A former Leader of the Opposition in the Ugandan Parliament has used a Christmas message to the Ugandan people to condemn attempts to further criminalize homosexuality in the East African nation.
In an article published in Uganda’s The Independent and The Observer newspapers, former MP Prof. Morris Ogenga-Latigo criticized the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, writing that it was the product of ‘emotion, prejudice and blunt insensitivity.’
‘Given the violent hostility shown towards homosexuals as a result of the Bill, we had hoped that, with sobriety, the Bill would be left to die,’ Ogenga-Latigo wrote, ‘This unfortunately was not to be!’
‘Rather than this Bill being an objective and considered response to a national challenge, the process is now one of blind emotion and prejudice driven by fundamentalist Christians- with their Pharisaic claims of unblemished religious goodness and ‘holier than thou’ attitude. More importantly, it has become a real national tragedy- of denial and hiding of our moral guilt [and a] hate campaign against unfortunate members of our society.
‘The excessive zeal of religious fundamentalists and other Ugandans against homosexuality is hypocritical and a reflex denial of our moral decay. With accusations of homosexuality against prominent Christian preachers in Uganda, paedophilia amongst Catholic priests … and our sad failure to prevent and actively rally against [the prostitution], witchcraft and corruption that now pervade our country, who amongst us has the moral or religious standing to “throw the first stone”?’
Ogenga-Latigo wrote that supporters of the bill were ignoring the realities around homosexuality and incorrectly conflating the issue with rape and paedophilia
‘The truth is that homosexuality is a social phenomenon that hinges on both a person’s genetic constitution and the social environment to which one is exposed, and is as old as humanity,’ Ogenga-Latigo wrote.
‘Contrary to the lies peddled by defenders of the Bill, homosexually oriented people have always been part of our African society … It must also be reiterated and made clear that homosexuality is completely different from sexual abuses by perverted and mentally deranged men who sexually molest babies, lure and sexually abuse young girls and boys [and] rape fellow men or even practice bestiality. Rather than the compassion, love and care in normal same-sex relationships, theirs is abomination and heartache that no culture on Earth tolerates. Accepting these realities is the first step to finding right solutions to our challenges of homosexuality.’
Ogenga-Latigo said it was time Ugandans moved with the rest of the world on the issue.
‘We must stop deluding ourselves that the Anti-homosexuality Bill is our God approved contribution to the world’s fight against moral decay,’ Ogenga-Latigo wrote.
‘We are but a tiny and largely inconsequential part of this world with no capacity to swim against its tide. Why don’t we instead learn from President Joyce Banda of Malawi who even after ascending to the presidency by the Grace of God still went ahead to suspend Malawi’s homosexuality law in order to give “all” her citizens the equal dignity they rightly deserve in spite their unfortunate sexual orientation?’
‘Parliament can enact the anti-homosexuality law but it will not be a “Christmas gift” to this country. For, Jesus Christ who was born on Christmas Day was a Christ of compassion and love, a sacrifice for sinners, and a Christ to heal and redeem but not condemn and sow hatred. That is my Christ and of the meek. Merry Christmas to you all.’
Ogenga-Latigo lost his seat of Agago County during the 2011 Ugandan General Election but has said he plans continue to be involved in opposition politics from outside the parliament.
The main opposition candidate for president during the election, Kizza Besigye, had also expressed his personal opposition to the bill.