The Gay Debate across Africa

Gay“They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind”

By Dida Halake, London, UK


I have been sent this bold statement from an African newspaper with a request to “comment”.

“African leaders and same-sex relationships: the masses should not be diverted from the issues that affect their lives. … Many African leaders are treating this same sex issue as if they are attacking Western values values. In actual fact, this issue has sparked controversy in all these countries. It raises questions on how a government should deal with its own people. That is the crux of the matter. It is not about western values.”

Well, briefly, my comment is that this matter was a non-issue across much of Africa until the West tried to impose its “Gay Values” across Africa. It is not factual to say “it is not about western values”!!! “Gay issues” and “Gay values” are by definition Western values. Homosexuality is taboo across every single country in Africa – and that is how it will remain. No President in Africa, other than Nelson Mandela who was still operating under the white Apartheid system and values (Western values), can legalise “Gay Rights” in Africa and survive in office. Homosexuality remains taboo amongst the majority African population in South Africa – and infact the law legalising it may possibly be repealed by Jacob Zuma’s administration.

As I once wrote, the majority of the people of Africa live by the tenets of the Koran and the Bible – and the laws of the African countries reflect those values and cultures. The West must respect those African beliefs and values, pure and simple. I live in the UK where homosexuality is legal and I respect that. My son’s High School headteacher is gay but that is neither here nor there. The headteacher has done a remarkable job in turning around one of London’s secondary schools – bringing it up from being one of the worst to being one of the best. My son gained 7 straight As and 3 Bs in his exams (10 GCSE passes altogether). That is superb. I have great respect for the headteacher – gay or not gay. Now, coincidently, I think my daughter’s headteacher is also gay: a parent told me and said I must be blind not to have noticed for 3 years! But really, I may have failed to notice the so-called “gay-mannerism” because it does not matter to me! He is a great headteacher doing a great job – if he wasn’t I would have challenged him in an instant (I am well known for that!).

My point is that the millions of us, Muslims and Christians, respect the laws and culture of this country, and the West, even when we don’t on a personal level share the homosexual values espoused. From that perspective, I feel outraged, like the overwhelming majority of Africans, that Obama and Cameron should demand that Africans should abandon their own cultures and values and embrace homosexuality or face the denial of Western development assistance. It really is extraordinary that intelligent people like Cameron and Obama should couch that demand in the language on an explicit threat: Gay Rights or No Aid! That is blackmail, pure and simple. And it is not wisdom we expect from “World Statesmen”. That wisdom was recently stated in a judgement at the Royal Courts of Justice here in London – in a case brought by a Christian group over a Gay Advertisement. The judges ruled for Gay Rights, correctly as the law required them to do, but they also said this:-

Lord Justice Briggs:

  1. I agree with the direction for the further investigation of this case proposed by the Master of the Rolls …
  1. … the Stonewall advertisement also failed to comply with aspects of the Policy, because it was likely to cause widespread or serious offence related to matters of public controversy. As my Lord has said, she (the judge below) was able and entitled to make that finding.
  1. There are many people, of many different faiths and none, who have been brought up and taught to believe that all homosexual conduct is wrong. Many have, after long and careful thought, arrived at a different view. Some have been encouraged along the way by bold expressions of the type found in the Stonewall advertisement. But many others continue sincerely to hold that belief, and some regard a departure from it as inconsistent with the maintenance of their faith. Some would rather give up their jobs, or discontinue their businesses, than act in a way which they believe condones such conduct, whether by conducting civil partnership or gay marriage ceremonies, by admitting gay couples to bed and breakfast accommodation, or by providing adoption training to gay couples. Sincere differences of view about this issue are tearing apart some religious communities, both here and abroad.
  1. Like my Lord, I consider that the Stonewall advertisement was probably intended to promote tolerance of gay people and to discourage homophobic bullying, and that this is plainly a lawful aim. But the advice to ‘get over it’ is a confrontational message which is likely to come across to many of those to whom I have just referred as at least disrespectful of their sincerely held beliefs, and to some as suggesting that there is no place for the toleration of their beliefs in modern society. Displayed on the side of London buses it is therefore likely to cause widespread offence to many, even if it may have promoted tolerance and understanding in others.

The “Gay Rights or Aid Money” diplomacy that Obama and Cameron so publicly launched back in 2011 was in their Lordships words “confrontational”. The reaction we are seeing from African populations and leaders now is a response to that confrontational approach from Obama and Cameron. Even recognized democratic countries like Kenya, Senegal and Ghana would never consider legalising homosexuality. Infact Nigeria, a democratic country, has also recently enacted laws similar to Uganda’s.

I am afraid it is about imperialism by the West and an attempt to force western values down African throats. If so it is bound to fail miserably. Obama and Cameron sowed the wind. Now they are reaping the whirlwind.

If you wish to read the above Royal Courts of Justice judgement further, just paste the following in google: [2014] EWCA Civ 34


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