexuality

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda | So, Uganda’s parliament once again passed a law to hang homosexuals. This was done in the most democratic manner possible: 399 out of 529 MPs (75% of all legislators eligible to vote) attended the session and overwhelmingly voted for the bill. On the same day, they amended the bill to include a new crime called “aggravated homosexuality.” This will be punishable by death.

Across our traditional and social media, Ugandans have been celebrating. Homophobia, more than soccer, is the one powerful force that unites us in our highly polarized religions, ethnicities and politics.

The passage of this draconian law may be psychologically gratifying for many Ugandans but it is a disaster for the country. It is going to cause all Western countries to reduce economic and social interaction with us, trade, investment and tourism. No major Western corporation will want to invest in a country that hangs people for being who they are.

No gay or/and fewer non gay tourists would want to visit such a country. And of course, no international organization will want to host a serious international conference in a country with such a primitive law. TotalEnergies, Uganda’s major partner in the commercialization of the oil and gas industry, was finding it difficult to raise money to invest in our oil pipeline (EACOP) over environmental concerns. Now we can say kwaheri to any Western company investing in, or Western bank funding investment into our refinery.

Right now, hotel owners are having many of their bookings cancelled. Of course, we can retort that we are willing to suffer all these negative economic and diplomatic consequences in defense of our family values. But such a retort is as reckless and it is hypocritical. What is the injury we are fighting here to be worth the cost?

Already, Ugandan family values are being wrecked everyday by fathers who abandon their kids, by people choosing cohabitation over marriage, by sex before marriage, by cheating in marriages, etc. It is even more absurd that many of our religious leaders, instead of doing their job of preaching morality to their followers, are now turning to the state to fight sin by supporting this law.

More critically, the law is as stupid as it is going to be redundant. It is stupid because it is passed on the basis of protecting Ugandan morals. But you cannot legislate morality and enforce it using state diktat. Morality would be best left to families and religious institutions. Besides, homosexuality is not the only “immoral” problem Uganda is facing.

As already stated above, Ugandans are having sex before marriage, husbands and wives (in fact 90% of the MPs who voted for this law) are cheating on their spouses with reckless abandon, kids in schools are binge drinking and fornicating as if it is running out of fashion, et cetera.

The law will be redundant because homosexuality among consenting adults is a private activity conducted in the privacy of their bedrooms. Since both parties are consenting, there is miniscule likelihood that one party will report to police against another. If the problem is pedophilia (sex with underage kids or minors), which is what most Ugandans I listen to seem to insinuate, we have the law against defilement. The law envisaged defilement of underage girls. It can now be amended to include underage boys. If it is nonconsensual sex, then we can amend the law on rape (which envisaged forced sex with a woman) to include men.

What is clear is that this law will do nothing to stop the growth and development of homosexuality in Uganda as its authors, gay and liberal Ugandans plus most in the liberal West think. On the contrary, it will only increase and expand debate on sexual orientation.

The more homosexuality is based on traditional and social media in Uganda and in other fora (the church, the home, the mosque, schools etc.), the greater the curiosity and knowledge, and consequently, the greater the tolerance of it. To this extent, and although it will harm a few people, the law is good for homosexuality.

Therefore, to the misguided MPs and their supporters out there, trying to pass a law to ban homosexuality is as futile as trying to pass a law to prohibit promiscuity, drunkenness, cheating in marriage, teenage sex, etc. While homosexuality is as old as humanity and has existed in every society, I have a suspicion that it is more pronounced in rich and urban societies. Poor agrarian societies face the spectre of starvation every day.

Thus, procreation becomes the overriding motive for sex. Parents seek to have as many children as possible as an insurance policy against the death of some. As societies grow richer, the mortality of children reduces and parents choose to have fewer children. Sex ceases to be driven primarily by the needs of procreation and now becomes recreational. This is true today as it was in ancient Babylon, Greece and Rome.

To this extent, if homosexuality is more pronounced in the West today, it is because they are highly urbanized and rich. Liberal traditions and values only facilitate openness about people’s lifestyles. The rich and urbanized nations of Asia such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Israel, etc. are as open and tolerant of homosexuals as their western counterparts.

The rich nations of the middle east are swimming in homosexual liaisons, the lack of openness about it only a reflection of their religious conservatism. The new anti-gay law is actually evidence of Uganda’s modernization – a rapidly growing economy, increasing urbanization, the growth of a middleclass and expanding liberalism.

These developments have led many urban middleclass Ugandans to be open about their sexuality and gay liaisons are multiplying like flowers in June. Most middleclass young Ugandans are open and tolerant of homosexuality and are appalled by their values of their parents. But this is also coming as a shock to conservative Ugandans. Hence the new law is expressing fears of a reality that has become ubiquitous. To this extent, it is one of the last kicks of a dying horse. Rich liberal Western societies went through this phase and I hope they see their past in Uganda’s present.

