By Eve Kyampaire
The role of post-independence governments and democracy is to facilitate self-governance for societies and States. Through the election of their leaders, various communities are expected to strategize and enact laws and policies that prioritize the well-being of the majority citizens but also how to relate to other States. It is imperative to acknowledge and uphold the sovereignty of different States, as history has demonstrated the devastating consequences that arise from disregarding this vital responsibility.
Regrettably, the United States has persistently employed bullying tactics, perpetuating a hypocritical foreign policy that prioritizes its own interests while disregarding the interests and values of other States. The USA has long been criticized for adopting a self-serving approach driven by economic and strategic objectives, as well as ideological beliefs. Occasionally, they attempt to conceal these motivations under the guise of promoting democracy and human rights, despite their failure to consistently uphold these values within their own borders. The rendition program and the use of torture in the fight against terrorism have drawn substantial condemnation. Furthermore, the USA's invasions and destruction of Iraq and Libya resulted in catastrophic consequences, all under the pretence of fostering democracy and human rights.
Recently, in accordance with the constitutional mandate, the Parliament of Uganda successfully passed the Anti-homosexuality Bill 2023 that was subsequently assented to by President Museveni. The Bill is intended to curb the vice of homosexuality, which violates our moral values and African traditional beliefs. This Bill has garnered significant support from the majority of Ugandan citizens. Eminent figures including religious leaders, cultural leaders, and student leaders have voiced their appreciation for the government's courageous stance on this matter. Expressions of gratitude have poured in from various individuals outside our nation, including the renowned Pan-Africanist Prof. P.L.O Lumumba, who has urged all well-meaning Africans to extend their congratulations to the Ugandan Parliamentarians and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for their defiance against Western countries and commitment to upholding moral values.
However, it is regrettable that the United States of America, acting as a bully, was the first nation to criticize Uganda and issue threats of severe sanctions and the withdrawal of aid. Among the sectors targeted is healthcare, an area where the USA has previously contributed funding to various programs. It is rather hypocritical of the USA to admonish Uganda when in the early years of the United States, homosexuality was considered a crime and punishable by law. In fact, sodomy laws remained on the books in many States until the late 20th century. It is this lamentable display of Western hypocrisy that has captured my attention, prompting me to share my perspectives on the entirety of this Bill.
First and foremost, as a born-again Christian, I firmly uphold the belief that acts of homosexuality are considered sinful. The Bible, revered as the word of God, explicitly condemns such acts, both through references in the Old Testament and in the Apostle Paul's statement found in Romans 1:24–27. In this passage, Paul writes: "For this reason, God gave them over to dishonourable passions; for their females exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way, also the males abandoned the natural function of the female and burned in their desire towards one another, males with males committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error."
The matter of withholding aid and imposing economic and financial sanctions on Uganda are hypocritical and truly expose how they’re the ones behind this evil vice and forcefully trying to impose it on Uganda. Inter-State relations are based on mutual interests, and the world is a global village; we are interdependent. America needs us as much as we need them. Their coffee companies and other processing industries depend on our raw materials and skilled manpower to build those economies. They designed this system to exploit us for their benefit so that they can have the power to intimidate and oppress others, but the seasons are changing, the dollar economy is going down, and many other good partners are taking centre stage in world politics and economics. Uganda won't fail to get allies.
In 1969, the gay community and LGBTQ+ rights movements rioted for days in the USA in what would be called the Stonewall Riots after police raided a popular gay bar in New York City. In 1981, the first cases of what would later be known as AIDS were reported in the United States. The disease disproportionately affected gay men and was initially stigmatised and ignored by many in the government and medical communities. It wasn't until the mid-1980s that significant research and funding were devoted to fighting the epidemic.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed into law the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which restricted gay and lesbians from revealing their sexual orientations. In 1996, President Clinton also signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as between one man and one woman for federal purposes. This prevented same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits and recognition. It wasn't until 2010 that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was repealed by President Barack Obama and Congress.
Given this history, it's very hypocritical of the originally homophobic USA government to turn around and to now denounce Uganda for enacting laws to protect its community from the vice that they themselves for years rejected and harshly mistreated those that practiced it. It’s hypocritical and disrespectful of the USA to try and use money to hold Uganda at ransom and impose its evil acts on us in total disregard of our cultural heritage and traditional values.