This is response to reports about the US envoy to Uganda, Mr Scott H. Delisi that Uganda was scaring away US investors because of the current push for a new Anti-Homosexuality Bill (Daily Monitor, December 10). I would like to point out some observations about that position. Deriving a direct correlation between financial investment and homosexuality is an interesting twist to the debate and it calls for analysis.
It is interesting to note there is no single research that has concluded that homosexuality scares away foreign investors from a country. In December 2009, Tracy McWeigh and Paul Harris (The Guardian, 13122009) argued that anti-gay sentiments were rising in Uganda. But the World Investment Report-2013 showed that foreign direct investment (FDI) in the East African region, which includes Uganda, increased by $3.9 billion by 2012. By all standards the ambassador must be aware of these facts and figures. The table (right) shows that for US investors, profit in business is more important than homosexuality.
There is growing trend among homosexuality apologists to correlate homosexuality with economics in order to make the debate an economic rather than a moral question. Some bloggers and writers are arguing that it is ‘progressive economics’ to view homosexuality as an economic issue to them those who fail to do so are stuck in ‘old conception of marriage’, which hurts their economies. The use of such language is deliberately aimed at making us think that it is ‘progressive’ to take homosexuality as a big factor in economics. Those who don’t are termed old-fashioned. But this is wrong because it contradicts the economic idea of markets. Markets are not driven by moral values but are impartial and unbiased. So are they giving us a new definition of economics? What they are saying is a non-scientific attempt to deride the moral view of majority of Ugandans.
The attempt to use economics to support homosexuality indicates a shift by homosexuality apologists from the common argument that it is a human right because it also has problems with it. There is a problem of trying to make us accept that ‘homosexuality’ is the same as ‘sex’. We all agree that the ‘right to sex’ should be respected but is it the same as a ‘right to homosexuality’?
Let’s use the ‘human right to food’ to analyse it. Human beings have the ‘right to adequate food’ as the Universal Declaration (Art. 25), International Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (Art. 11) and Uganda’s Constitution (Preamble, XIV.ii) observe. But it would be wrong to argue that human beings have a right to abuse their right to food. We have a right to food but not a right to abuse ourselves as we seek to enjoy that right.
It is almost agreed upon everywhere that for a certain right to be real human right, it has to be fundamentally and inalienably part of being human. Rights are meant to respect the being of human persons and this means anything that demeans or dehumanises is not a right but an abuse of human being. If we accept anything to pass as a human right then we are vulgarising the whole concept of ‘human rights’ we have to be careful such that the human rights movement that has helped a lot in promoting human dignity does not lose its moral power. If we separate human rights from ethics, there is a danger of falling into a trap of viewing unethical practices as human rights.
Mr Kanakulya is a lecturer in Ethics and Human Rights, Makerere University and Uganda Christian University. firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Daily Monitor