December 9th, 2010
Ugandan M.P. David Bahati, the author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill who traveled to the United States to attend a conference only to find himself banned from the conference’s premises, appeared on Rachel Maddow’s program last night. Here is part one of that interview:
Bahati alleges that the provisions of the bill calling for the death penalty were implemented “to protect the children,” and claims that it was modeled from Uganda’s law against child sexual abuse. However, as we have pointed out many times before, the death penalty provision in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill goes way beyond “protecting children,” and is so broadly written that it can include just about anyone. For comparison purposes, here is the text of Section 129(3) and (4) of the Penal Code, as amended in 2007 (Act No. 8 of 2007):
Any person who performs a sexual act with another person who is below the age of eighteen years in any of the circumstances specified in subsection (4) commits a felony called aggravated defilement and is, on conviction by the High Court, liable to suffer death.
The circumstances referred to in subsection (3) are as follows-
(a) where the person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of fourteen years;
(b) where the offender is infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV);
(c) Where the offender is a parent or guardian of or a person in authority over, the person against whom the offence is committed;
(d) where the victim of the offence is a person with a disability; or,
(e) where the offender is a serial offender.
The comparable section of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 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.
Bahati and others had previously claimed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was aimed at closing a “loophole” in Ugandan law, which they claim does not cover same-sex sexual abuse, but as you can see, the current law is already written in a gender-neutral way which includes same-sex as well as opposite-sex abuse. The proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill also does not allow for consideration of consent, which is especially important in cases where the “offender” is HIV-positive or has a relationship with someone with a disability (a term which remains undefined in the proposed legislation).
In part two, Bahati commends the editors of the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone (no relation to the U.S. magazine by the same name) for publishing the photos of allegedly gay Ugandans, saying that he would hope that in the future, the police would use articles like these to hunt down gay people. He also called homosexuality a sin and said, “the wages of sin is death.”
Laura Conaway, one of the producers for Rachel Maddow, wrote on Maddow’s blog:
To me, one of the most amazing things about that conversation is that it’s able to happen at all — that Mr. Bahati’s able to say to her, “I think the bottom line, Rachel, is to make sure that we protect the children,” and she can say to him, “I think the international community is trying to decide whether or not Uganda is going to become an international pariah, a rogue state, excluded from the community of nations because you’re singling out a minority among your population for treatment that frankly is not the direction that the rest of the world is going.” They can say those things to each other and then keep talking. It’s amazing.
More of the interview will appear tonight.
Update: Afrogay reacts to Bahati’s incredible claim that US$15 million has been shipped to Uganda to oppose the bill and “recruit children into the practice” of homosexuality:
$15m?!! For those who can’t be bothered to put things in perspective, $15m is equivalent to 43,500,000,000 (forty three billion, five hundred million shilling) in Uganda’s money today.
The only viable referral hospital in Uganda, Mulago Hospital, which caters for the entire population of 33 million people asked for $4.8m in 2007 from the government for essential upgrades and they failed to get it.Why? The government of Uganda said that it didn’t have this money. As you can see, $15m in Uganda would be enough to refurbish a hospital that caters for 33 million people 3.5 times over. In fact $15m is more money than is allocated to entire ministries in Uganda annually.
And Bahati really wants anyone to believe that pro-gay groups have sent that kind of money to 10 or 15 people who represent perhaps 500,000 gay men and women in Uganda?
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