EYEGAMBIA

EYING GAMBIA, AFRICA & BEYOND.

Gambia: Man arrested for incest. What is the moral limitation as it relates to sexual right?

The Pandora Box On LGBTQ In The Gambia, What Moral Ground Would Be There To Stop Incest?

Recently, there has been national discussion on LGBTQ issues in The Gambia, and although 98 percent of Gambians made it clear that it is a non-issue, there is no need for such debate. The Gambia has a very strong afro-centric cultural values mixed with religious beliefs. The issue of same-sex or transgender is still a taboo and majority of Gambians think giving-in to western pressure to legalize it will be an unimaginable submission to cultural imperialism.

However, amid the recent LGBTQ public debate, another phenomenon in the clandestine sexual circle surfaced as police arrested a man who allegedly engaged in a carnal relationship with his biological daughter. The accused is in police custody and is likely to face incestuous charges under The Gambian Unnatural Sexual Act. The same statute criminalizes the practices of LGBTQ related sexual activities in the country.

According to Kerr Fatou, a local news network, the victim in the said incident is a teenager, the oldest among the accused’s offspring. The police are still in the process of establishing Medical reports. If evidence suffices, he is expected to be charged with both rape and incest.

Incest, like many other social vices, is happening in The Gambia. Still, it remains highly veiled mainly to avoid the humiliation of the victim’s family and potential criminal charges. This is mostly the case, even if it involves consenting adults.

Like the LGBT community, advocates for Genetic Sexual Attraction are gaining attention around the world, with many now questioning the fate of individuals practicing Genetic Sexual Attraction, noting that the law in The Gambia defines marriage as only between two consenting adults?

Genetic Sexual Attraction is feeling sexual, emotional, romantic feeling, and love between close blood relatives. Those who advocate for the group argue that the said attraction has some scientific relevance and is not just by choice. Similar to incest, GSA individuals are relatives separated as children and reunited later as adults. The reunion often sparked some inexplicably emotional connection to the extent that others will decide to sexualize it. GSA is a growing group in some western societies as they also argue that the law shouldn’t limit their choice to love and be whoever they want to be with.

Genetic Sexual Attraction is often rebuffed, especially in The Gambia, on the basis that a child born from such a type of relationship is very likely to be deformed. In Germany, two siblings were banned by law from engaging in such a relationship due to the possibility of child deformity, but their attorney argued that the law is biased. According to the lawyer, denying the couples from living together based on child deformity means that the government should also apply the same law to people with genetic illness as they also have a high probability of passing the disease to their unborn children. Another argument for the GSA is the marriage of such nature with no intention for procreation. In the latter instances, the evidence of deformity is to be void.

 Fighting Unwanted Feelings

Many people practicing same-sex usually argue that they cannot control who they love or have sexual attraction towards and unsurprisingly, members of GSA also rely on this argument. It is believed that being attracted to someone who looks like them or possesses the same mentality, irrespective of gender or blood relationship is real. There is no doubt that what deters people from acting on certain unconventional feelings is the issue of cultural norms and moral values of a society they belong to. As the debate intensives, already in the United States, for example, it is legal to practice incest in the state of New Jersey even though it remains illegal in the majority of the states.

 Who Ticks The Human Right Box?

Who owns the legal mandate and the moral wand to decide what is to be ticked as a human rights and what is not? The Westerners with their inadequacies or who?

The above question is fundamental in examining the role of Africa in the internationalization of and application of human values and principles. Human rights advocates in the continent, especially those of African origin, should re-examine their stances, objectives, and approaches in the promotion of so-called human rights.

Indeed, it baffles one’s minds as to why the so-called western-educated African human rights advocates and social scientists never come up with theorists that could generally satisfy the general intent of “human rights” without degenerating African cultural values, norms, and customs. The total reliance on Western theories, which usually are merely packaged under the human right seals to be sold to Africans. The need to interrogate the worth of African philosophies and best practices that embody all potentials to free the continent from Western dictates or influence, cannot be overemphasis.

The same arguments above are true of the stand of African advocates on the so-called rights of the LGBT. For instances, when we open the Pandora box on LGBTQ what moral background or values could we use to deter others from practicing incest or GSA since they can also use the popular argument such as ‘Love is Love’, ‘We just want to be happy’, ‘we can’t help it’?

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