Uganda’s Constitutional Court Has a Lot to Teach Ghana’s Anti-LGBTQ+ Goofballs

Feature Article Alban Bagbin and Uganda's Deputy Chief Justice, Mr. Richard Butera
Alban Bagbin and Uganda's Deputy Chief Justice, Mr. Richard Butera

Before I decided to write and publish the contents of what constitutes the present column, having come across a very morally and intellectually refreshing news report captioned “Uganda’s Court Strikes Down Sections of Museveni’s Anti-LGBTQ Law” (Kenya Times 4/4/24), I first decided to comparatively verify such fundamentally reflective statistical figures as the population size of Uganda which, at approximately 50 million people, is about 15 million more than Ghana’s population of approximately 35 million people. Then I checked the literacy rate of Uganda which, at 79-percent, is roughly about the same as Ghana’s 82-percent literacy rate.

Now, the foregoing two pairs of statistical figures were very important to Yours Truly because they gave him a critical insight into the levels and the depths of the relative intellectual profiles of the leaderships and intelligentsias, so-called, of these two erstwhile British colonies. In the end, I decided that Uganda’s leaders, especially its elected politicians and parliamentarians, may be civically more socially responsible and enlightened, as well as ideologically progressive, in ways that cannot be said of their Ghanaian counterparts.

You see, looking at the fact that Ugandans have been suffering under 40 years of the faux-democratic, one-party dictatorship of President Yoweri Museveni, it is tempting to facilely and cavalierly presume that Ghana, with a more robust and functionally progressive democratic culture, would also be blessed with a leadership that was relatively more enlightened and forward-looking than its heavily forested landlocked East-African counterpart. Interestingly, however, the conclusion that I reached was that the Museveni dictatorship clearly belies the fact that Uganda may also, paradoxically, have been blessed with the most democratically minded and intellectually acute and puissant leadership and arguably the most civically astute intelligentsia on the African Continent.

You see, for example, while in Ghana our legislators are hellbent on riding roughshod over the human and the civil rights of the members of the LGBTQ+ Community, in Kampala, that is Uganda’s capital, every effort is being made to fiercely and jealously defend the human and the civil rights of these prime victims of a vision-malnourished political class. The latter reference, of course, is unmistakably to the members of Ghana’s Parliament who, on February 27, unanimously voted, herd-mentality fashion, to summarily proscribe the very existence of Non-Heterosexual People.

In Uganda, where the Anti-LGBTQ+ Law went into effect last year, that is 2023, there had not been any such intellectually and psychologically lame expression of parliamentary unanimity. But what was even more intellectually and morally compelling, if also unimpeachably and rationally captivating was what Uganda’s Deputy Chief Justice, Mr. Richard Buteere, had to say about the largely proforma decision to allow the Anti-LGBTQ+ Law to remain on the books, as it were, while also fiercely and civically responsibly defending the human and the civil rights of affiliates of LGBTQ+ subculture.

According to Deputy Chief Justice Buteere, the Anti-LGBTQ+ Law had been passed in March 2023, primarily because of massive public outcry or protest to the effect that “children and families were dying in silence from the psychological trauma of forced recruitment into same-gender acts.” Further, we are informed that the “Act criminalizing homosexuality, its recognition, promotion, financing and normalization…threatens traditional values in a culturally and religiously conservative Uganda.” Equally significantly, however, the Constitutional Court of Uganda also struck down a section of the Anti-LGBTQ+ Law that criminalized “Engagement in acts of homosexuality by anyone which results in [a mutually consenting adult partner or partners] contracting a terminal illness.”

In other words, the decision of any person of discretionary age – presumably 18 years-plus – to voluntarily engage in homosexual coition/coitus with another gay or lesbian partner that results in the contraction of a terminal illness – presumably an HIV-related disease – is deemed by Law to be the private and personal business of the parties involved. This is pretty much akin to what in New York State is called a “No-Fault” Traffic Accident. Furthermore, the five-judge panel of judicators, presided over by Deputy Chief Justice Buteere, “deleted sections of the [Anti-LGBTQ+] Law that had criminalized the letting or the leasing of any premises for use by or for homosexual purposes,” which I suppose speaks to the rights of gay couples to rent hotel rooms and houses for the perfectly legal purposes of pleasuring themselves, just like members of the majority of the culturally “normal” or “normalized” heterosexual community, without these mutually consenting adult homosexuals or gay couples being reported to the police and getting arrested “for appropriate action.”

And finally, in consonance with what Yours Truly has been arguing all along, Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteere declared in no uncertain terms, what could be aptly interpreted to be a strikingly similar version of the “Don’t Ask and Don’t Tell” Military Credo enacted by the Clinton Administration in the mid-1990s, as follows: “We decline to nullify the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 in its entirety, neither will we grant a permanent injunction against its enforcement.” We hope Anti-LGBTQ+ crusading zealots and political cynics and charlatans like Ghana’s Speaker Alban SK Bagbin and Messrs. Samuel George Nartey – aka Sam George – John “European Airbus Payola” Dramani Mahama, Johnson “The Mosquito” Asiedu-Nketia and the grossly misguided Mr. John Ntim Fordjuor, the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Assin-South Constituency, in the Central Region, are paying sedulous attention.

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
Professor Emeritus, Department of English
SUNY-Nassau Community College
Garden City, New York
April 5, 2024
E-mail: [email protected]