Anti-Gay Bill Dominates Ugandan Christmas Messages
December 28th, 2009
A typical Christmas message goes something like this: “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.” In Uganda, goodwill toward LGBT people is very hard to come by this Christmas season. The nation’s television airwaves were saturated with Christmas messages from various pastors and denominations, and they all had one thing in common: urging for the passage of the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
This is what Christmas day looked like for one BTB reader in Uganda.
The speaker of Parliament, Edward Sekandi, had one good observation on the proposal to criminalize those who fail to report LGBT people to police within twenty-four hours:
For instance, how do you imprison a father? Do you think a father should go and tell the police that this my son is doing this and the other?
But he also denounced donor countries for their warnings against the bill. “No… I think, I think even a poor man must, you know, respect himself,” he said.
Transcript of the Christmas broadcasts.
“NTV Eleven,” on NTV; Dec. 25, 2009.
…bill now before Parliament, took center stage during the Christmas day sermon at Rubaga cathedral here in Kampala. The archbishop of Kampala Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, took a swipe at another section of the bill, that provides that a person who knows about homosexual act and fails to report it should be jailed for three years. Dr. Cyprian Lwanga said the section will make the work of catholic priests difficult, since they listen to all sorts of confessions. He also reiterated his opposition to the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality.
Tony Muwangala now begins our special Christmas coverage with that story.
The archbishop of Kampala, his grace, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Used his Christmas sermon to continue his campaign against the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill. He started off by reminding the congregation that homosexuality goes against catholic teachings. He repeated his opposition to the section of the bill, that prescribes death for those found guilty of the vice.
Archbishop Lwanga: “The introduction of the death penalty, and imprisonment (not life imprisonment) for homosexual acts, targets people rather than seeking to counsel, and to reach out in compassion to those who need support and hope.”
Speaker of parliament, Edward Sekandi: “…that, er, there is a need to put a part for counseling.”
The section that punishes anyone who has knowledge of a homosexual act and refuses to report it to the authorities also drew protest from the catholic prelate(?).
Archbishop Lwanga: “Poor priests are all going to land in Luzira (prison), because if somebody comes to confess or for counseling, you get to know that this person has this problem. So if you have not disclosed such a person, then you’ll end up in what? In punishment.”
Speaker of parliament, Edward Sekandi: “…for instance, how do you imprison a father? Do you think a father should go and tell the police that this my son is doing this and the other?”
Archbishop Lwanga also urged his congregation against cutting trees and polluting the environment, especially in this era of global warming.
“UBC Tonight,” on state-run UBC; Dec. 25, 2009.
On homosexuality, the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Sekandi says, he has received a lot of reactions from the donor community, threatening to withhold its aid.
Speaker of Parliament, Edward Sekandi: “This is blackmail. To say, ‘if you pass it, we’re not going to give you…’ No… I think, I think even a poor man must, you know, respect himself. Because we are poor, therefore we should just give away our our customs and culture? No… homose..”
He however, assures Ugandans that parliament will debate the bill objectively.
Reporting for UBC News, I’m Jane Anyango.
“UBC Tonight,” on state-run UBC; Dec. 25, 2009.
With Ugandan legislators battling to enforce the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the Catholic church has, on the occasion to celebrate Christmas, chosen to explain its stand on this controversial issue. Our reported attended Christmas mass at Christ the King Church in Kampala.
Despite the early morning chilly weather, hundreds gathered for the 7am mass at Christ the King Church. The main celebrant, Father John Bosco Sendagala advised on polygamy and called for continued spirituality. But most importantly, he underlined the church’s position on the issue of homosexuality.
Fr. John Bosco Ssendagala: “As Christians celebrating the birth of Christ, we cannot in any way advocate homosexuality because it is against the origin and the destiny of man.”
He was, however, quick to add that much as they prohibit the act of homosexuality, the clause of punishment with death should be amended.
