Thursday, February 20, 2014
Letter to President Obama on Uganda's Position on Homosexuality
Bakampa Brian Baryaguma,
Friday, 21 February, 2014.
H.E. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA,
THE WHITE HOUSE,
1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVE NW,
WASHINGTON, DC 20500,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
H.E. THE US AMBASSADOR TO UGANDA,
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
U. S. EMBASSY KAMPALA,
PLOT 1577 GGABA ROAD,
P.O. BOX 7007,
Uganda’s Cherished Position on Homosexuality
Sir, I would like to thank you for the tremendous job you’ve done as president of the great United States of America. Under your able leadership, the US economy has largely recovered from the devastating effects of the 2008 global financial crisis. Your administration has put Americans back to work and restored the hopes of millions of people, who now find reason to lead life in a happy and fulfilling manner, led by hope and great expectations; not fear and worry.
Your commendable job has also positively impacted on and reached out to billions of other people across the globe, whose day-to-day activities and quality of life are influenced, shaped and dependent upon the goings-on in the US. It is true that with recovery and stability in America, comes the wellbeing of many other countries and people around the world. Under your wise and able counsel, the US has reclaimed its coveted role of offering, in many ways, meaningful leadership on global trends. Without doubt, your time at the helm of US and global affairs has changed the way the world looks at America in recent times: as a model nation, worthy to emulate. I am confident and excited that under your visionary and capable leadership, the spirit of the American Dream remains alive among us – Americans and non-Americans – such that the US remains a land of opportunity for many people worldwide. Thank you very much, Mr President.
Now, moving on to the issue of homosexuality, I beg to respectfully disagree with your views on this subject, which unfortunately, you are attempting to impose on other people and societies, including us in Uganda. I am aware of your statement on our Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2013 that was passed into law by Parliament and is soon to be assented to by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, this year. Regrettably, as I shall explain shortly, your statement is somewhat ambiguous and rather problematic in many respects. For starters, in so far as it threatens and intimidates our president from signing the Act, it is an affront and insult to our sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Your Excellency, you say that ‘... the United States has consistently stood for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights.’ Well, this is nice and largely true, but we in Uganda don’t consider homosexuality to be a freedom and human right, let alone being a fundamental and universal one at that. Like President Museveni has rightly explained, to us homosexuality is an abnormality. Thanks to our scientists who apply their genius to improve the world of tomorrow, we have unearthed and exposed the gay and lesbian conspiracy to dupe mankind in the name of human rights. Our doctors have elaborately explained that homosexuality is unnatural and therefore, that homosexuals are not born, but are made through a bad habit that can be learned and unlearned. To us, homosexuality is as strange and abominable as for instance, cannibalism and witchcraft and as a nation, we won’t keep quiet about it because we cannot afford to see or imagine our fellow citizens forever wearing napkins or diapers as if they were toddlers. Mr President, this is Uganda’s cherished position on homosexuality and we are not about to change it any time soon. It is a moral perversion that is as bad as corruption, dictatorship and all other vices that should be fought and resisted in all legally and socially acceptable ways.
