It is often hard to have an informative discussion without outlining the facts or the things you generally agree about and the principles upon which you journey to get the foundational stone to build other discussions. With that said, it is quite important to understand what a law is as well as understand the reason why we have laws.
A law is a system of rules and regulations created and enforced by a governing authority, such as a government or a legislative body. Laws are designed to MAINTAIN OR CREATE ORDER, regulate behavior, and protect the rights and interests of individuals and society as a whole.
With the above definition, we understand that the one thing all laws point to is order. It is impossible to have something called a society without order. And order demands that we should have fundamental ideas we agree about as tools to ensure that order is maintained.
In my view, we seem incapable of 100% agreeing about the facts or the tools to create and maintain order. But at least what helps us co-exist is the ability to accept that we might never come to a point where we agree 100%. But even then, we ought, to be honest to ourselves as well as those around us.
The real challenge arises when people do not have any ability to interrogate the facts at their disposal without being overridden by the desire of being right. Anyone willing to investigate should be humble enough to first examine whether they are arguing from a place of defending what they think is right or walking through the facts over and over again to arrive at the same conclusion.
What are Ugandans like?
An average Ugandan whether educated or not, has not had time to interrogate the facts they use to arrive at their beliefs which they hold dear. When someone says we have to protect our culture and you honestly ask them how they came to have that culture in the first place, they cannot explain!
Like zebras, we often give answers good enough to help us fit into the society we find ourselves in. An average Ugandan will simply move with the flow. They are easily indoctrinated into the cultic culture. Asking logical questions is seen as wrong. And when answers are given, they are rarely thought through. They are often merely parroted ideas.
It is common to find a Ugandan saying that the country was far better during Amin’s reign than it is today. But the same Ugandan understanding of Christmas was rooted in eating a proper meal not actually celebrating Jesus’ birth. To the same person, Christmas is no longer valuable as it used to be more than two decades ago because he or she has more access to the kind of food they used to only eat at Christmas!
Now an average Ugandan cannot look at that fact and if you present it, they will simply dismiss it without examining it because it goes against the narrative they wish to further.
In the same country, a place that is 50km away was seen as very far. But now, it is a place someone can easily visit without necessarily sleeping over. Things have changed but many people are not sober enough to see. But that does not mean that there are no things that have gone way wrong. However once the wrong becomes the only thing you can see, then you do not have the capacity to relate with anyone.
Why am I even discussing all this? It is to help you understand that the society you are accusing of a harsh law is not yet at the level of discussing ideas. It is a society that is simply living on things that have not been thought through and reasoned out. The construct of LGBTQIA is for people who want to reason out things.
But before you reason out things, the facts that you use to build your argument should first be examined before they are put to use. We often assume that we have the facts right and start the argument mid-way. We also bash everyone that tries to challenge our facts because we simply want to be right!
However, for reasoning to be fruitful; it must be predicated upon scientifically proven facts. Things we call fundamentals. The West seems to have human rights as the underlying principle but how do you come to have human rights?
The real discussion should not be on whether the law is harsh or not. Rather it should be about how we get to have the fundamental principles we have built our society upon. It is like having a religious debate between a Muslim and a Christian about what is truth without first agreeing on whether the Bible and the Quran are reliable sources!
It is therefore important that before we debate whether the law is harsh or not to first interrogate how we come to hold the values we hold dear and how true the ideas upon which our value system is built.