Uganda's gay ban must be seen in African terms

Regarding Arnie Weissmann's column about Uganda's new laws dealing with homosexuals [From the Window Seat: "Do we boycott Uganda?" March 3]: The law needs to be looked at in the African context and in terms of what is happening on the ground.

The issue has developed into a media frenzy globally, and what is reported is not at all a realistic reflection of the daily life experienced in Uganda or the tourism industry there. People are not being arrested or attacked on the streets of Uganda. Most Ugandans are not interested anyone's private life and never intended or planned to hurt tourists or their fellow countrymen. A lot of political role-play and media abuse is unfortunately feeding and impacting one of Africa's success stories.

The anger and response it has solicited on an individual level and nationally across many countries is, of course, totally understandable, but this, too, needs to be put in context; the responses from certain countries withdrawing aid already and others threatening to do so, including the U.S., will only hit the poorest, who benefit from programs that are funded by such aid.

However, the effect of demanding that Africans immediately repeal legislation that has been passed through their democratic institutions has a striking undertone of coming across as old-fashioned imperialism, and indeed that's how it has been perceived on the continent.

The irony of it is that in many of the African countries, such legislation has existed in the statute from colonial times, in most instances never, ever enforced, and now the issue has been politicized with external support from various groups.

Thank you so much for trying to give a fuller picture of a very difficult issue.

Roni Madhvani, director
Madhvani Group
Kampala, Uganda

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