Allow me to express my views regarding gender issues, especially empowerment and emancipation of women which has dominated the media in recent times.
My view is that perhaps we need to go back to the drawing board to address the methods that have been used to achieve the desired goal. I think the present approach violates indigenous and religious values of men and women and causing sufferings, constant legal battles and social divisions.
It is mainly responsible for gender related crimes today. Feminism is an epidemic which is destroying family fabrics and abortions are consequences of it. Gender-based violence generally stems from this ideology.
The mindset of most men considers ‘gender’ activities as favouring women. Women are taught to resist men. We do not choose gender, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). Man is the head of the family by divine arrangement. In Christianity, to which 85 per cent of Ugandans profess, within the family community, the man is supposed to play his role as husband and father. In his wife, he fulfils God’s intention, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him,” thus making Adam the first husband and head.
Adam then jubilates, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2: 23). When Christ came He told the Pharisees that man may not put away his wife under any circumstance; he cannot remarry (Mt 19: 1-12). St Ambrose in his writings (Familiaris Consortio 25), he said, “You are not her master, but her husband; she was not given to you to be your slave, but your wife… show her a charity that is both gentle and strong like that which Christ has for the Church.”
The role of the father in the family is of unique and importance, for the absence of it causes psychological and moral imbalance and difficulties in family relationships. The quality of a family is determined by relationship between man and wife and requires perseverance.
Joseph, the husband of Mary, acting as a father and head of family took her into his house, protected her and the child on the flight to Egypt and brought them home to Nazareth. Men should be taught to emulate Joseph: he was a model spouse, a protective parent, and a worker.
We are a Christian country by numbers, why is it that our laws and policies are devoid of Christian values? Because of this great omission, Ugandans are losing on Christian values.
My view is that little will be achieved by ignoring emancipation of men who are husbands and heads of families. Even in civil governance, we target leaders for courses in leadership in society. A family is a primary unit of society and its head deserves training.
Last week, Dokolo Women MP Cecilia Ogwal in response to a wife beating story which appeared in the media said, “Today woman is more informed and independent such that rural women are able to make their own money and look after children while men are busy taking alcohol.”
There is no independence in marriage where each one does his or her own things – because they are no longer two but one (Mt 19:1-12).
Marriage is a union of inter-dependence. This kind of comment pushes men on the wall and that is why marriages have failed. I met a street boy of about 10 years old who told me that his mother re-married and does not know his father. He was sniffing petrol from a plastic bottle.
We are sitting on a time bomb. Husband and wife must share the duty of training children in the knowledge of their faith and their love of God. My view is that these very men taking alcohol and drugs, most likely because of frustration, need to be helped and this gender policy should shift to men because of their responsibilities as heads of families.
But alas, there are donor forces, well organised and powerfully financed introducing individualism and hedonism, which are foreign to our society. They use appealing words such as liberty, equality, rights, autonomy and development. They would take motherhood and marriage between man and woman as being “discriminatory stereotype”.
This gender programme is affecting the African and religious family fabrics and should be addressed.
The writer is a concerned citizen
Mr Tabaire returns next week