Fr. John Bosco Ssendagala: “As Christians we believe in the promotion of life. That we look at homosexuality as one of the evils, but punishing it with death penalty, I think it is unfair. That would be going against the teaching of Christ who came to restore man.”
The Anti-Gay Bill was tabled by Ndorwa County West member of Parliament, David Bahati.
The faithful UBC talked to, opted to focus on Christmas festivities: “Well, my message to the Christians is that they should have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior.
Merry Christmas! John Barnes Ssentamu, UBC News.
“Prime News Live,” on WBS; Dec. 25, 2009.
…archdiocese, Wilberforce Luwalira, while addressing thousands of Christians who turned up to celebrate the birth of Christ said, that the church will not sit back and watch the vice of homosexuality eat up the population. Timothy Sibasi attended his service, and now reports.
Christmas prayers this time round at Namirembe Cathedral were attended by the Nabagereka (queen) of Buganda Sylvia Nagginda, ministers from Buganda kingdom, members of the royal family, and the prime minister of Uganda, professor Apollo Nsibambi among others.
In his first Christmas sermon, the Rt Rev. Wilberforce Luwalira Kityo, while responding to the homosexuality vice currently raising controversies between political leaders, donor agencies, human rights defenders and religious leaders, said that the church will not accept the vice to erode the culture of Ugandans.
[Luwalira preaches against homosexuality/homosexuals from the pulpit in the Luganda language.]
Orthodox Bishop, Jonah Lwanga: “First, we support the need for a law that prohibits homosexual practices, including same sex marriage, which we are aware, is prohibited under our constitution.”
Pastor Elijah Sebuchu: “People are afraid. They are wondering how 2011 (elections) will be. Prosper…er… pros… prospective candidates and voters are afraid. They are afraid of the outcome of 2011. People are afraid of the poverty, the abject poverty we have in Uganda.
Bishop Luwalira said Uganda has gone through political turmoil since independence, but maintained that if Uganda is to stabilize politically, it must acquire leaders who will not annoy the people, by making false promises. He also decried the human sacrifice activities, which he says have claimed the lives of many vulnerable children and teenagers.
Timothy Sibasi, WBS Television, Namirembe Cathedral.
“TOP News,” on Tower of Praise TV; Dec. 26, 2009.
Pastor Elijah Sebuchu: “Definitely, I want to call upon the president, and his cabinet, all the MP’s for sure, not to be threatened, because homosexuality is not biblical. It’s not in the bible, and the people who get involved in homosexuality definitely will be judged by God. This is inhuman practice. This is unhuman practice… inhuman practice. So, number one, homosexuality is sin! At the same time, I don’t encourage the government to imprison people who involved in homosexuality, because that’s not the solution. The solution to homosexuality is the word of God. I want to appeal to the fellow Ugandans, the pastors especially, to counsel the people out of homosexuality, to help young men and women out of homosexuality. The solution is not to imprison them. When you kill people who get involved in homosexuality, you have not given them an opportunity to repent.”
In a related development, the pastor of Bible Revelation Church in Bweyogerere, Isaak Makumbi Zake said that the homosexuality in its current form is not going to solve the problem of anti-homose… of homosexuality, “Uganda is a country, which has a motto which says, ‘For God and my country’. We have existed, without those foreign powers. So, we have never seen a male goat ‘chasing’ a male goat, and we have never seen a chicken following a female chicken for reproduction and what have you? So my take is, anybody who is supporting gayism, that person is anti-God and goes against our motto which says, ‘For God and my country’. I for one, I stand against the gay bill, and i say no to to homosexuality and no to lesbianism, and any kind of sexual promiscuity.”
The anti-homosexuality bill, was introduced by the member of parliament for Ndorwa West, David Bahati, with the intention of curbing the practice of homosexuality. The bill has since then faced resistance from donors, religious leaders, and those who are engaged in the practice. The anti-homosexuality bill, has clauses which subject the offenders to life imprisonment and death. And those who fail to report this matter to authorities are jailed. The story was compiled by Isaak Ssenabulya.