Just 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.