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Editorial: Gay Rights vs Western Aid

Liberia is well noted for making rare history in Africa. It is the first country on the continent that announced independence without being colonized; it elected the first female President in Africa, and allowed a high school dropout football star to become a presidential candidate.

Now the country is on the way to holding Africa spellbound with campaign emerging, for the legalization of gay and lesbian rights, barely a month after western countries, particularly Britain and the United States announced that aid to Africa would be tied to African governments legalizing homosexuality or same sex marriage, a call that has received unreserved condemnations from several governments in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Nigeria and Ghana.

However, this paper has received reports that several homosexual foundations based in Europe and the United States led by the Californian-based ‘Foundation for the Protection of Gay Rights’ are offering US$4 million to members of the Liberian Legislature to introduce a gay rights bill for enactment. One million of this amount has reportedly been disbursed among some members of the 53rd Legislature in Monrovia.

As a trial balloon effort or an attempt to test public reaction on the current campaign, University of Liberia student Leroy Archie Pon-Pon, who spearheaded the burning of the Norwegian Flag recently in Monrovia, has maintained that homosexuality is already being secretly practiced here. “Gays and lesbians have rights like other Liberian citizens, and those rights must be protected”, Pon-pon emphasized in a news conference, promising to introduce a bill shortly in the House, seeking the legalization of homosexuality in Liberia.

From all indications, the gay rights campaign is far beyond Pon-Pon; he is being used as a foot soldier to do the dirty work of belly-driven politicians, who care very little, if any all, for the future of our youthful generation.

Homosexuality is not only desecrating, abusive and exploitative, particularly in a poverty-ridden society like Liberia, but un-African. Those officials of government, including members of the Legislature behind the campaign need to rethink their action because posterity is watching them keenly.

It is time that we as a nation stand up to the West and say No to making homosexuality as a precondition to receiving assistance. Liberians need to reflect why the call is being made to Africa. This is a new form of subjugation that Africa should resist with unison.

The gay rights campaign by the West in exchange for aid is the first test before President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her second term, specifically coming from President Barrack Obama. The temptation to give in easily for badly needed assistance is high, particularly now that the Executive has a firm grip on the Legislature by winning both the speaker post in the House of Representatives and the Pro-temp seat in the Senate, respectively.

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Morality is being undermined in our country at the highest level. It is about time that civil society organizations, chiefs, elders, religious and traditional leaders speak out and make their position known; no time to sit on the fence and watch because the future of our country is at stake.

Even the West now constraining Africa to adapt the practice had has various forms of opposition in their respective societies, sometimes which were acrimonious and defiant. Just image a gay military, a gay police force, a gay Supreme Court bench and a gay cabinet in Liberia. Where does morality and family value fit in our next generation, if we were to legalize homosexuality here? This is something that we must think about critically.

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