Now Liberia: Senator proposes death penalty for gays

In a conversation last year, David Bahati told me that other African nations had expressed interest in his Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I do not know whether or not Jewel Howard Taylor (ex-first lady of Liberia, now Senator) has seen Bahati’s bill but she is proposing a similar measure. According to the AFP:

MONROVIA — Former Liberian first lady Jewel Howard Taylor has introduced a bill making homosexuality liable to a death sentence, amid a raging debate over gay rights in the country, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

The bill submitted by former president Charles Taylor’s ex-wife, now a senator, also seeks to amend laws to prohibit gay marriage.

“No two persons of the same sex shall have sexual relations. A violation of this prohibition will be considered a first degree felony,” reads the proposed amendment to marriage laws.

First degree punishment can range from 10 years to life imprisonment to the death sentence, on the discretion of the judge.

Voluntary sodomy is already a criminal offence in the west African country and can result in up to three years imprisonment, according to a lawyer consulted by AFP.

George Tengbeh, a senator supporting the bill, said he hoped it would put an end to months of acrimonious public debate on gay rights.

Some additional background on Sen. Taylor’s actions…

A similar bill was offered in the Liberian House last week by Clarence K. Massaquoi. This article has some detail about the proposed Act:

The Act states among other things that immediately after the passage of the Act, Chapter 14, Sub-Chapter D of the New Penal Code will now be amended and that Section 2 Sub-Chapter 14.80 will be added to which states that a person is guilty of Same Sex Sexual practices if he/she has sexual intercourse with another person of the same gender (male/female) with or without the consent of either person.

The Act also states that a person is guilty if he/she purposefully engages in acts that arouses or tend to arouse another person of the same gender (male/female) to have sexual intercourse; willfully, and with total disregard to societal moral dignity, seduces, encourages, promotes another person of the same gender (male/female) to engage into sexual activities.
According to the proposed bill which has been sent into committee room for review, Same Sex Sexual Practices is a felony of the Second degree, and as such the trial of all cases under Chapter 14.80 shall be heard in open Court.
The bill was on the Liberian House agenda last week.

  • Bernie

    Lovely people! This, while her husband, the President, sits awaiting trial for crimes against humanity.

  • Maazi NCO

    I do not know whether or not Jewel Howard Taylor (ex-first lady of Liberia, now Senator) has seen Bahati’s bill but she is proposing a similar measure.

    May be it has nothing to do with Bahati at all and all to do with the hysteria surrounding an attempt by a shadowy gay rights group to pressurize Liberian government into legalizing gayism as written in this news report below:

    http://www.africasia.com/services/news_africa/article.php?ID=CNG.0c6df8157d8deebf574ce140de218d7f.921

  • Maazi NCO

    Quoting from the news report—-

    A few weeks after the United States in December announced it would consider gay rights when handing out aid, the Movement in Defence of Gay and Lesbian Rights in Liberia began to push for the legalisation of same-sex marriage. This was roundly condemned and the leaders of the movement — none of them gay — were mobbed and had to be rescued by police when they tried to campaign at a university campus.

    http://www.africasia.com/services/news_africa/article.php?ID=CNG.0c6df8157d8deebf574ce140de218d7f.921

  • Maazi NCO

    Another report from the Kenyan newspaper, AFRICA REVIEW, published on 21st January 2012

    Same sex campaigners in Liberia are on mass mobilization exercise to attain a five thousand mark that would qualify them to push for legitimacy in the country, sources have confirmed.

    The group leaders Leroy “Ponpon” Archie and Abraham Kamara said they had already amassed about $4 million in their coffers from supporters abroad. While Liberian Constitution criminalises gay and lesbian activities, the duo have vowed that they will not bow to any pressure until the ‘Movement in Defence of Gay and Lesbian Rights’ is legally recognized in the West African nation.

    They added that they would use the available funds to attain the required number of signatures to petition Liberian legislators to pass Gay Rights Bill.The move has however sparked widespread condemnation from Liberians including some members of the country’s bi-cameral legislature.

    http://www.africareview.com/News/Gay+rights+activists+looking+for+new++recruits+in+Liberia/-/979180/1311422/-/89sip8z/-/

  • Mary

    Well, here it comes. I’ve done for my own country and gay citizens what I can do here to support and protect equal rights. Honestly, I’m not up for the fight against a whole continent. I only offer, that we provide citizenship to those who are persecuted for their homosexuality.

  • Richard Willmer

    I suspect, Mary, that this is the way we might have to go; money currently given to ‘rogue’ governments might need be diverted to assist African refugees.

    One sees the ‘recruitment’ line again … well, it is perfectly reasonable to seek to ‘recruit’ people to join you in a human rights campaign.

    (None of what ‘Maazi NCO MP’ reports above actually justifies these latest calls for violence; all it demonstrates is that there are homophobic bloodthirsty lunatics in Liberia as well … but I think we all knew that already – and there are some here in London as well.)

