Politics and Society
Uganda: Questioning government obsession with everything sexual
In Uganda, the term ethics is synonymous with pornography and sexual activities. The fight by the ethics minister Simon Lokodo is not on corruption but on pornography. We question the obsession of the Ugandan government on banning everything sexual and pornographic, which is regarded as immoral.
In Uganda, $556,000 (2 billion Uganda shillings) has been directed to the anti-pornographic control committee. Recently the committee listed sexting as a pornography offense that would be met by punishment.
The line between individual privacy, which is considered fundamental to any society and government intervention has been crossed. The private has become the fundamental concern of the government. Aside having stringent pornographic laws, the Ugandan government has been criticised for policing how women dress.
The major question which is constantly being asked is why the preoccupation with policing what citizens do in private. A number of much pressing issues still need the attention of the government. The leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army Joseph Kony is still at large and there are security fears posed by the rebel group. The Ugandan economy, according to World Bank faces a number of risks: delayed completion of the massive public infrastructure program; regional instability; global uncertainty; and credit market constraints. The weather and climate related changes are also a source of vulnerability for agriculture, and a further slow down in the Chinese economy could adversely impact Uganda’s investments in infrastructure. The risk of debt distress remains low with the present value of public debt at 36% of GDP.
But one important question is this, are ethics restricted to only sexual activities? One would imagine that the news of the Ugandan government setting up an anti-pornography committee can only be found in a satirical novel. Uganda’s ethics minister conveniently forgets that corruption is also an ethical issue. Uganda is currently the 151 least corrupt countries out of 175 countries according to Transparency International. But of course no high-tech equipment will be bought to monitor corruption, but $88,000 was spent to buy a pornography-detection machine.
But for a minister who blames the erosion of human resources in Uganda on pornography then surely corruption is not an ethical issue. If the resources given to fighting pornography were given to equipping hospitals or fighting corruption, there would be no need to complain about the erosion of human resources.