Uganda Responds To International Furor Over “Kill Gays” Bill

Jim Burroway

December 3rd, 2009

(Update: The Daily Monitor has more details on Nsaba Buturo’s statement at the government Media Centre. See below for details)

James Nsaba Buturo, Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity, has issued a statement through the Ugandan government’s official Media Centre addressing criticisms over the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act. This is the bill that provides the death penalty for conviction of homosexuality under certain circumstances, provides a lifetime imprisonment for all other cases, and a seven year sentence for “attempted” homosexuality. It also criminalizes free speech on behalf of LGBT citizens (seven year’s imprisonment) and criminalizes all acquaintance of gay people (failure to report gays to police within 24 hours of learning someone is gay brings a three year prison sentence). Sweden announced that they intend to cut aid to Uganda should this bill go forward. Nsaba Buturo responds:

There is a Bill in Parliament known as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This subject is causing a great deal of interest around the world. The people of Uganda believe that practicing anal sex at the expense of heterosexual sex is not a normal practice. Ugandans know or believe that homosexuality involves practices that are dangerous and high risk to the human body which is designed for heterosexual functions. Ugandans also believe that anal sexual intercourse, foreign objects used in sexual intercourse and promiscuity do not deserve to be defended at all. Having said that, it is clear to many of us that the over reaction so far is not surprising to us. Uganda accepts that in some countries it is normal practice for men to sleep with men and women with women. It is often defended that imperatives of human rights defend this practice. We do not believe so in Uganda. Majority of Ugandans hate to see the promotion of illegalities that they consider as dysfunctional, abnormal and unhealthy.

Ever since the Bill on Homosexuality was presented in Parliament, there have been various reactions as well as over-reactions from countries which are annoyed at our independence to enact our Laws. Consequently, we hear they are threatening to take action against Uganda. It is revealing that support to Uganda literally translated means that it is on condition that Uganda should do the bidding of givers of such support regardless of what Ugandans themselves think. It is also revealing that support which would benefit countless number of orphans, children and mothers can be withdrawn simply because Government is protecting its citizens against vices such as homosexuality. Government has been clear about this matter that homosexuality or homosexual practices will not be promoted, encouraged and recommended to the people of Uganda.

Finally, on the issue of the Bill, those who are promising threats to the people of Uganda need to be helped to understand that the Bill is going through the normal democratic process of debate. The Bill is not the final document that will become Law. If there is belief that threats will influence Parliament to debate against the wishes of Uganda, those responsible for such threats should forget. We should all wait to see how Members of Parliament will acquit themselves over this matter.

It’s difficult to know how to read this statement. It is certainly a vigorous defense of Uganda’s willingness to do whatever they want against a reviled minority. But it also hints at changes in the proposed law. Whether that comes to pass is uncertain. But one thing we do know is this: they are certainly feeling the heat. The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on AIDS in Africa, Elizabeth Mataka, was in Kampala to attend events commemorating World AIDS Day. While there, she reportedly met on Monday with MP David Bahati, the primary sponsor of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, to voice the UN’s concerns over the bill’s effects on anti-AIDS efforts. She was also expected to meet with President Yoweri Museveni.

James Nsaba Buturo speaking at the government Media Centre (Geoffrey Sseruyange/Daily Monitor)

James Nsaba Buturo speaking at the government Media Centre (Geoffrey Sseruyange/Daily Monitor)

Update: The Daily Monitor has a story about remarks Nsabe Buturo made at the government Media Centre yesterday. In response to Sweeden’s threat to withhold aid to Uganda if the bill passes, Buturo said:

“Homosexuality will not be promoted, encouraged or supported in Uganda,” Mr Buturo added.

Mr Buturo told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala that: “We should remind them (the donors) that there is integrity to be defended and threats are not the way to go. If one chooses to withdraw their aid, they are free because Ugandans do not want to engage in  anal sex. We do not care.”

…As Mr Buturo was castigating donors, the Uganda Human Rights Commission announced that it will scrutinise the Bill and make recommendations before it is debated. Commission Chairman, Mr Med Kaggwa, said the exercise will help establish whether the Bill, which has been criticised   by some rights groups, violates human rights.

“What I can say is that we are human rights defenders and if they (gays) come and complain of discrimination we shall handle their cases,” he said without divulging details.

Buturo also complained of foreign aid doners publicly denouncing the Anti-Homosexuality Act. He believes that such complaints should be made in private.

Click here to see BTB\’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

TJMcFisty

December 3rd, 2009

Knew it! It’s always always ALWAYS about how doing it in the butt (“eww!”) is wrong (“dirty”). Always comes down to that one specific sex act assumed to be Teh Gay (male) predilection.

pee pee + butt = Satan

BobbiCW

December 3rd, 2009

I’d like to see one — just one — of the pro-gay countries offer sanctuary to anyone from Uganda who is or knows someone who is gay. That would be a truly powerful message.