Good enough, we are not alone here. While you were busy threatening our president, the American international news channel, CNN, reported that ‘Denying services to same-sex couples may soon become legal in Kansas.’ This is one of the many states in your own country where homosexuality is banned and now they are tightening the noose further by ‘... explicitly protecting religious individuals, groups and businesses that refuse services to same-sex couples, particularly those looking to tie the knot.’ As I write to you, Kansas’ House Bill 2453 has already passed the state's Republican-dominated House with a vote of 72-49, and has gone to the Senate for a vote. The state’s governor, Mr Sam Brownback, a conservative Christian known for taking a public stand against homosexuality, has already praised the Bill and is expected to sign it into law. I said earlier that the US provides incredible leadership on many issues of international importance and here we are with latest examples from there, indicating that legislation (and more of it) is an acceptable form of fighting the bad habit of homosexuality. So, when Your Excellency chooses to threaten and intimidate our president, like you’ve done for others before, for enacting anti-homosexuality laws, I wonder when you will do the same for so many of your own sate governors, including Kansas’ Governor Sam Brownback. It is said that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
By-the-way, Mr President, I am aware that in the US, homosexuality is legal in only 17 states and the District of Columbia – less than half of the total states comprising the United States of America. If at all your statement is genuinely interested in standing ‘... for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights,’ should the world take it that the people in the majority states of your country, where homosexuality is illegal, are not entitled to the so-called gay and lesbian rights? Are these purported rights not fundamental to your fellow citizens living in those states? Or are the inhabitants of those sates less of human beings? In any case, how universal are these alleged rights, yet according to CNN, worldwide, only about 16 other countries especially, in Europe and South America and then parts of Mexico, also have laws allowing homosexuality? As far as Uganda and the overwhelming majority of other countries are concerned, homosexuality is not a universal norm deserving the nobility of human rights status. To these countries, homosexuality has no dignity and clearly deserves none. It is a petty crime that should be zealously fought like all others of its kind; and perhaps with the intensity akin to that of the global wars on terror and drugs.
For that matter therefore, Mr President, you need not be ‘so deeply disappointed’ and troubled that Uganda has criminalized homosexuality, because going by the apparent international norm that is the right thing to do. We regard the gay community in Uganda, whom you worry so much about, to be moral perverts, just like they are considered to be in most of America itself, where they continue to be shunned. You can rest assured that our laws and practices will not unnecessarily disadvantage gays and lesbians, who falsely claim that our laws want to kill them. That won’t happen because the most a convict can get is a custodial sentence and as far as I am aware, imprisonment is an internationally accepted form of punishment for wrongdoers, including in the US, where in fact running jails has for a long time become a lucrative business of sorts, complete with private investors working for profit! Under our constitution and laws, the gay community in Uganda can be sure of enjoying their freedom within the law and expect justice and equal rights within the law.
Therefore, Your Excellency, there is absolutely no reason why enacting the anti-homosexuality law should ‘complicate [y]our valued relationship with Uganda.’ Americans and Ugandans have for a long time enjoyed mutual and harmonious relations with each other and we should keep it that way. Uganda enjoys working with the US on progressively developing our economy, promoting democracy, good governance and accountability, as well as promoting respect for and observance of real (not imagined) fundamental human rights and freedoms. By enacting anti-homosexuality laws, Uganda should not be understood to compromise these values. For America to dissociate itself from Uganda, on account of homosexual interests, which majority of its own states continue to ban, would be the greatest tragedy here. In case the US and her allies around the world especially, in Europe, have any doubts that most Ugandans, the right thinking ones, disapprove of homosexuality, it is my pleasure to urge and invite you to sponsor a referendum on this matter. I can assure you before hand that the anti-gay lobbyists will democratically trounce the pro-gay rights pedlars.
Last, but not least, allow me, Mr President, to join you in saluting all those in Uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons. I hope to meet you in the near future to further discuss this and other matters of international importance. But I don’t know whether this will be possible or even easy since I am informed that the gay community conspires with governments around the world to deny staunch opponents of their alleged rights some privileges like access to international jobs, visas to foreign destinations and so on. Such vindictive conduct is an abuse of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of the opponents of homosexuality, yet for homosexuals, it is just a matter of brandishing a photo kissing a fellow man or woman (nowadays there are gay sex videos too), while screaming that, ‘I am gay. I am being harassed in my country,’ after which all is done for them: they are splashed with all sorts of benefits like housing, medical care, education, jobs, name it. So, I hope I am safe from the devious and malicious machinations of the gay and lesbian community.
May God bless you, Your Excellency; bless the United States of America; bless Uganda; and bless the rest of the world. Together, we can make this world a better place for everybody to constructively and meaningfully live in.
Bakampa Brian Baryaguma