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Johnson Muthama: Let’s not force cultural nuances that are a taboo to Africa

The assenting to law of the Anti-Homosexuality Act by Ugandan President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has been received with mixed reactions within and without Africa while exposing the underbelly of the United States of America (USA) diplomacy and democracy.

This has elicited more resolute reactions from the West. They claim to be championing democratic values while seemingly interfering with the internal affairs of sovereign states across the globe. Therefore, the ongoing debate on the same sex relationship and growing pressure from the West is unfortunate to say the least.

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The USA, known as a protagonist of democracy, should adhere to her own principles by respecting the democratic choices made by other nations. It is wrong for the USA to advocate for democracy while at the same time attempting to suppress the same in other countries.

Threatening to sanction Uganda is a classic example of the USA trying to go against what it has been preaching for years. The West should respect our democratic space and support our decisions within the tenets of international relations.

For many years, Kenya has taken an ambiguous stand on LGBTQ but I am glad that President William Ruto made a categorical and clear stand on the matter. The Head of State was categorical early this year that same sex relationships would not be accepted in the country despite the mounting pressure from quarters he did not reveal.

This followed a ruling by the Supreme Court of Kenya which dismissed an appeal by the government to bar the registration of LGBTQ lobby groups. While some Kenyans and lawmakers are against the action taken by the President, it is prudent to agree that we ought not to ape everything that happens in other countries.

Our Constitution, culture and traditions prohibit the practice of same sex relationships and as a people, there are values we hold so dearly in our society and acts of homosexuality are alien to us hence other nations should not force us to support something which we consider as abomination. Additionally, this practice is anti –biology and is abhorred by our religion.

In any case, nature gave us the capacity to procreate. It is unwise to practice that which does not further the future of our country. And if I may ask why these countries do not pressurize the Arab countries who have even harsher anti-gay legislation.

Even if you do not agree with a country’s stand point, civilized diplomacy dictates that you respectfully disagree not resort to sanctions.

Our legislators need to streamline our laws in regard to the LGBTQ because as it stands now, our laws talk of unnatural offences but does not define the scope of it hence a time has come for us as a country anchor this in our constitution.

At the same time, we need to ask ourselves that in this era when civil unions are increasingly being legalized in other countries, are we ready for such? And since both the political and religious leaders have aired their concerns on the same sex relationships, it is time for us to have a defined position on this matter. We cannot continue to take an abstruse stand on this matter which has elicited global debate. This is long overdue.

For the dignity of our founding fathers of our beloved country and values and beliefs, the issue of LGBTQ requires a concerted effort between the political class and religious institutions to come up with a framework on this matter without coercion because we should lay a good foundation for future generations just the same way those who fought for our independence of this beloved country did.

Mr Johnstone Muthama is a Commissioner of the Parliamentary Service Commission.

Johnstone Muthama
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