To conservative Ugandans, I can only say that our country can only suppress (not end) homosexuality by simply abandoning our search for modernization. Here, we would all turn our back on development and return to our villages to live as peasants. But this we will not do because out desire for development is much more intense than our hatred for homosexuality.





    • You sound intelligent (with a fine command of English) for someone still at nursery school. Mummy let you use her computer did she?

  2. With due respect, when did Sodomy become modernisation or a mark of human development?
    ROMANS 1:26, 27, 28. NKJV
    28 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
    27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

  3. Using the Bible which supported, murder, rape and slavery to support morality laws seems dubious. What, am I cherry picking? Well unfortunately that is what anyone can do with that book.

  4. 1.President M7 has been sandwiched in a complicated world order.Just like all other right thinking leaders,he will need to balance international relations with this absurd Gay rights.He may just need to navigate that terrain because we need to develop the economy but it will not prevent a society from cautioning and protecting their children from such vices.
    2.Being gay is an abnormality which can addressed through;(i) Counseling(ii)Fining those who practice it(iii) Publicly expose of those who practice it.
    3.When you listen to a gay person there is almost nothing you can do for them ,they are so indoctrinated in that you just pity them.
    4.What is modern and sophisticated about being gay?We live in an era where even a stupid act is celebrated.
    5.Some parents in this era are dying to show the world that they civilized. They innocently make their children gay. Children of my friends go to International schools with dreadlocks,plaited hair yet they are boys when inquired why they allow it, they told me that they dont like combing their hair daily coz it hurts. I told one that a child should be taught how to keep hygiene like washing and coming their hair.i also advised them that a man who wears earrings or plaits their hair are targets for gays.
    6.Sex is about enjoyment the only risk with gays is that they use the anus for sex yet it releases the all the dirt in the body thats why feces smell alot so to a normal person why should someone get sexual arousal and excitement where there are feces?In Africa feces is associated with madness and witchcraft.
    7.For hygiene and avoiding infections;ladies have to wash the vagina first and the butt later gays especially men have incurable infections because the butt caries lots of gems.
    8.Men naturally have lots of energy thats why they do works like operating heavy machinery,construction work,digging graves now imagine a fellow man putting all that energy on your butt?
    9. Scientists should do more research on why some men look like women end up gay while women who look like men also end up as lesbians.

    • Winnie, you’re proving to me that sometimes actually accidents happen…. you’ve tried to thread something so sensible here…. that for the very first time, I read your post to the end. Bravo…. although, yet still, there are no “gems” in the anus…. but fecal.

  5. I fear the perversion as advocated by seemingly reasonable highly educated men… I wouldn’t have any quarrel with gays if they did their thing in the privacy of their bedrooms as Mwenda aptly puts it. My quarrel is that (i) they smell offensively whether it is the faeces or the masking jelly they use. (ii) the ‘women’ (those whose anus is drilled) dress indecently on account of damage to their anal sphincter (that locks rectum) being loose and dripping unwillingly. Now, foul smell is offensive to public and there is no way you can conceal leaking faeces… so how will workmates tolerate you Mr ‘woman’? With all due respect the gays should forgive humanity or else they will be lynched……

    • You shouldn’t take your disgusting imagination for reality. Many of the world’s finest designers, scientists, musicians or actors are homosexuals. Has anyone ever heard of talks about their smell? Certainly not! Because it doesn’t exist. Now, take a shower and get your ideas cleaned, maybe the smell comes from yourself…

  6. @ Bouleazero:How do gay men lose their virginity?Why do you use lubricants?how does the butt climax and what does it release is it a cloud of fart?
    Gays make just 1% of the world’s population .When some one gets contented that a celebrity is gay so their lifestyle is worth copying then its absurd.Actually most of the gay men were once married and had children like Bruce Jenner,Queen latifah.

    • @Winnie, your comment about virginity, climax and fart just shows that you have no knowledge about what homosexuality is about. And never did I recommend to copy anybody else’s lifestyle. I just want everybody to be fine with himself, live the life they feel. Why do you want to interfere into someone else’s life? Can’t you let gays and lesbians just be themselves and let them live the life they want? Homosexuals don’t matter to you? That’s fine. So simply just don’t comment about their way of life. It’s theirs, not yours. It doesn’t affect you at all. Thanks.

  7. What’s Homophobic in your Ugandan Language? if you have the word in Luganda then I might take you seriously.

  8. Wise words from Andrew here. This absurdly reactionary trend will make Uganda look backwards and out of touch with realities of today’s world. The presumption of heteronormativity came out of ancient societies where disease and other factors caused short life spans and high infant mortality.

    Now, global warming and shortage of resources means that with so many billions of people competing for dwindling energy and food supplies the presumption that heterosexual reproduction is imperative makes no sense.

    Gay couples don’t contribute to the population pressures on the planet. People should be free to be straight or gay or whatever as long as they don’t harm any sentient being. What goes on in one’s private bedroom is just that, private. Uganda does not need the state acting as Big Brother. Ugandas are as entitled to live free as anyone else, it is not a land of knuckle dragging hicks.

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