THE WEST AND THE CULTURE OF DOUBLE STANDARDS:WHAT HAS AID GOT TO DO WITH GAY RIGHTS?
By Tangwe Abraham*
Same sex or gay relations has for a while now animated debate on the African continent and has refuse to leave the stage as the debate has been reignited with an interview granted the AFP news agency by 69 year old Cameroon gay rights activist, Alice NKOM. Hear her “When a country uses weapons, the police and all available legal and prison means against a section of its population, while it has a commitment to protect, it is apartheid.”
This comment rekindled in me the rough waters Uganda of late has been treading for daring to pass a bill outlawing same sex relationship. For doing that, the World Bank suspended aid to Uganda and Sweden follow suit and blocked all bilateral aid. It is not too long that President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan of Nigeria despite the internal security threats from Boko Haram signed into law a bill declaring same sex relationship a no go area for all Nigerians. This of course attracted angry reactions from Nigeria’s so-called partners.
The case of Cameroon is peculiar as the authorities despite the gaffs in governance issues have stood their grounds against pressure from the West to legalize same sex relationship. The ranting of the learned Barrister Alice NKOM is in place as it is her right to say what she thinks but that right does not negate the fact that she should not step on others toes. Homosexuality is total anathema in Cameroon and the Penal code forbids it upon pain of imprisonment. Culturally, it is a very strange phenomenon and a vast majority of the Cameroonian people detests it including all legal and constituted institutions in Cameroon.
Perhaps, she is leading a noble course for those who feel that way and have decided to put her in the spotlight with awards (She recently received an award from the German Branch of Amnesty International in Berlin) but she should be reminded that Cameroon is a State of law and no amount of underground networking can change that.
Cameroon is Africa in miniature and the last time I checked as someone with a deep knowledge in history, I did not anywhere see homosexuality as one of the key elements of the richness of Cameroon. We cherish our values and nowhere is it written that homosexuality is part of such values. We refuse as a people to be led to the slaughter because of selfish interests.
The Divine dictates on which we base all moral arguments and reflections be it in the West or Africa forbid same sex marriage and see it as very disgusting. Why should we at any time question that? Why do you think that God in his Divine wisdom created man and woman and commanded them by telling them “And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. Gen. 9:7) and a mere mortal would stand up and declare that for the sake of human rights, we should spite such a norm?
Is there anyone of them shouting at the top of their voices for the legalization of same sex relationship who is in that kind of relationship? What is the essence of such hypocrisy? Africans are predominantly polygamous and it is part of them. How many Western societies recognized polygamy? For how long shall we allow ourselves to be place under such double standards? Is it only right when it comes from the West and wrong when it is African? Must the world survive when others dominate?
Besides, why should AID be pegged to the legalization of same sex marriage? Embezzling money and robbing people of resources that could be used for national development is a human rights issue and should be treated as such. Besides, Western companies exploiting Africa or fueling conflicts in Congo are human rights issues as the destiny of millions of people and their livelihood are put into complete jeopardy. Again, the very fact that the West has elected to remaining silent while African leaders embezzle and lodge money in western bank accounts without the west blinking is an issue that needs very serious reexamination. Such money that could have been used to transform the lives of the people and the economy is lying fallow and useful to western capitalist while the people go hungry, lacking basic amenities like portable water, health facilities and electricity. And you tell me the West is helping Africa by trampling on her cultural values and rights? It is double standards and hypocrisy at its best to hinge aid on same sex relationship when there are more serious things that tie down Africa.
When Barrister Alice NKOM argues that homosexuality is compared to slavery in America, where does she leave Africa in all these? Is she aware that the non-compensation of Africans and Africa for the millions that she lost in human resources during the era of slave trade constitutes a human rights abuse? Are we sure that she is just an activist fighting for people or she has vested interest related to homosexuality somewhere? Africa has come of age and the people are ready to stand by their leaders on such burning issues of morality. If we should be given aid base on our recognition of gay rights as a people, then such aid can be kept and used to prod homosexuals in the West.
In all these, African leaders should pull their resources on it and issue a common statement. They should stop playing to the gallery and pretending by betraying their peers in the name of maintaining ties with the West. The activists have a right to their opinion but they should desist from abusing the rights of others by trying to force their views on them. Yielding to such western antics would be like dying before your real death!
*Tangwe will be sharing his opinions on critical issues in the Blog African View Points