Bikukwatako; Ugandans Should Be Concerned.

Since March, 2023 with the tabling of the Anti Homosexuality bill and its subsequent passing in May the same year, Uganda has found itself at the center of global discussions surrounding human rights and equality, particularly concerning the LGBTQ+ community. The country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act,2023 has garnered widespread condemnation for its discriminatory nature, but the consequences extend far beyond its direct targeting of individuals based on sexual orientation. It’s time to delve deeper into why this legislation is not just an affront to human rights but also a threat to the fundamental principles of equality and access to essential services for all Ugandans.

At the heart of the matter lies a disturbing trend: the utilization of hate and discrimination as tools to deny basic services and rights to certain segments of the population. One glaring example of this was the decision by the Ugandan Parliament to increase taxes on adult diapers. This move, obviously aimed at raising revenue, carried a more insidious undertone. Lawmakers openly stated that the tax hike was intended to hinder the LGBTQ+ community from accessing these products.

While there is no concrete data on the usage of adult diapers among LGBTQ+ individuals in Uganda, at least each Ugandan knows a senior citizen or someone with a severe health condition in need of these products who will now pay extra to access them because of prejudice towards sexual and gender diverse persons.

On Thursday, 25th April 2024, there were debates within the Ugandan Parliament regarding the potential banning of Artificial Reproductive Therapy (ART). Members of Parliament voiced concerns about LGBTQ+ individuals utilizing ART to form families, viewing it as a threat to traditional family structures. Are we certain that it is only LGBTQ+ persons who might need these services? Shall we have more of that medical miracle we celebrated last year as a country of the 60 year old woman who birthed twins?

In March we witnessed a classic example of scapegoating of LGBTQ+ individuals for broader societal issues, such as the mismanagement of public funds. When citizens demanded accountability for the mismanagement of public funds as exposed by the Uganda parliament exhibition, the Speaker scapegoated LGBTQ+ individuals, baselessly accusing us of funding efforts to discredit her. This tactic not only deflects attention from legitimate concerns but also serves to vilify and further marginalize LGBTQ+ individuals within Ugandan society.

As Ugandans, it’s time to confront a crucial question: Does consensual relations between adults of the same sex truly bother us to the extent that we are willing to sacrifice the principles of equality, dignity, and progress in our own country? Is the pervasive hate towards LGBTQ+ individuals a valid justification for enduring poor leadership and enduring the consequences of bad legislation? Are consensual relationships between adults of the same sex truly a threat to our society? Do they pose a danger to our families, our communities, or our way of life? No! Do you know what causes threats to our societies, when people who need services cannot access them because of laws created in prejudice. It is time to examine if really the whole nation is not serving time for this crime of being silent towards marginalization.

Are we willing to sacrifice the potential for progress, prosperity, and unity in our nation for the sake of preserving outdated prejudices? Consider the broader implications of our actions: Poor leadership and bad legislation fueled by hate not only undermine the principles of democracy and justice but also hinder our collective ability to address pressing issues such as poverty, corruption, and economic development. It’s time to recognize that the hate for LGBTQ+ individuals is not a sufficient reason to tolerate poor governance and discriminatory legislation. As Ugandans, we must rise above prejudice and bigotry, and demand accountability from our leaders.

Actually sit and analyze how much of this hate is yours to begin with, or were you recruited into a game of mpalanilako that only has you as the loser?
Ugandans, wake up and realize that you were played! As a nation we must hold our leaders to the highest standards of integrity, compassion, and inclusivity, and reject any policies or actions that seek to undermine the rights and dignity of any individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.