Have you heard or read that the Parliament of Uganda has passed the Bahati Anti-Gay Bill? That’s true.
You might also have been led to believe that the logic for Parliament passing the bill was to protect Uganda’s young children as well as Uganda’s hitherto outstanding moral values. That’s patently not true even if the evidence could be hidden that the gay situation is being used as a political football between Uganda’s parliamentarians and their overbearing nemesis, President Museveni.
You might have been hoodwinked into thinking that Ugandan gays are going into schools to recruit young men and women into homosexuality. David Bahati has claimed it. So has convicted felon, Martin Ssempa. So have countless detractors, some of whom have trawled out ‘ex-gays’ to try and sway public opinion to their side. Despite the blanket television, print and radio coverage, the claims are totally untrue.
In case you read an article in the Stirrer about an activist being recently beaten up and hospitalized on account of his sexuality, it was a tissue of carefully prepared lies. Yours truly doesn’t know who made it up, but under the circumstances that doesn’t matter. The story was not true.
Then there is this extremely troubling video of a man being lynched on a street, complete with the caption “Another Gay Man Killed In Uganda.” Not true at all. That man was killed because the mob decided he was a thief. The voice-overs are of people who were not at the scene and their claims that he was killed because he was gay was just agenda-pushing.
It doesn’t end there. There is yet another gruesome image, this time from the slums of Kibera in Nairobi that is doing the rounds on the internet, again claiming that a gay man has been burned alive in Uganda! The killing happened alright but it had nothing to do with Uganda. Nada, zilch.
Yours truly has mentioned on his Twitter feed deliberate hoaxes by people in Uganda claiming to be activists who have reported being arrested, hazed, stopped from burying their mothers, and goodness knows what else. Some of the stories were accompanied with pictures – also staged.
The only story worth its salt in 2013 was the arrest and jailing of Sam Ganafa an activist who was turned in to the police by a young man he took into his home. He was later released on bail but the publicity his case received means that the likelihood that he will get a fair trial are next to nil. But then an activist group based in Eastern Uganda jumped on the bandwagon and claimed that the police were conducting a witch hunt for all other gays in Uganda. Not true at all.
One could go on but you get the picture.
The end is justifying the means and it is quite apparent that sections on both sides will go to any extent to push their agenda. Sadly, in the battle for hearts and minds, the truth is coming a distant … last. Add into this ungodly mix the tendency of foreign activists to naïvely (some of them actually know what the truth is but would rather not dwell on it as it doesn’t advance their ‘save the black African gays’ crusade) believe everything they read or hear and you have a stench of corruption that all the oil of Arabia will not cleanse.
Does this mean that all the LGBTI activist groups are guilty of engaging in these despicable tactics? Not at all. In fact there is strong indication on the ground that main ones such as FARUG, SMUG and SPECTRUM are doing a good job of staying out of the mud bath. Yours truly has lambasted them in the past for being inward-looking but there is now verifiable evidence that they are taking baby steps in trying to be accountable to their grassroots – addressing the core concerns in the community, such as HIV/AIDS, without resorting to scurrilous deceptions and outright lies.
It’s partly because of the financial industry that is the LGBTI bandwagon in Uganda that yours truly is glad the Bahati Bill has finally been passed by Uganda’s Parliament. At least now we can move the discussion on and, hopefully, draw a curtain on the self-serving mendacity and exaggerations that this bill has engendered for four years now.
On both sides.