If it weren’t a serious matter, Museveni’s letter to Barack Obama on homosexuals would be funny. Uganda has just joined the growing list of African countries to criminalize homosexual unions and public displays. It is also increasing the tally of African countries making a choice for poverty rather than betray their consciences, seeing some western countries (US, France, etc.) threaten to withdraw economic aid on account of their stance on gay unions. What is however novel for me was the Ugandan president’s apparent dominion of both logic and rhetoric in his counter-barb to US Barack Obama, the supposed master of words and double-speak.
If Obama stands on respect for public opinion, Museveni stands on public morality. In the latter’s view Obama has no right dictating what happens in an African setting, if Africans (though they disagree with much going on in American public life) do not try to interfere. Take as example the issue of kissing in public even among heterosexual couples. While it may be the norm in much of the US or Europe, Museveni reminds Obama that should he dare kiss his own wife in public, a wife to whom he has been married 41 years (not a mistress and not a prostitute), he would lose elections in Uganda! Yes, that is how sensitive public morality is in Africa, and that is how the rest of the world should judge Africa’s sensitivity to the excessive liberality exhibited and championed by the gay culture.
If Obama stands on democracy, Museveni stands on science. Lest anyone accuse him of sentimentality, he writes on how he commissioned eminent scientists to educate him on whether homosexuality is genetic or a learned habit. Initially thinking the former, he declined to sign the law. He publicly thanks Ms. Kerry Kennedy the daughter of former US president Robert Kennedy who sent him documents in favour of that stance. When his own scientists however showed him otherwise, saying that culpable gay genes were yet to be found, he signed the bill into law. The onus, says Museveni is now on Obama to show him scientific proof that there is a gene that makes homosexuality congenital. Should that happen, he is willing to take another look at the law. Until then however, those caught will go to jail.
The Nigerian anti-gay law pales in comparison to Uganda’s. While I am in full support of the aberrations these laws seek to correct, I have a problem with some fine points of the punishments and interpretations of misbehaviour, especially those that affect respect for individual privacy. I hope that in time the architects of the laws will sit down to refine them some more.