I am appalled by the Editorial of the Sunday Times Newspaper December 12, 2009 (http://www.timeslive.co.za/opinion/editorials/article230535.ece ) which stated that my country Uganda is ruled by Evil minds.
Whereas I appreciate that the Editorial, like many of us, is not comfortable or happy with the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 which is currently before the Parliament of Uganda, I do not think calling our leaders "evil" helps the debate. This debate, which has been going on for a long time, has indeed given me a real taste of the world - Whereas many people do support the Bill for a variety of reasons, many do not support the Bill and others support only certain aspects of the Bill. However, there is a group of people who do not support the Bill, who have chosen to go "name-calling"(and in some cases used abusive language which does not help). In my view, they should look for means to convince the other side instead of calling those in support of the Bill names such as bigots, fascists, and homophobes or as in this case, evil.
To say that ''Evil minds'' rule in Uganda because of this bill seems to mean that there are no evil minds in countries that have de-criminalized homosexuality. However, this is far from the truth. Evil lurks everywhere. Even the devil does not know the intent of man's heart-including the hearts of those who don't support this Bill. In any case, there are many other issues like rape, defilement, poverty, racism, corruption, terrorism, murder, xenophobia, pedophilia, name it which are lurking all over the world-I am yet to see this paper give the leaders of nations where this happens (and this is all nations), the same kind of "brand"-Evil
It seems the editorial team intentionally decided to feign ignorance (I wonder whether deliberate or not) about the way laws in most democracies are made. If they had inquired, and I sure hope they did, they would have known that this is a private member's bill; that like in any other democracy, the process of reading the bill is going on; that just as RSA voted for President Zuma, a person many thought was not fit to be President; our democracy should be equally respected; that our President Museveni, who is being attacked unfairly in this Editorial, has not yet consented to the bill -which has not even been passed into law anyway.
If there is an example of BAD JOURNALISM, this is clearly it!! Whereas, many of us do have disagreements with many provisions in the Bill, we still respect the fact that there is freedom of thought, expression-but most of all, this is a democracy-and until we change our democratic values, we should not have our legislators and their "medieval attitudes" kicked out of the 21st century as the editorial suggests. If it were so, how come there is need to allow "thoughts" of "some citizens" seeking love and companionship with members of the same sex."?
Advocating for "Donors to “use their clout to demand the scrapping of the bill" is basically advocating for donors to interfere with our democratic and political process -and am surprised that a fellow African newspaper would suggest this. Using one proposed bill as the bench mark to advocate for the "return of human rights to (our) country.'' is equally astonishing. We have so many human rights concerns in this country, including but not limited to, the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels, freedom of the media, freedom of expression, association, closure of media houses, blocking of opposition rallies, floods, name it- but I am yet to read an editorial from this paper in these issues.
Why this specific cherry-picking of human rights causes? Most annoyingly, the editorial asserts that the bill will drag my country "back to the dark and evil days of Idi Amin" – a clear display of misunderstanding or lack of knowledge about the history of Uganda
As for now, unless the contrary be shown, I am very suspicious of the real motives of this editorial