Intervention Is Needed In AfricaBy Lance Weyer
Once again we have had a week of our ‘morally superior’ African leaders bashing homosexual rights at every turn.
Discrimination and abuse have continued unabated in Uganda when their Ethics and Integrity Minister (Yes, seriously, they have such a person!) Simon Lotodo warned gay activists to stop assembling. “They cannot organise any other meeting. Let them remain at their homes and suffer their illnesses from there. For the love of God and humanity, I will leave no stone unturned until I defeat them and dissuade them from recruiting young people,” Lotodo said in an interview.
Not be outdone by the “kill the gays bill” before parliament in Uganda, Liberian Senator Jewel Taylor, the ex-wife of ousted former president accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, has submitted a bill that would prohibit same-sex marriage and make homosexuality a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, the man credited with ruining the economy of a country once seen as Africa’s bread basket, used his 88th birthday celebration to again condemn the “insanity” of homosexuality — and blast U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s call to end human rights abuses in Africa, in the same breath.
It has also emerged that he final draft of the new Zimbabwean constitution will criminalise homosexuality and ban same-sex marriages. This comes after Mugabe’s arch-rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, advocated the inclusion of gay rights in the new constitution.
Meanwhile in Cameroon, 10 women have been arrested under suspicion that they are lesbians.
What is to be done about these countries? Even with pro-gay UN resolutions and positive statements from South Africa, it seems to me that the situation for LGBTI people in Africa is getting worse by the day.
What can the west do to stem the tide of discrimination and abuse suffered by LGBTI people in Africa? Positive talk has been happening, but at this moment it is just talk and no action. I am in agreement with David Cameron who warned in October last year that the U.K. could cut bilateral aid from nations that fail to protect gay rights. "We are not just talking about it. We are also saying that British aid should have more strings attached," Cameron said.
African LGBTI and human rights activists have slammed the British government for threatening to cut aid to countries that have anti-gay policies or laws. These groups claimed that such a move would disregard the role of the LGBTI and broader social justice movement on the continent and creates the risk of a serious backlash against LGBTI people.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and take a clear stance on the proposed British position – the activists are mistaken! Clearly the LGBTI social movement in Africa is having little effect, and a more aggressive political stance is needed in order to protect LGBTI people. It is ironic that laws criminalising homosexuality are a legacy of British rule, but repressive African countries (most of which rely heavily on foreign aid) should be willing to adhere to basic human rights principles if they want to receive these huge cash injections finish en klaar! It’s time that nations stand together against human rights abuses like this and abandon the current spineless political attitude we currently see.
Read more of Lance Weyer's writings on his Personal Blog.