Last week, the Adventist Development agency [ADRA] organized training on Aids prevention and treatment for inmates of Gitarama prison. It is a very good campaign to check the Aids scourge in prisons.
However, what seems to be a big issue is whether giving inmates condoms does not mean giving them a green light to indulge in homosexuality.
Prisons authorities are not ready to supply them to prisoners, although international NGOs have been pushing for their distribution in cells, (see The New Times May 19).
Apparently homosexuality is admittedly common in cells. But denying prisoners condoms does not help stop it. One even wonders how you teach people preventive measures of the virus while at the same time keeping the preventive gear away from them.
Prison authorities further confirm that there is a large number of HIV-infected inmates among those who go outside the prisons to work.
But giving them protection does not mean they have been flagged off to go on a rampage. It will instead help those who go outside to avoid spreading or contracting the HIV virus for that matter.
Currently many media houses and billboards in Rwanda are awash with messages on the protective awareness, which especially targets children whose parents had previously felt embarrassed to discuss with them issues of preventing HIV/Aids and unwanted pregnancies.
But this does not mean we are sending children to indulge in the behaviour. Health workers have been advocating for its increased access even in public places.
Homosexuality on the other hand is threatening a number of churches and church leaders too. It is now on record that it may tear the Anglican Church apart after a gay Bishop was consecrated in America.
It should not therefore surprise us to find it in our prisons. If the ‘architect’ (church leaders) of morals can mess with homosexuality, what do we expect from those people (prisoners) who have been put away from society because of their intolerable morals?
There is need to extend counselling services to prisons to address the problem which is said to be rife inside the cells. This is needed because it is believed that the pervasive conduct can be redeemed.
In Africa we point an accusing finger on the west for invading our culture. People especially youth through modernity; have copied the transgression because everything done by whites is regarded as ‘modern.’