Uganda’s Official Media Centre Publishes Article Suggesting Anti-Homosexuality Act Not Needed
December 10th, 2009
(Correction: An earlier version of this report identified the Ugandan statement’s author as Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo. We regret the error.)
UPDATE: In a discouraging development, the Uganda Media Centre has taken down Katureebe’s op-ed. It’s Google cache is here.
Columnist Obed K. Katureebe wrote an opinion piece in which he suggests that the Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act may not be needed. While Katureebe does not hold a governmental position, the fact that this piece appears on the government’s official Media Centre web site might be significant. The Media Centre acts as a “centralized location where all official government correspondence and information can be easily accessed.” In an undated article published by the Media Centre, Katureebe writes:
Hon. (David) Bahati has a strong point. However, I personally think that there is no need to have a fresh legislation on such unnatural offences. What Hon. Bahati should have emphasized is to improve the penal code just to widen the definition already existing.
According to the Penal Code Act (cap 120), any person who permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, commits an offense and is liable to imprisonment for life. There is no question about that homosexuality, long regarded as taboo (culturally and socially) in the highly-religious society of Uganda, has of recent been raising its head and profile in the field of public debate.
No longer content to remain in the closet, proponents of homosexuality and lesbianism are actively seeking to be heard. They are up against an uphill task as they are pitched not only against culture and religion but against public perception of morality.
What is required at this moment is to let all Ugandans be rational and put their views across before parliament moves to debate the contents of the bill. Calls by rights organisations that Uganda’s obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights would be undermined are uncalled for.
The bill was introduced in Uganda’s Parliament by MP David Bahati. While Bahati is a member of the ruling party, he introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Act as a private member’s bill, meaning that it was not a part of the official ruling government’s program. Observers suggested that this mechanism was used in order to provide maximum flexibility on the part of the government to respond according to reactions. That now appears to be happening. Bloomberg has already reported that Ugandan officials have moved to drop the death penalty from the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act. This statement appears to lay the groundwork for dropping the legislation altogether:
However, the country should recognise the impressionable body politic and civil society groups in developed economies of the west. With their clever portrayal of the fight against homosexuality as a human rights abuse, the attachment of the adjectives like fascist to regime may lead to policy reviews.
Which is why I call on the government to avoid the bad press. Since homosexuality is already criminalised in Uganda, one wonder whether parliament is utilising its time optimally by focusing on homosexuality when the majority of our people are suffering from hunger, lack of access to water and disease and collapsing infrastructure.
Moreover, as pointed out by the gay lobbyists, same sex marriage is not a common social practice in Uganda therefore legislating against it is redundant and is likely to attack more attention to them. Perhaps parliament should be spending its time on real issues that impact on the lives of long-suffering Ugandans.
As a country, let us also engage other remedial institutions to try and counter this vice that is slowly but steadily coming into our lives. We ought to know that homosexuality community across the world is now 10% of the world population. Since we are part of the global community how feasible would it be to kill off 10% of the population.
But just as the statement becomes encouraging, it ends with this:
As research has shown homosexuality is not a mental illness symptomatic of arrested development or that gays desires are genetic or hormonal in origin and that there is no choice involved. Homosexual behavior is learned. According to research by Dr. Cameron, no scientific research has found provable biological or genetic differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals that were not caused by their behavior. Dr. Cameron is the chairman Family Research Institute in Colorado Springs, USA.
That “researcher,” Paul Cameron, is the researcher who has been denounced and disbarred from the American Psychological Association, the Nebraska Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association, and more recently, the Eastern Psychological Association for his unethical practices, including specifically his falsification and abuse of legitimate research. Cameron’s admiration for how the Nazis dealt with homosexuality suggests that he may have no problems should Uganda decide to “kill off 10% of the population.”
Uganda’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo has been a strong proponent for the Anti-Homosexuality Act, making him the highest governmental figure advocating directly for the bill. It is unclear whether the appearance of Katureebe’s article on an official Ugandan governmental web site marks a trial baloon, the opinions of a faction within the government, or an attempt to lower the temperature of the controversy surrounding the legislation.