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New Zealand Herald looks at gay scapegoating by African leaders

Timothy Kincaid

January 10th, 2010

Life is becoming dangerous in Kampala for Dr. Paul Semugoma (NZHerald.com)

“They are saying that I’m the ‘gay tycoon’, spreading the infectious disease of homosexuality in Uganda,” he says with a bitter laugh. “It’s such nonsense.”

In reality, he is a respected doctor who has volunteered his time to help with HIV and safe sex education programmes and writes a weekly medical advice column for a popular newspaper.

But in the last month he has been publicly outed as a homosexual four times with government officials offering money to anyone willing to inform on his private life.

December 30, 2009 edition of the Red Pepper (Click to enlarge)

December 30, 2009 edition of the Red Pepper (Click to enlarge)

Dr. Semugoma had been named in Uganda’s notorious tabloid Red Pepper as one of the “city tycoons who bankroll Ugandan homos.” Although Box Turtle Bulletin has focused a good deal on the situation in Uganda over the last year, the proposal to execute gays or imprison them for life is but the most drastic measure in a continent-wide effort by politicians to blame their nations’ ills on the “Western import” of homosexuality.

Writing for the New Zealand Herald, Daniel Howden provides a picture of a picture of Africa that is disconcerting. In addition to Uganda and the Milawi couple being held without bail,

“Sodomy laws”, legislation criminalising same-sex intercourse, are under consideration in new commonwealth member Rwanda and in neighbouring Burundi.

In Nigeria, a bill awaiting legislative action would impose criminal penalties for engaging in or performing same sex marriage ceremonies.

In Senegal, nine men, including a prominent HIV prevention worker, were sentenced to eight years in prison last year for “engaging in acts against the order of nature”.

Their sentences were commuted to a fine and they were finally released three months later after an international outcry.

The current anti-homosexual crackdown is drawing worldwide attention, but 38 out of 53 African countries had already criminalised consensual gay sex.

And in many cases, sodomy laws had remained on the books from the colonial era.

In many ways the Western world is only just beginning to realize the extent to which homophobia and homohatred has become instilled in African cultures. And it is just now beginning to see the danger of western missionaries stirring the fires of bigotry into conflagrations that they cannot control.

Let’s hope that with increased knowledge will come increased responsibility. Sadly, so far, those who have been most guilty have shown no desire to accept or acknowledge their responsibility.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of the past year’s anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Comments

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Lindsay
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

This is sad. LGBTI persons should be left alone.

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