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Life Sentences For Aggravated Homosexuality in The Gambia

no gaysJust after reading that the anti-gay bill was slowly making its way again in Uganda, it seems another African country has decided to go down that road.  The Gambia, the smallest continental African country known for its beautiful beaches, friendly people and infamous autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh (of the ridiculous HIV cure) has passed a law that metes out life sentences for aggravated homosexuality – meaning having sex with someone who has been drugged, a minor (below 18 years), or with an IQ below normal. Currently gay sex in the country is punishable by a five to seven-year jail sentence. While The Gambian President is yet to sign it, I have little doubt that he will, after all this is a man who said on national television recently that : “We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively.” It’s quite interesting that The Gambia does deal out such sentences to men who sleep with underage girls or marry them. According to UNICEF, about 46.5% of girls are married before 18.

I’m not sure what this country plans to achieve with this new law. I’m not sure of the benefit to their president, seeing as he doesn’t have any major political opponents. If it’s to satisfy the Gambian people, I’m certain there other ways to do that besides attempting to control what some adults choose to do in their private lives with other consenting adults.

I keep wondering what I can do as an African gay man to stem this tide of hate.

 

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Uganda: One Step Forward, Ninety-nine Steps Back

gay ugandaRecently, the President of Uganda was celebrated for choosing to back down over the proposed anti-gay law. However the jubilation was premature: he recently signed the infamous law into being. This law includes life imprisonment for some homosexual acts and prison sentences for people besides the couple who participate in same-sex marriages. Even worse: he apparently had overwhelming support from the country’s citizens who rejoice at a victory over western/unAfrican influences. True to Ugandan form, a local tabloid has come up with names of 200 gay men and women in Uganda although the paper’s online edition did not carry this story, according to CNN. . I am sad and disappointed. The hypocrisy of carrying a Bible/Qur’an yet opposing “western influences” seem to be lost on many Africans. I will admit that there is some high-handedness in the way some western aid organizations decide how aid money is spent (especially on projects that are not that big a priority) and in trade agreements that clearly do not favour the low and middle-income ones, homosexuality will never fall into that category. Rights are rights and seizing the rights of a minority when these rights do not in any way affect how the greater majority live their lives will never be the way forward. This is not even something that any African country should be told by anyone: this is something it should know. Where is the Ugandan Social Justice Department in all this? Incidentally their webpage is offline at the moment.

Enough said.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Politik

 

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Ivorien Leaders Refuse To Join Their Anti-Gay Counterparts

Ivorien LGBT2The political leaders of Côte d’Ivoire have refused to pursue any anti-gay legislature unlike their backward counterparts in many other African countries, stating that they have more important things on their agenda than what people do in their bedrooms. I am happy that there are still leaders in the West African sub-region who still have common sense and put some of their people’s needs first. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Politik, Uncategorized

 

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As Support For Gay People Rises in Nigeria, Violence Against Them Rises Also

gay nigeriaWhile the Police has begun seizing people’s phones at random and checking for incriminating pictures, luring and arresting suspected gay men all in the name of bribes curbing the homosexual menace, most gay men and women have bound to together to form support groups and networks and protect each other while others have taken to speaking against the law. There has been support from the heterosexual community such as Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka (whose piece requires a good dictionary to follow), musician Seun Kuti who also advocated for gay people to come out, and blogger Ayo Sogunro who succinctly (and satirically) explained why even heterosexual men and women should be worried about this new law.

On the hand, two gay men got were caught by a mob of young men and forced to have sex with each other.nigeria-gay-vigilante-attack-thumb-250xauto-34826 The episode was recorded on multiple mobile phones by onlookers and uploaded online. No one attempted to help them. I watched the video and every second of it broke my heart. The one thought going through my head was this could happen to me. There have been no comments from the Nigerian police on this issue.

A man was also outed on social media via pictures that were taken when he was having sex with another man. The pictures clearly showed his face and he was tagged in the post, thus making sure that everyone who saw the picture knew exactly who he was. People immediately began condemning him and calling for him to be arrested. He has since gone underground. The worst part of this entire spectacle is that it was orchestrated by another gay man. Talk about drama.

In other Nigerian news, petrol queues are starting to form due to shortage (real or induced by those with ‘vested interests’ – sometimes you never can tell). This is yet another problem that was placed lower down in the priority list as fighting homosexuality went up. I hope Nigerians are seeing their tax Naira at work.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Politik, The Business of Living

 

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President Museveni Smashes Anti-Gay Bill in Uganda

yoweri_museveniAfter passing through the House, the terrible Ugandan anti-gay bill was swiftly shut down by President Yoweri Museveni, his reasons detailed in a 9-page letter to the Speaker of the House. While there are many that say that this is another African president bowing to Western pressure, I would rather see it as a  president who understands that there are these conditions called priorities which other presidents need to look at.

However his comments about homosexuality are worrisome as he referred to gay people as “abnormal” or “products of random breeding” in Western societies. So progressive may not be the right word really to describe him but I’m glad that at least the bill has been dropped and LGBT folk in Uganda can heave a huge sigh of relief for now. Read the rest of this story here on the BBC.

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in Politik

 

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Is There Something Special About The Number 14?

The-Gobarau-minaret2Katsina (a state in northern Nigeria and home to the Gobaru minaret) has decided to bypass the Nigerian federal government and enact a new law which criminalizes homosexuality with a 14 year jail term since the current sentence was too “light”. Note that Katsina already has Sharia law in place which punishes homosexual acts with a death sentence. I was quite surprised to find that Sharia law was introduced in that state by the governor at the time – the late President Yar’Adua, who died in office in 2010 and was well-liked by most Nigerian citizens. He is so far the only Nigerian presidential candidate to publicly declare his assets prior to an election. Part of new laws that were enacted in this 14 year jail term bundle include law against sexual harassment which is apparently common in universities as well as “gross indecency upon another person”.

I didn’t even know state governments could enact such laws outside of the federal authority but I have learned something today. Why consensual behaviour between two adults who know what they are doing should be punished in many African countries still angers and saddens me. As for the sexual harassment law, I’m glad a government has found it important to tackle it because it is known that many female university students are under pressure to grant sexual favours to lecturers and sexual harassment does continue in the workplace, I’m not sure a 14 year-jail sentence is the right way to solve this problem especially the legal system isn’t known for its fairness and transparency and the accused is almost always far more powerful than the accuser.

Maybe it’s time gay men and women in Nigeria began to speak up. Who knows which state will be next?

 

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Politik

 

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Off With Her Head!

nana oyeI have to say that President Mahama is making some very fascinating changes in his new government. The most controversial decision to come out of Jubilee House lately so far is one of the new ministerial nominees – Mrs. Nana Oye Lithur. She a human human rights activist and lawyer who is well-known and respected by the gay community for her LGBT work and once said “Not even the President of Ghana can deny anybody his or her human rights, irrespective of the person’s sexual orientation, ethnic group, gender and what have you. These are guaranteed in our constitution and everybody in Ghana has an obligation to respect that constitution.” This was after the previous President (Mills) had said he would never support any move aimed towards legalizing homosexuality. Not surprisingly there have been some criticisms of her nomination as the  Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection. The most interesting (and dare I say disquieting) by far however, is a group calling themselves the Concerned Clergy Association which has said that she is ‘morally’ unfit for the position due to her gay rights work. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Politik

 

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