Friday February 21 2014

Anti-gays Bill requires more debate

By M. Rwakakamba

Uganda is largely a religious country- 80 per cent Christian, 12 per cent Muslim and 8 per cent secular. The anti- homosexual lobby, led by pastors in different churches and faith platforms understands this – and they have fully piggybacked it. Now the country is swamped in legislating morals on how people should dress, pictures to watch and sexuality behaviours. Religious faith-driven legislation in Uganda could debunk liberalism, democracy and promote sentimentalism and anarchy.

Anti-homosexuality lobby in Uganda continue to use blackmail as a tool to mobilise support. Few have been spared! Journalists, cultural leaders, political leaders etc – all seem to have been browbeaten to blackmail. If you disagree with anti-homosexuality lobby- then you are branded a homosexual, or you have been bought and compromised or you are an enemy of our children and family life in Uganda!

For politicians at all levels, the lobby went underneath and threatened to withdraw votes! Now most voices of moderation in Uganda have gone mute. For fear of blackmail, legislators even fear to debate this issue openly. If evangelists believe according to holy books, homosexuality is a sacrilegious sin, then let them open doors of worship centres wide and save homosexuals from sin. They should let Parliament handle it’s mandate of legislation without moralist and sentimental arm-twisting.

President Museveni has widely written on the subject and I agree with him that homosexual exhibitionism is wrong – just like rampant prostitution is wrong. I also agree that underage involvement in homosexuality or other forms of sex acts is wrong. Yet, I also know we already have a legal regime in place to deal with the foregoing. I firmly believe that laws should be honestly debated to allow a win-win situation for a diverse society that Uganda is.

Our legislators should not chorus ‘jail the gays’ slogan before they fully debate the Bill clause by clause- and line by line. Should President Museveni, therefore, sign the Bill in current form? I don’t think so. Let the Bill be returned to Parliament for further debate.
Let the President’s letter also be widely discussed. Let the views and report of scientists be scrutinised and debated. Let us not liquidate rights and liberty at the altar of emotions and sentiments. Let freedom reign. Let us not rush in the dark!