Morality’s most basic definition is what is judged to be right or wrong. The issue of gay rights in Africa and the Middle East has been heated over the past generation, as the rest of the world has ‘progressed’ to identify gay rights. The main reason for African’s resistance is that “we are God-fearing citizens” as stated by a Ugandan MP. This same fear of God has failed to find relevance in the worlds of governance where corruption and nepotism is rife and rape is the social order.
Earlier this month, Nigeria passed a law that would make homosexual activities illegal and could lead to one being in prison for 14 years. This was done after Uganda had established a bill that would make gay activities get you a sentence for life in some scenarios. Correct as they may be in this argument, the disappointment that comes with the African leadership is their refusal to take other issues that have a moral question as seriously!
Nigeria which has rolled heads with their anti-gay laws is currently ranked as the most corrupt nation in Africa (83%). What this basically means is that 8 out of 10 people in Nigeria have taken a bribe or have given one. Zimbabwe ranked by Afro-barometer to be the third most corrupt has prided itself in also being a God fearing nation has cases where to get a driver’s licence, a learner pays as much as US$250 to actually get it.
South Africa unlike its other African counterparts actually protects gay rights, but simultaneously, one in four men have confessed to raping and one in every three South African women will be raped in their lifetimes.
The point I am trying to make with these case studies is that if Africa is going to be seen as having the moral high ground and can tell the West that gay rights are an abomination as is their view, a stance as serious as the one taken against gays must be taken in corruption, rape and nepotism.
It’s possible for one to get six months for rape in both Nigeria and Uganda but for illegal gay actions it is 14 years! The differences show a true case of politicking, where politicians create a veil over the greater cancers in our society. What’s even more important is for Africans to realise that these morality cancers are a social problem, meaning the same individuals advocating against gay rights with the right hand, are passing a ‘favour’ with the left hand, pure moral hypocrisy to say the least.
God’s moral compass can be one of the greatest instruments that Africa has to become a resounding force in the world, but that will only happen when we realise morality is also about corruption etc. and not just gay people.
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