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Ugandan President To Pressure Anti-Gay Bill Sponsor

Jim Burroway

January 12th, 2010

There is a post up on the blog for Uganda’s The Independent newspaper indicating that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his cabinet will talk to MP David Bahati, the sponsor of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, in order “to reach a position that will leave both the local and international community satisfied.” Museveni reportedly made the announcement to members of his National Resistance Movement party.

The president\’s pronouncement attracted wild murmurs from the audience prompting him to repeat his statement. He said ever since the bill was tabled in the last quarter of last year; he has been receiving calls from various international figures including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to find out updates on the proposed law. Museveni observed that the bill is affecting Uganda\’s image abroad. He said although there\’s need to protect Uganda\’s values, it also necessary to take care of concerns of the international community.

An earlier report went out on the blog’s RSS feed suggesting that the President intends to pressure Bahati into withdrawing the bill, but that post itself was withdrawn.

The Monitor, Uganda’s largest independent newspaper, also has a similar story posted moments ago:

President Museveni says that government will hold discussions with David Bahati, the Ndorwa West Member of parliament who tabled the bill which has been labled harsh to reach an agreed position. The president made the revelation today while opening the National Executive Conference of the ruling National Resistance Movement at State House Entebbe. Mr Museveni told the delegates that despite the fact that Uganda, has to protect its values and cultures, there is need to exercise extreme caution on the anti-gay bill. He said that the anti-gay bill is already impacting negatively on Uganda\’s foreign policy.

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



January 12th, 2010 | LINK

I wish his pressure wouldn’t center around the response of the international community, as I doubt it will be all that convincing. There are far more principled arguments to make against that overreaching, tyrannical piece of legislation. It isn’t about Uganda “protecting its values and cultures” at all, and that needs to be driven home by the president and others working against it there. This isn’t about balancing two legitimate concerns. Senseless bigotry is never legitimate, and the fact is it was introduced by international pressure just as much as its opposition.

January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Mouseveni is essentially a dictator. Whatever he decides will be what happens. Bahati will do as he is told or find himself in a very difficult position. I believe that he has been doing exactly as he has been told all along. I think that Mouseveni wanted to use this law against his political opponents. Bahati’s continued advocacy for this bill is probably under orders from Mouseveni, and his eventual withdrawal or change of the bill will be under orders from Mouseveni.

We should not confuse ourselves with any silly ideas that we are dealing with some sort of Western democracy with separation of powers and that sort of thing.

Richard W. Fitch
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Here’s a comment from a Ugandan:
He has been posting for some time now on Facebook and at great risk to himself. Knowing that he speaks from the inside makes this all the more urgent.

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