By Ndinawe Byekwaso
The Constitutional Court has declared the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda null and void because it was passed without a quorum.
Even if the Act could have been passed without a quorum, possibly because of negligence by some legislators, judging by the people’s comments in the press and ordinary conversations in churches, market places and bars, homosexuality is hugely unpopular in Uganda.
The overwhelming majority supported the passing of the Anti-homosexuality Bill into law to impose severe penalties on individuals found guilt of practicing the unwanted act in Uganda.
Now the people have been defeated (hopefully temporary) through the technicality but not the spirit of the law by self-seeking individuals in organisations claiming to be civil society advocates but in actual fact serving the interests of some sections of Western countries.
When the Act was signed by President Museveni, the Western leaders and their associated human rights organisations reacted angrily, claiming that the law violated fundamental human rights. Now, without determining how the Act violates the people’s human rights, it was nullified on the grounds of quorum.
Maybe the antigay issue should be resolved by the people directly through a plebiscite. It is unattainable to defend homosexuality as a human right in societies where the practice offends the basic moral sentiments; the defense defeats the logic of criminal law.
According to the famous French sociologists Emile Durkheim, “we can…say that an act is a crime when it offends strong and defined states of the collective conscience”. In Uganda, there are strong sentiments against homosexuality enough to criminalise it with severe penalties.
Further, the defense and consequently the imposition of homosexuality on Ugandans defeats the theory and the spirit behind democracy, the West claims to promote under human rights.
If democracy means the power of the people to determine how they are governed, including making laws regulating the behaviour of individuals in their community deemed to corrupt the morality of society, the imposition of homosexuality on Ugandans by civil society organisations funded by the West violates the right to self-determination.
If criminalising homosexuality violates human rights, then the universality of the so-called fundamental human rights is questionable. Apparently, the fundamental human rights are a reflection of Western culture, associated with capitalism that promotes individualism and selfishness.
The capitalistic value system that ‘prescribes private accumulation of profit and wealth, at all costs, as the very epitome of human and individual achievement’ (Mbeki, 2012), and that greed is a ‘guide, the goal and the god of the market-driven society (Macrov, 2003 p. 75), while with money there is no religion and trust, is in contradiction with African cultural value system of sharing and collective responsibility.
From the imagination of Africans, the concept of human rights would imply the creation of a society in which all members of human race would live a decent and dignified life.
Surprisingly, the human rights of the West are meant to guarantee the liberty of the few capitalists in a society to freely make money and accumulate wealth at the expense of the majority and then use the power derived from the accumulated property to exploit, oppress and use the poor as objects of gratification hence the current advocacy for gay rights.
The more the people become needy, the easier it is for the capitalists to use them. Can you imagine: according to a report released by Oxfam in early 2014, only 85 richest people own half of the world wealth when millions and millions of people die of starvation while there are malnourished children even in some states of the US, the largest economy.
How can people have freedom and enjoy human rights when they are experiencing hardships as a result of penury?
Apparently, the human rights of the capitalistic value system described above do not truly reflect a desirable humanity; the humanism of Western-oriented human rights is questionable.
As an illustration, how can the prohibition of an inhuman practice under homosexuality violate human rights? According to Aristotle, there is nothing nature put in place by accident. For that matter, nature did not put in place male and female by accident; they were put in place for the purpose of sexual intercourse and consequently organs for convenient sexual intercourse were created in male and female.
Therefore, for a man to have sex with a fellow man is against the necessary order of nature. If animals, including wild beasts, cannot violate the order of nature, how can human beings with normal rationality, claim that homosexuality, which violates the necessary order of nature, is a human right?
The claim defeats common sense.
The writer is a political economist by training, Pan-Africanist and a university lecturer