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Published:November 21st, 2009 11:18 EST
African Governments Good at Promoting Adultery

African Governments Good at Promoting Adultery

By Prince Nelson Balina Omukisa Yiga


Sitting in a cafe in a European capital few weeks ago, I was, I admit, a bit surprised when the two gentlemen on the next table fell into a passionate embrace and then kissed, smack on the lips. "I brought my eyes back to my book and coffee in case I was caught starring, but my mind kept going back to the issue of gay rights in Uganda.  

"If this scene had played out in a cafe in Kampala, and if Ndorwa West MP David Bahati has his way and forces through his Anti-Homosexuality Bill, I would have been required to immediately call the police and report the two "criminals`."  

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda but MP Bahati has written a Bill so strong in its homophobic sentiments and the sanctions it prescribes, a lay reader of the Bill would imagine that this is the greatest challenge facing our country in our lifetime.  

"Few things evoke as much emotive debate in Uganda as homosexuality. It is labeled evil and foreign, a virus that crazy white people with their crazy white ways are smuggling into the country with the help of local acolytes. A few reformed converts have turned up to talk of money being sent surreptitiously to local networks to "recruit` young people into homosexuality never mind that there is never evidence adduced of who sent how much money to whom and how it was distributed. " "In a country of thieves, rapists, murderers, adulterers, corruption, polygamists etc., the one practice many people can confidently condemn publicly without fear of personal contradiction is homosexuality."

While stories of grown men defiling month-old babies have become so widespread they struggle to even make it into the newspapers, the slightest hint of homosexuality " even that between consenting adults "sends us collectively frothing at the mouth, baying for gay blood.  "This is not to say that because we are already evil, we should see no evil. We just have to put things into perspective " and in my view, a human rights perspective."

Let`s take the example of smoking. The associated health risks are well known but there are adults who still want the right to light up. So we allow them their right to smoke and limit where they can smoke so that we can also protect the right of non-smokers not to inhale second hand smoke. " " We also ask the tobacco companies to warn their customers about the risks of using their products and stop them from luring young people who are not old enough to make informed choices. It is an imperfect system, but it protects the rights of everyone involved." 

Now, homosexuality is against the laws of nature and various religious beliefs (if Adam had told Eve, "let`s just be friends` and held out for another man we wouldn`t be here). However, what about those consenting adults who, despite knowing the evil " or danger " in homosexuality choose to lead a gay lifestyle? Should we, as Bahati propose to, hunt them down, lock them up and throw the keys into the sea?"

The Ugandan State, in my view, has no business playing God. As long as one`s actions do not infringe on the rights of others, it is none of our business what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms, bathrooms and or even their hall ways.  "We must, of course, hunt down any people who are allegedly recruiting minors into sexual encounters " whether homosexual or heterosexual " and punish them but let us leave the teaching and enforcing of morality to God and to his religious leaders.  "The State is struggling to enforce peace, law and order between men; the last thing we need is for it to try and play God."