Keep morality out of law-making

The law should never be used to impose anyone’s moral preferences over those who do not subscribe to them. Keep morality out of law-making.
Members of Parliament vote during a past election for the House leaders. / File
Members of Parliament vote during a past election for the House leaders. / File

Editor,

RE: “Govt will not decriminalise adultery – Minister Busingye” (The New Times, October 8).

The law should never be used to impose anyone’s moral preferences over those who do not subscribe to them. In Rwanda, we have already experienced the tyranny of the clergy from the day the White Fathers arrived on the scene, through their role in the expelling of King Musinga, Monseigneur Perraudin’s central role in the destruction of Rwandan society and the forced exile of thousands of Rwanda’s children all the way to the clergy’s widespread involvement in the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Keep morality out of law-making.

Another aspect: How many of those pushing for this legislation—whether among the religious, government or our honorable legislators—are themselves beyond suspicion on this issue? Wouldn’t it therefore be better not to begin seeing the specks in the eyes of Rwandans before they deal with the logs in their own?

Let us agree that adultery is absolutely reprehensible, and that it is probably reaching epidemic proportions in our country. But criminal law is the wrong avenue to deal with it. Not all social ills have legal solutions. What seems like a simple cure through legal repression may, in fact, only end up aggravating the problematic consequences of the disease.

Mwene Kalinda

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Every year we work very hard to reduce the percentage of our budget financed by donors and we have made significant progress. However, it’s not an easy process and has required a lot of belt tightening. After all this, we want to take able bodied cheating spouses out of the tax paying pool and make them dependent of the government.

Are we saying that we as a society should be so repulsed by cheaters we are happy to pay to keep them away from us?

I for one don’t think it makes sense; adultery is an offense against your spouse and should not be an offense against the state. And if like me, you believe in karma, you will believe that at the end of the day, he won’t get away with it. But I don’t think that people should go to jail for it and I also don’t think judges should determine whether forgiveness is coerced or not.

That will not be a legal determination but one based on perception and quite often personal bias.

Belinda Umutoniwase

 

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