The sexual behaviour or attraction between people of the same sex, or to a sexual orientation commonly referred to as homosexuality, has of recent hit public concern.
There has been a number of cases that were evidenced in prisons (mainly) and in some schools, in churches and to a lesser extent in the general public.
Etymologically, the word homosexual is a Greek and Latin hybrid with homos (often confused with the later Latin meaning of “man”, as in homo sapiens deriving from the Greek word for same, thus connoting sexual acts and affections between members of the same sex, including lesbianism.
Homosexuality however, goes against nature and African culture. No wonder it has received enormous condemnation in most African countries especially in black Africa. And various African heads of state have condemned it.
President Mugabe has no kind words for them One time he denounced lesbians and gays as “sexual perverts” who are “worse than dogs and pigs”.
“We don’t believe they have any rights at all”, he said.
In a speech to an international conference on reproductive health, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said, “I have told the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) to look for homosexuals, lock them up and charge them.”
“Carnal knowledge” against the order of nature is a crime in Uganda with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Museveni denounced homosexuality as against the Bible and an abomination in African culture. He mocked European politicians for their support of gays and lesbians.
The following day, the former President of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi declared in the same tone, that homosexuality was wrong, going against the Bible and African tradition.
“I will not shy away from warning Kenyans against the danger of the scourge,” he said. The western homosexual activists have, however, condemned such denouncements as human rights abuse.
They have been complaining that in many African cultures, gay and lesbian people are frequently subject to prejudice and discrimination, like many other minority groups that are objects of prejudice and stereotypes. It is true that homosexual culture is not Rwandan and is therefore susceptible to challenges.
Rwanda has not spoken much about homosexuality, but certainly it is against the practice. If homosexuality is not African then it cannot certainly be Rwandan! It is against this background that a mini survey was done to know if there are gays in Rwanda or not. The survey out that homosexuality really existed in Rwanda.
Like any other form of prostitution, it is denied, and practised indoors - a thing that has made it remain in obscurity. There is a community of gays in Rwanda, even though one will be hard put to produce evidence to clearly prove it.
One gentleman, who did not want to be mentioned, caused laughter in public when he complained thus: “I was surprised when a man of my age approached me to be his boy friend. He was serious and promised to offer me some good money. This is horrible! Suppose I was a young man with problems of money; the amount he offered would have really seduced me into the nasty demands of the son of devil.”
Many other people agree that there are gays in Rwanda, but say that it is difficult to identify them. It takes a lot to recognise a gay person; but sometimes young men go about with treated hair, tinted, walking like a woman, or forcing the voice to soften like that of a woman and speaking with abnormal gestures, etc. They cannot go out in the open and shout it out because they would be ridiculed.
There are communities that have a high number of gays, and these include prisons and schools. According to some school authorities who did not want to be mentioned due to obvious reasons, the youth in schools are adopting homosexuality. The teachers blame the foreign influence brought about by people who come from Europe and other Africans who have adopted the western sexual tendencies.
The Rwandan youth get friends online ( internet),who later on come to visit them in Rwanda and end up teaching them homosexuality. We have homosexual cases, mainly in urban areas, but it is generally still at a low level.
However, we should not forget that Rwanda is gaining big momentum in technology and the use of internet. This may increase the number of homosexual cases as young men and girls try to discover the new world.
Cybercafés in Rwanda should put strong restrictions on pornography websites. Children go to internet mainly to watch these sites and others related to them. Parents too should control their children and protect them from watching pornographic movies at home.
Otherwise, we risk having children engaged in such unwanted sexual behaviour. The prisons in Rwanda are said to have the largest number of homosexuals according to the survey done.
We contacted the head of prisons in Rwanda, Mr. Steven Barinda, on the issue and he had this to say: “We have a problem of homosexuals and homosexuality in prisons due to a number of reasons; most of the prisoners we have are genocide suspects who used rape as a weapon during the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. When they were put in prison they never stopped the behaviour. You know behaviour changes over time. They are the ones that have been causing trouble. Some genocide prisoners remained as kings and had other prisoners who worked as their servants. Of course, they were the very servants they had when they committed Genocide. The ones they used to kill. I am talking about the Genocide planners, category one and two.”
No one likes prison, but people are more unusually scared of finding such people in prison because they fear they would be raped by the same genocidaires. However, Barinda assured the public that stern measures were being put in place and “homosexual kings” in prisons have been dethroned and nobody should be worried any more.
“We initiated inside prison patrols (amarondo) and any prisoner found misbehaving is confined in a separate room. We have greatly improved inside prison security. We of course still have a problem of old buildings that need rehabilitation so that we maximise our security measures,” said the experienced Barinda.
There are in fact very many reasons that call us to worry about homosexuality. These reasons go beyond the fact that homosexuality goes against the Rwandan cultural norms and morals. Homosexuality is harmful for society since it does not engender reproduction, thus threatens the survival of society.
It poses a great threat to children, and leads to depressing and miserable lifestyles. Generally, homosexuals are obsessed with a sexual lifestyle that is unnatural, and so the society should stand warned well in advance.