  • anteros

    i know at least 3 liberians, and many other people who have been to liberia. from what i have heard, liberia is one of the most backward countries in the world… they have completely nothing but humiliating poverty, all the problems that come with extreme poverty, and vast mineral wealth. lots of low hanging fruit for liberian politicians to capitalize on while possibly improving the wellbeing of liberian citizens… and this is the best that Jewel Howard Taylor could come up with?

  • Maazi NCO

    i know at least 3 liberians, and many other people who have been to liberia. from what i have heard, liberia is one of the most backward countries in the world…

    And so for them to be less backward, Liberia should legalize sodomy—the most efficient technique of transmitting HIV/AIDS after intraveneous drug use. If Uganda which is much better off than Liberia cannot cope with the strange gay-specific illnesses such as the antibiotic-resistant rectal gonorreah then why should Liberia be saddled with such a problem? Does Liberia have a domestic version of the US Centre for Desease and Control?

    Honestly, I’m not up for the fight against a whole continent. I only offer, that we provide citizenship to those who are persecuted for their homosexuality.

    I am sure a lot of smart alec Africans looking to immigrate will welcome your statement of granting automatic citizenship to anybody who claims that he or she is a gay sex practitioner.

  • Maazi NCO

    None of what ‘Maazi NCO MP’ reports above actually justifies these latest calls for violence; all it demonstrates is that there are homophobic bloodthirsty lunatics in Liberia as well …

    I can sense your frustration that Africans have bluntly refused to see the brighter sides of sodomy just like most Europeans/Americans/ Australians/Canadians/ New Zealanders. Anyways, if you examine the news reports I posted earlier, you will notice a familiar pattern playing out in many African States.

    A bunch of local gay sex practitioners in an African nation get funding from rich European/American Patrons. Awash with cash, the local gay sex militants begin to hold provocative press conferences and going on radio to make hysterical noises about something called “gay rights”. Then they stage provocative events such as the invitation of members of the public to attend gay engagement ceremony in Malawi or distribute “gay rights” flyers in Uganda.

    Following the provocative events,ordinary citizens of the affected African nation are outraged and there are lots of condemnations from local politicians, local religious leaders and local celebrities. A few weeks later, a brand new parliamentary bill is tabled in that African nation to suppress the Western-instigated gay militancy.

    Western government leaders under domestic pressure from Euro-American Gay Lobbyists bark, shout and threaten the African nation. The African nation (e.g. Burundi, Malawi, Nigeria) call their bluff and enact the anti-gay legislation….

  • Richard Willmer

    One argument is that we should just leave Africa governments ‘to get on with it’, and use them only for our economic convenience. Thus we could say something along the lines of “Hey, Yoweri-baby, you just do what you like with gays / political opponents / anyone whom you regard as some kind of threat to your interests (e.g. Ugandans who make embarrassing comments about the Bahati Bill – which your government is hoping will go away – on Throckmorton’s blog).” But that would be rather immoral, I think …

    Fortunately, Malawi seems to be putting its (relatively – when one considers the original Bahati Bloodbath Bill – lenient) anti-gay laws up for judicial review, and Burundi’s anti-gay laws are pretty tokenistic by bahatistic standards, as is most of the Nigerian Bill (which has not yet become law, I gather … a[nother] little ‘delay’, perhaps??!!*). * The Nigerian charade started in 2006, remember.

    It does seem a pity when some African countries seem determined to cut off their own noses to spite their faces … or at least APPEAR to do so (appearances count for rather too much sometimes, don’t they?!).

  • Richard Willmer

    The lovely ‘Maazi NCO MP’ says this:-

    “I am sure a lot of smart alec Africans looking to immigrate [sic] will welcome your statement of granting automatic citizenship to anybody who claims that he or she is a gay sex practitioner.”

    Don’t worry, ‘Maazi’! I’m sure we could find ways of determining which asylum claims are genuine (e.g. by getting lists of names from human rights activists on the ground), and if you were suddenly to turn up requesting asylum, we would know not to grant it!

    (Sorry – that was a little vicious … but sometimes I think it does ‘Maazi’ good to be ‘paid with his own coin’!)

  • Maazi NCO

    Don’t worry, ‘Maazi’! I’m sure we could find ways of determining which asylum claims are genuine (e.g. by getting lists of names from human rights activists on the ground), and if you were suddenly to turn up requesting asylum, we would know not to grant it!

    Ha, ha, ha…I am not a coward. I will never leave Uganda no matter what happens here. I have already completed my sojourn in the Western world. I am not going back there ever (except for brief holidays to visit my friends. Oh yes, I do have European and American friends as well as expatriate African friends based in the western world).

    With regard to your quip about getting a list from a local human rights group— do you really understand how the asylum system works in the western world? In any case, no domestic “gay rights” group in Uganda have capacity to determine who is and who is not a professional gay sex practitioner. Unless you chaps are willing to adopt the famed Czech Republic method of attaching electrodes to the manhood as a means of objectively identifying sodomists, then there is absolutely no way of knowing which asylum seeker is a genuine sex deviant and who is not

  • Maazi NCO

    …..It does seem a pity when some African countries seem determined to cut off their own noses to spite their faces …

    .

    What the hell are talking about? We are cutting off an infectious boil stuck to our backside to prevent it from growing larger and causing more problems to our general well-being.

