There are many falsehoods and distortions being peddled about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009 which is before Parliament. One of these is the argument that being ‘gay’ is a human right and therefore the bill criminalises people’s liberty.
Uganda has been vilified as a violator of people’s rights by ‘rights activists’ and the international media that have distorted debate about the ‘David Bahati Bill’. This skewed reporting has courted outrage from world leaders and countries who have voiced opposition to the bill.
I hope Ugandans note the hypocrisy at play. How come these world leaders never reacted angrily when Joseph Kony was butchering Ugandans?
People peddling homosexuality as a right should tell us when it became a right. Since this debate is now universal, I will refer to key international human rights instruments which are the basis of civil liberties in constitutions of most countries, including Uganda.
The December 10, 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly clearly states that marriage is meant for people of opposite sexes.
It says in article 16 (a): “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion have a right to marry and to found a family.”
It goes on to defend the family institution which is the stated objective of the Bahati Bill when it says in 16 (c): “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.”
In lobbying for rights of widows and special care for mothers and children, the proclamation leaves no doubt that sexual relations are meant to be between man and woman.
The 1789 French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens also doesn’t classify same sex relations as a right. The timing of the Bahati Bill has also been questioned by people like FDC Publicist Wafula Oguttu, who pitifully argues that the bill targets the opposition ahead of the 2011 polls!
If previous bills, like the recently passed Land Bill were enacted without concerns of timing, then Wafula’s doubts (I mention Wafula because many FDC MPs have voiced support for the bill) would be surprising. There has also been an attempt to lower the importance of the bill. Questions have been asked as to whether homosexuality is the most urgent challenge affecting Ugandans.
This is the very essence of a pluralist society with diverse organisations pursuing different interests hence existence of groups like anti-corruption, environment, human rights and women activists.
We should spare anti-gay activists this undeserved assault in the same way we shouldn’t fault people like Wafula Oguttu and his ilk for making anti-Museveni campaigns the basis for their existence.
Those accusing us of supporting legislation on bedroom affairs should direct that issue to the minority gays who brought their vice from their bedrooms to press conferences, demonstrations, school campuses and gay festivities where they recruit members.
In fact, this is my major discomfort with homosexuality - it is not emerging naturally but rather as a result of intense campaigns in schools, luring people with money and all sorts of falsehoods.
In June 2009, I wrote in The Observer how the Ministry of Education was struggling to withdraw a UNICEF book, “Teenager’s Tool Kit” in primary schools that tells pupils that “Many people are sexually attracted to people of the same sex…we are born with these feelings about who we like sexually.”
Gays target other people’s children because they don’t have their own to enlist.
Advocates of homosexuality should think about the broader impact of their crusade. Homosexuality destroys man’s capacity for procreation, the taste of human life and eventually life itself. Truths should also be told that even in America, there is no consensus over gay rights. In fact, in most states that have legalised it, it has been through court rulings, not out of a popular vote.
We can debate some of the provisions and penalties in the Bahati Bill but we should be mindful not to make it toothless compared to the Penal Code (section 145 (c)) that already provides for life imprisonment for homosexuals. Making a toothless law will be counterproductive because laws are meant to be punitive and deterrent in nature.
The author is a Staff Reporter with The Observer.