Homosexuality Laws: The struggle in East Africa over culture and homosexuality


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African journalists, Tanzanian writer Sammy Awami considers what is behind recent moves against homosexuality in East Africa.

From banning school textbooks in Tanzania to passing the toughest laws in Uganda to challenging a Supreme Court ruling in Kenya, anti-homosexual sentiment seems to be sweeping the region.

It’s not uncommon for homophobic and apocalyptic tones to always accompany the subject matter, but the truth is that the West has a systemic mandate to this push, especially among those generally considered liberal or open-minded. There seems to be a surge of belief in The “homosexual agenda” sticks in the throat of Africans.

Most people who hold this belief rarely back it up with facts or concrete examples.

A Dar es Salaam-based journalist and editor of the online outlet The Chanzo, said, “Tanzanians’ perceptions of members of the LGBTQ+ community are very negative and are getting worse by the day.”

Many on social media are particularly suspicious of US Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent visit.

There was even an unofficial poll on Twitter suggesting to users how President Samia Sulfur Hassan should respond when asked about her stance on homosexuality.

When journalists were unable to ask questions at the joint press conference, many suspected it was a ruse by President Samia to avoid asking the infamous question, “What is your stance on homosexuality?”

Said says this surge of homophobic sentiment is no coincidence. He believes it is sponsored by politicians and parties that have failed to deliver on their promises to voters. “The biggest winners of this hatred are politicians who have been in power for decades and failed to improve the standard of living of their people,” he said.

The hypocrisy and predictability of politicians, clerics, and self-proclaimed champions of African traditions and culture is always amusing.

Politicians are quick to name and shame individuals and NGOs they accuse of supporting and promoting homosexuality in the country, but they dare to expose those who embezzle millions of dollars in public funds. Never.



Last week, Tanzania’s Controller General released a grisly report detailing millions of dollars in losses at public facilities. We have yet to hear from any major anti-gay crusaders about how they plan to save the country from this embezzlement scourge.

A lawsuit is underway in Zanzibar against a gentleman accused of homosexuality. The doctor is one of the witnesses after the suspects were subjected to forced anal examinations that human rights groups have repeatedly described as cruel, inhumane and scientifically unfounded.

The incident came just weeks after a humiliating private video featuring the gentleman was widely circulated on social media.

Given how often cases of genuine public interest, such as the enforced disappearance of journalists and other critics of the government, have been ignored in the past, the speed and dedication with which law enforcement agencies are handling this case is astounding.

Ugandan journalist Charles Onyango Obbo shares Said’s belief that the ongoing fight against homosexuals is not about protecting African traditions and culture.

“African countries with high economic growth and the ability to manage their debts now have no hysteria against gays.” “The anti-gay movement is a sign of African capitulation. Those who have given up are scapegoating the failed gay powers of the world.”

Many politicians have often used narratives about homosexuality to distract the public from real issues, to launch political comebacks, or to cement relevance. Homosexual attacks exploit cultural or religious beliefs and appeal to voter sentiment.

President William Ruto said in a speech that he would be entrusted with protecting the country’s culture and traditions after Kenya’s Supreme Court ruled that the government could not legally refuse to register rights groups.

“You know me very well, I am a God-fearing man,” he said.

“No matter what happens in court, even if we respect the court, our culture, our values, Christianity and Islam, women marry each other and men marry fellow humans. You can’t allow people to do things like that, it’s not possible in the country of Kenya.

VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE: President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo leaves, 08 August a summit in Victoria Falls. President Kabila was one of 7 heads of state attending a meeting called by President Mugabe to discuss the problems in the Great Lakes area. Kabila said in an interview after the talks that ” I am not Mobutu Sese-Seko “. (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

In a motherhood appeal two weeks ago, President Samia urged college students to beware of foreign traditions. She argued that human rights are not universal. “There are limits to these human rights. We have customs and traditions everywhere. We should not be forced to go against our customs and traditions,” said the president, also known affectionately as Mama Samia. rice field. It is interesting that these politicians ignore the fact that what was imposed on us by the colonial government was not homosexuality, but strict anti-homosexuality laws.

In fact, the first anti-homosexual laws were first introduced by British colonialists in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda after being successfully applied in India about 150 years ago. This provision punishes homosexuality, defined as “a physical relationship with a man, woman, or animal contrary to the order of nature,” with life imprisonment. I would have expected politicians to look down on this colonial heritage and try to defend their constitution.

This constitution not only overrules repressive colonial laws, but also guarantees equal rights and equal treatment for its citizens. They pledged to adhere to this document rather than to elusive cultural, traditional, or religious beliefs.


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