BBC Debate: Is Homosexuality un-African? (Featuring Ugandan MP David Bahati and former President of Botswana Festus Mogae)

Published: March 17, 2011

The Background:

Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi has become the latest well-known African leader to denounce homosexuality, which he described as a "scourge".

A few days earlier, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, spoke sharply against homosexual relationships, saying that the full law should be used against such "abominable acts". His pronouncements followed reports that a gay wedding had taken place in a Kampala suburb between a male hairdresser and his boyfriend.

Since 1995 President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe have been very outspoken against homosexuals whom he described as "lower than pigs and dogs".

The argument among most Africans is that homosexuality is "un-African" – foreign to the continent, against its teachings and traditions and even against what the Bible teaches. In fact, some people would argue there is no word for homosexuals or homosexuality in their local African languages.

But it has become common knowledge that an ancient King in Uganda "paid special attention to boys in his court". A former President and prominent church leader was also recently convicted of sodomy and sexual assault. And some Gay Rights activists say that gay-bashing by national leaders is just an attempt to divert people’s attention from economic problems and political discontent.

Is homosexuality really "un-African"? Are African leaders right in condemning the practice or are they fighting a losing battle? Should homosexuality be de-criminalised in Africa

Part 1 of BBC Debate

Part 2 of BBC Debate

Part 3 of BBC Debate

Part 4 of BBC Debate

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