Martin

December 3rd, 2009

“Practicing anal sex at the expense of heterosexual sex?” So there’s the problem – there’s only so much f-cking to go around, and if some people do it in the butt, some poor vagina will be neglected. Gotcha.

Ben in Oakland

December 3rd, 2009

anal sex anal sex anal sex hate hate hate danger danger anal sex analsex.

not to mention “dysfunctional, abnormal and unhealthy”, which pretty much sums up uganda.

werdna

December 3rd, 2009

“It is revealing that support to Uganda literally translated means that it is on condition that Uganda should do the bidding of givers of such support regardless of what Ugandans themselves think.”

Well to the extent that receiving aid is dependent on not violating the human rights of your own population, yes, there are conditions to support to Uganda. I’m pretty concerned about the loss of aid for a country with as much need and potential as Uganda, but it’s also impossible to imagine the passage of this law not drawing unpleasant consequences for the current government.

“It is also revealing that support which would benefit countless number of orphans, children and mothers can be withdrawn simply because Government is protecting its citizens against vices such as homosexuality.”

Is it just me or is this not an echo of the shameless complaints of several Catholic charities in the face of having to comply with anti-discrimination laws? “We’re helping children, and we won’t be able to do that (with your money) if we have to treat gays like human beings.”

Emproph

December 3rd, 2009

;) to werdna, that quote jumped out at me too:

It is revealing that support to Uganda literally translated means that it is on condition that Uganda should do the bidding of givers of such support regardless of what Ugandans themselves think.

Work that victimhood, yeah, work it baby! So soft and smooth and subtle, you’re practically invisible.

And now a word from our sponsor:

Karl Popper: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

Christopher Waldrop

December 3rd, 2009

Maybe I’m mistaken, but aid for Uganda is given with the intention of making life better for all Ugandan citizens. The Ugandan government, however, has decided to purposely make life worse–if not impossible–for some of its citizens. Since the aid goes to the Ugandan government first, it makes sense that countries that have been voluntarily providing that aid might decide to withhold it.

The Ugandan government may play the victim card, but the fact is that they only deserve aid if it’s going to be used to benefit everyone.

Ben in Oakland

December 3rd, 2009

not to mention widespread corrpution and a probably bloated military. Given the mess that this country is and has been for decades, i suspect that not a lot of that aid is going to go to the people who need it.

I doubt there will be all that much difference.

Jason D

December 3rd, 2009

“It is also revealing that support which would benefit countless number of orphans, children and mothers can be withdrawn simply because Government is protecting its citizens against vices such as homosexuality.”

Well, once you’ve got that whole gay problem taken care of with this law, perhaps you can finally get around to helping those orphans, children, and mothers.

Seems to me that stopping teh gay is more important to you anyway, so why should we bother?

Burr

December 3rd, 2009

Pssstt.. I know this will blow your mind, Uganda, but straight people do it in the butt (and with “foreign objects”), too.

If you want to be consistent and not a bunch of blatant liars, start instituting a death penalty for ALL anal fornicators.

Jason D

December 3rd, 2009

piggyback on Burr

-There are homosexuals who DO NOT have anal sex and or use toys. Seriously shocking, I know, but there are gays who are quite alright with oral, manual sex and lesbians who don’t want a fake penis. Straight people are often surprised when you point this out. For many of them, sex = vaginal intercourse. Penetration. Everything else is just “foreplay”. So they assume that for gays, anal sex and for lesbians, toys/strap-ons are the equivalent. My partner had a coworker who once asked “what I don’t get about gays is…women have a butt, too.” As if to say the whole thing were about anal intercourse.

Candace

December 3rd, 2009

“…foreign objects used in sexual intercourse….”

Eh?

pee pee + butt = Satan

And apparently a cucumber in the vageene is also demonic.

btw…. wasn’t Uganda practising cannibalism not long ago?

Christopher Waldrop

December 3rd, 2009

Candace, I’m not sure how long ago “not long ago” is, but the only supposed cannibalism in Uganda that I’m familiar with is Idi Amin being accused of eating parts of some of his political opponents. I wish I could find the exact quote but I read somewhere that he said he’d never eat human flesh because it was both disgusting and “too salty”. Even if it is true, though, Amin was a sociopath, and not representative of what most Ugandans would consider acceptable behavior.

Even though the anti-gay members of the Ugandan government are pretty despicable, I don’t think attributing something like cannibalism to Ugandan people is a good idea.

Moriah

December 3rd, 2009

I really don’t get why people–especially those in such a lofty place as government–feel so concerned with what consenting adults do safely in their private time. Aren’t starvation, violence, environmental degradation, and disease better concerns, especially for politicians?!

The only thing I can think of is: they’re either polluted with an intolerant religion or closet gay. Otherwise why would they go out of their way to make others miserable??

mike/

December 3rd, 2009

if this is their logic, then they need to take the next logical step – the complete and total control of ALL sexual acts by heterosexuals also.

this is what the wingers here in the U.S. are after.

could Uganda be their “proving ground” experiment?

just asking…

Burr

December 3rd, 2009

Moriah, most politicians are immoral selfish bastards. Inflaming hatred towards gays distracts people from their politicians’ failures and consolidates power. That’s all they care about.

