Ugandan Press Covers “Kill-The-Gays” MP’s Banishment From Conference

Jim Burroway

December 8th, 2010

Daily Monitor, Uganda’s largest independent newspaper, covered recent events in which M.P. David Bahati, author of the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, was denied entrance to the International Consortium of Governmental Financial Management conference being held this week in Washington, D.C.

Daily Monitor appears to blame Bahati’s banishment on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but offers no details on that assertion. In fact, the decision came from conference organizers themselves. Some LGBT activists called on the State Department to refuse Bahati a visa, but there is no evidence to suggest that the State Department has acted on that request or put pressure on the conference organizers to ban Bahati. Bahati complained to Daily Monitor that in barring his attendance, conference organizers had shown a “high level of intolerance” that is “inconsistent with American values.”

The Ugandan delegation reportedly raised their objections to Deputy Assistant of Secretary of State Bureau of African Affairs, Karl Wycoff.  There is no report on Wycoff’s response, or whether the pending legislation itself was discussed with U.S. officials. Bahati bragged to Daily Monitor, “[T]he resolve to defend the future of children and pursuit of this wonderful piece of legislation is intact.”

Daily Monitor, which is usually a reliable news outlet, slipped badly in reporting on the nature of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The paper says the bill “suggests life imprisonment for homosexuals, and in certain cases, death by hanging for those who recruit minors into the act.”  That is the propaganda that bill supporters have been spreading about the bill from the very beginning, but it is not at all accurate. The death penalty of the bill, which we have posted online numerous times, reads as follows:

3. Aggravated homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the

(a) person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of 18 years;

(b) offender is a person living with HIV;

(c) offender is a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offence is committed;

(d) offender is a person in authority over the person against whom the offence is committed;

(e) victim of the offence is a person with disability;

(f) offender is a serial offender, or

(g) offender applies, administers or causes to be used by any man or woman any drug, matter or thing with intent to stupefy overpower him or her so as to there by  enable any person to have unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex,

(2) A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death.

(3) Where a person is charged with the offence under this section, that person shall undergo a medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.

In fact, sex with minors is only one provision of the portion of the bill providing for the death penalty. Other provisions include merely being HIV-positive (with no provisions for disclosure or consent) along with a provision mandating HIV-testing to determine eligibility for the crime of “aggravated homosexuality.” The bill also mandates death for anyone who has a relationship with anyone with “a disability”, without defining what constitutes a disability and without any provisions for a consensual relationship.

Furthermore, the “serial offender” clause is likely to include just about anyone who is gay and has had more than one relationship. What’s worse, that clause can include just about anyone period, as Rob Tisinai illustrated earlier this year. It’s very disappointing to see Daily Monitor become a mouthpiece for the bill’s propagandists like this.


December 8th, 2010

Just one correction: to say that the Monitor ‘slipped badly” during the heyday of the Nazi Bahati bill is to be pedantic.

In fact, the Monitor’s implicit support of the gay cause during the troubled times of October – December 2009 proved priceless. It was the Ugandan sole paper that supported us by providing almost blanket coverage of every Neanderthal utterance from the other side, and printing helpful opinions as a counter-balance.

Jim Burroway

December 9th, 2010

Actually AfroGay, I would agree. Daily Monitor, I believe, only “slipped badly” on this story. Their coverage has been quite good throughout the crisis. For the most part, I have found their coverage to be exceptionally reliable, which is why I was so disappointed to see the dropped ball here.

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