I had committed not to pen any piece on this hugely divisive subject but how many times can one seat there and watch an act of the same dog jumping through the same burning hoop?
Amidst a disenchanted Western civilization in desperate search of a moral compass, smug soundbites have become awash as our good MPs jostle to re-table the Anti-Gay Bill in a hypocritical move; Imprison all the gays and we shall all be cleansed of our ill moral values.
If you care to listen to the Deputy Speaker, you will learn that most of our MPs are political midgets compared to the output of MPs in earlier Parliaments. That is telling.
Oooh! I had forgotten. Just another political gimmick to toy with the moral antenna of Ugandans. I guess that makes our MPs moral parasites.
Apparently, our MPs are so Anti-Gay. Really? I doubt that. In fact, I am inclined to ask myself; Are our MPs insidiously Pro-Gay? – Shocked? How about this?
The Penal Code Act provides for very tough penal sanctions for gay related acts. Why then unleash unprecedented homophobia through the new repressive law?
And then when it is put to a vote, why fail to make quorum and insist to pass a law in total disregard of basic rules of procedure? A definition of impunity.
Also, it is a known old fashioned stunt that when you want something contentious to become “acceptable” or “legal”, subject it to scrutiny or discovery and keep the impetus. It is even more likely when it is an issue that is married to human rights.
If you wish to taste the waters, subject controversial issues such as the death penalty, prostitution, abortion, assisted suicide, name it and they will slowly but surely creep from the dark corners and find their way to the law books with time; like they have found a way into our societies.
By passing the repressive, half-baked homophobic Bill, our MPs set our rightly, inquisitive President in motion to discovery. He had to engage hired-guns who would have easily found that indeed, gay people need no prison. If this was to happen, related offences which are creatures of the Penal Code Act would have been suffocated. It would be a matter of time before they are pronounced dead.
After the Act was annulled, I am now reliably informed that the President has since okayed “private gays”. The Bill has now been stretchered off to the operating theatre under the watchful eye of Vice President Ssekandi. I have no doubt, by the time it comes back, if it does, it will have another look. This would likely not have happened without the homophobic actions of our Parliament.
In their charade designed to spell benevolence, the MPs badly exposed the Anti-Gay law within the crosshairs of a non-emotional constitutional court struggling to patch up it’s image. With a single decisive shot at the heart of it’s “merits”, the law would have found it’s way to the legal cemetery.
I can tell you, the petitioners had and still have a strong case. Call it conjecturing but here is why.
Any court of law, especially a constitutional court, is expected to rule on the evidence. Emotion has no play in a court of law. This evidence will include sober human rights arguments and legal provisions in today’s modern law.
Human rights are the product of liberal law, politics and of course, morality. The relevance of human rights rests on the assumption that state law or the opinion of majority citizens is capable of being twisted or exploited to benefit the most atrocious policies. This is a fact. The bone in the flesh is unlike politics, law and morality are not basic exercises in reasoning.
Perhaps most crucially, modern law is ideologically neutral, and beyond morality, politics or ideology.
Basically, the ideological prowess I am discussing here is precisely premised in the power of rhetoric and political ambiguity, non-definite definition of humanity, the vacillation between real and the ideal, and between the law’s order and the desire for a better all-inclusive world.
In other words, the principle of self-transcendence takes centre stage. This principle is capable of pushing over the law’s settled state because it provides space for the human urge to resist things like domination and intolerance of opinion.
I know that to many, this is a straight forward case but I prefer engaging in intelligent rhetoric that toys with ideas and lucid opinions even on the most emotive of issues. Call me slow or old fashioned but that is just me.
In all this, most MPs sound like broken records. It is all soundbites and that’s that. Nothing more to it to really change lives. Nada.
As they purport to champion this moral parade, they are busy cruising-by homeless poverty stricken chaps along the railway line with bags of over 110m each in a bailout drive financed by our taxes. I wonder how holy or morally upright any of this is.
In a world of lost values and morality, imprisoning all gays at all costs has become the pillar of escapism and instant gratification to cover our fornication, adultery and a glut of weird things.
This superficial spectacle underscores our capacity to self-deception, our perverse propensity to avoid facing real societal and governance challenges by portraying hypocrisy as righteousness.
When the sight of a savagely decapitated human head (murder) lying in a pool of blood becomes less distressing that the thought of a gay act involving two consenting adults, then perhaps we need to stop and listen to reason.
From where I seat, the gay debate is a non-issue. It is a foreign battle from America exported to be fought here in Uganda and we are eating into the whole chaos. The real problem an ordinary Ugandan is facing today is accessing basic things like medical care, food, education and employment. To do this, we need trade, investment, and aid. We live in a community of nations and you can’t eat your cake and have it too.
We can take measures to discourage the spread of the act but to suggest imprisonment for gays is simply not tenable. As humans, they have explicit rights and these we must be respected as we explore ways to have progressive, not repressive laws in place.