    …..as is most of the Nigerian Bill (which has not yet become law, I gather … a[nother] little ‘delay’, perhaps??!!*). * The Nigerian charade started in 2006, remember.

    It wasn’t that long ago that you were celebrating the apparent “defeat” of the Bahati Bill and the apparent invincibility of Western imperial control over the Republic of Uganda. Even going as far as to tell me with glee that you were reporting my commentary directly to Her Majesty’s FCO as if I care a damn !!!

    In the coming weeks, Ugandan MPs shall demonstrate to you all in the Western world that we are a sovereign nation. I am sure that the Nigerian legislators of the lower parliamentary chamber will do the same when they are ready.

  • Richard Willmer

    I’ve never celebrated anything in connection with the Bahati Bill. Both Warren and I, from our different perspectives, have always cautioned against any celebration. It is YOU who appears in a celebratory mood when the Bill looks as if it is moving forward again. Celebrating repression, are you? :-(

    I see that ‘proving a (pointless) point to the Western world’ is apparently more important to you than doing what is in your own country’s best interest. Pity … but there we are. I suppose that’s the way with too many politicians …

    (I see you are really quite angry from the tone of your ranting above. Perhaps you need to calm down and do some thinking.)

  • Richard Willmer

    The sweet, thoughtful ‘Maazi NCO MP’ says:-

    “In any case, no domestic “gay rights” group in Uganda have capacity to determine who is and who is not a professional gay sex practitioner.”

    Intimately acquainted with such groups, are we, dear?

  • anteros

    “In any case, no domestic “gay

    rights” group in Uganda have

    capacity to determine who is and

    who is not a professional gay sex

    practitioner.”

    just wondering… who has that capacity if they don’t? lokodo? bahati?

  • Carol A Ranney

    “Professional gay sex practitioner” meaning what exactly? A small percentage of people are born with bisexual or homosexual orientation; most are born with heterosexual orientation. “Professional gay sex practitioner” has no meaning as far as I know.

    As for “strange gay-specific illnesses such as the antibiotic-resistant rectal gonorreah,” there are actually no specific gay diseases. HIV/AIDS lowers resistance to a number of the more rare infections/cancers etc, but they are as deadly to heterosexuals as to gays. Criminalising homosexuality makes fighting HIV/AIDS in that population very difficult, puts every citizen at higher risk of infection, and virtually ensures that HIV/AIDS will not be controlled or eradicated in the country.

    Decriminalisation, on the other hand, allows active education, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS to reach every citizen, bases decisions and actions on facts rather than delusion, and respects the personhood and citizenship of every individual.

  • David M.

    I know virtually nothing about Ugandan politics except what has been written on this blog. My impression, though, is that the Bahati bill is mostly about politicians whipping up support for themselves.

    In a government plagued by corruption and economic problems, I can only imagine that the approval rating for Parliament must be something close to Americans’ approval rating for Congress. It must play well to the Ugandan public to blame the gays for AIDS. Like many Republicans in the US, I suspect some MPs find it helpful to whip up public fear and anger toward a marginal and fairly powerless group. I suspect they also find it helpful to find an issue about which they can thumb their nose at the West, for domestic consumption, of course.

    Nothing rallies the masses like an enemy or two. Gays and the West must make very good foils for some Ugandan politicians. I’m not sure that the point is to pass the Bahati bill. I wonder if the point is to consolidate political support for certain MPs, such as our dear friend Maazi NCO.

    This is not to suggest the this bill is not horrifically dangerous, only to suggest that Ugandan politicians may have a hidden agenda. The bill diverts attention from the real problems.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ David M

    I think your assessment sounds very reasonable, except that there are always ironies and complications, especially given the often intensely ‘personal’ (as an African friend described it to me) nature of African politics. Often things like this can come right down to personalities: A hates B, B hates C, A and C team up to get at B (perhaps by concocting this or that bill) …

    Is the Bahati Bill popular with the ‘masses’? Probably – but the said ‘masses’ almost certainly do not understand the Bill’s full implications (basically they like the title, because it conforms to their prejudices). (Bringing back capital punishment is superficially popular in the UK, but our MPs won’t do it, because they understand all the implications of so doing and – on this issue at least – take seriously their responsibility to take good decisions on our behalf.)

  • Perkin Warbeck

    I would kindly ask Maazi #NCO to refrain from libeling my country and it’s citizens (Australia and Australians), thus: “…can sense your frustration that Africans have bluntly refused to see the brighter sides of sodomy just like most Europeans/Americans/ Australians/Canadians/ New Zealanders.”

    You have no understanding of my country and the views of Australians. You are ignorant and disgustingly divisive in claiming that “most” “refused to see the brighter sides of sodomy”.

    Your posts here are full of bile and vitriol. You have nothing of which to be proud.

  • Pingback: Text of Liberia’s Bill to Make Homosexuality a First Degree Felony — Warren Throckmorton

  • Pingback: Liberia New Anti-Homosexuality Bill Text | Death for Gays and Lesbians | O-blog-dee-o-blog-da


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X