Candace

December 3rd, 2009

Golly garsh, Christopher, I was only going by what the State Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo, accused his countrymen of just a couple of years back. And the arrest of 33 year old Sowedi Kimera on suspicion of cannibalism just this past year.

Then, there’s always this, from the Independant World Newspaper:

“Few people outside Uganda know that in the north the government is fighting a fanatical and murderous cult – the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) – whose fighting force is made up in large part of abducted children. Up to 95 per cent of the population in these areas have been forced from their homes by the war. Nearly two million Ugandans, out of a population of 24.7 million, now live in refugee camps for fear of being attacked and killed in their villages.

Children have told how they had been forced by the rebels at gunpoint to abduct and murder other children and to drink their blood. A former commander of the rebel group explained that he had forced villagers to chop up, cook and eat their neighbours before he killed them, too.

The LRA is led by the self-proclaimed prophet Joseph Kony, who says he wants Uganda to live by the laws of the Ten Commandments. He and most of his fighters are from northern Uganda’s Acholi tribe, as are most of their victims. Mr Kony says he is guided by spirits who tell him what to do and whom to kill. The UN says he may have abducted more than 20,000 children, 90 per cent of LRA fighters.”

Or reports of the Ugandan army capturing, butchering and eating pygmies in Ituri Province within the last 5 years.

Or the fact that the Ugandan Parliament is so convinced that cannibalism still exists in their country that they passed the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Bill just a few months ago.

But I’m truly glad that you are not only know more about what goes on in Uganda than Ugandans do, and took time out of your busy schedule to chide me for my untoward and uncouth remarks concerning the non-existent cannibalism in that country. Please accept my deepest thanks for correcting me for my delusions.

Mykelb

December 3rd, 2009

The countries of western civilization should pull all support and aide from Uganda and offer sanctuary for any lgbt person capable of leaving Uganda. We need a list of Ugandan exports so that we are not financially supporting the genocide that is surely to begin in Uganda.

Richard W. Fitch

December 3rd, 2009

The govt of Uganda would gladly see ALL Western/European/American influence withdrawn. The govt of China has already promised a billion$$$ in aid.

Lynn David

December 4th, 2009

And speaking of not having a law concerning abuse boys:

Mr Herman Kalule Kirumira, the area youth councillor appeared in Entebbe court early this week on charges of molesting the pupil but hearing of the case was pushed to May 4, reportedly to allow the presiding magistrate Steven Waidubba attend a workshop. The suspect has been charged with having unlawful carnal knowledge of a minor against the order of nature, an offence for which under the Ugandan law, one could face life imprisonment if convicted by court.

Who said that boy’s weren’t protected under the law? Oh yeah… Langa, Ssempa, and many others. The bill is superfluous, except to call things homosexuality which aren’t, tie it together with homosexuality, and then outlaw any advocacy. The stuff about making counselors, priests, etc. out as criminals is simply to radicialize the population further against homosexuality and help create the pogrom they haven’t yet been able to produce.

Lynn David

December 4th, 2009

The govt of Uganda would gladly see ALL Western/European/American influence withdrawn. The govt of China has already promised a billion$$$ in aid.

If that is true, Richard, then I bet we see Museveni march into the Congo again to try to takeover some of the mineral wealth there.

Donnchadh

December 4th, 2009

Candace, the comment on cannibalism was unwarranted because:
1) It is also illegal in the country, and the LRA is fought against all the time. Plenty of criticism could be made at the government’s war conduct, but it certainly does not turn a blind eye to all these crimes. The problem is that it is putting homosexuality on a par with them.
2) It feeds directly into the effort of the government to portray itself as threatened by Western imperialists. Cannibalism was the go-to accusation of savagery used to justify colonialism. It’s like accusing Jews of controlling finance.

darkmoonman

December 4th, 2009

“If one chooses to withdraw their aid, they are free because Ugandans do not want to engage in anal sex. We do not care.”

Ignoring the ignorant gay=anal-sex, we should feel no compunction over withdrawing all funds (even if the PRC promise their own) and using a portion thereof to help rescue and relocate gays who live in Uganda.

Richard W. Fitch

December 4th, 2009

@Lynn David:

Here is the article at allAfrica.com

8-November-2009
Kampala — Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has offered Africa $10b in concessional loans over the next three years along with a range of other measures aimed at strengthening African-Chinese ties.

The aid offer, announced yesterday at a China-Africa summit in Egypt, is double that unveiled by President Hu Jintao at the last summit in Beijing in 2006.

More details in full article

Lynn David

December 4th, 2009

Yeah, Richard, the Chinese are after any natural resources they can get their hands on to fuel their industry. Since the US doesn’t seem to have any industry anymore…..

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