Uganda’s Parliament Speaker Promises to Revive Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Jim Burroway

October 31st, 2012

Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga returned home to Entebbe Airport to a hero’s welcome after attending a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Quebec, Canada. The rally at Entebbe’s airport was organized by religious leaders, former Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo, and  Anti-Homosexuality Bill sponsor M.P. David Bahati. She told supporters and the press that she would instruct the chair of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee “to quickly bring the report on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill” to the House floor for a vote.

Kadaga was also defiant in the face of threats by several foreign governments to withhold aid and visas if the bill passes. “If the price of aid is going to be the promotion of homosexuality in this country,” she told supporters, “I think we don’t want that aid.”

Kadega made those remarks in response to criticisms by Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird over Uganda’s proposal to execute gay people and for its refusal to protect LGBT people in the country. As Uganda’s independent Daily Monitor reported last Thursday:

She told IPU organisers that she was not aware that the assembly had been summoned to promote gay rights.
Earlier, at the inaugural plenary on Monday, Mr Baird had demonised Uganda on allegations of persecuting sexual minorities. The Foreign Minister referred to the specific incident of gay-rights activist David Kato, who was bludgeoned to death in January 2011.

Responding to the unprovoked Baird attack, Ms Kadaga said: “When we came for this Assembly, to which we were invited, we expected respect for our sovereignty, our values and our country … “I, therefore, on behalf of the Ugandan delegation, and, indeed, the people of Uganda, protest in the strongest terms the arrogance exhibited by the Foreign Minister of Canada, who spent most of his time attacking Uganda and promoting homosexuality.”

…For that matter, Ms Kadaga said: “If homosexuality is a value for the people of Canada they should not seek to force Uganda to embrace it. We are not a colony or a protectorate of Canada. The subject under discussion is ‘Citizenship, Identity and Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in a Globalised World’, please stick to it.”

No Ugandan politician has ever lost anything by resorting to appeals to Uganda’s sovereignty. Until just fifty years ago, Uganda was a British colony subject to the whims of a (white) government on a different continent and more than four thousand miles away. Uganda recently celebrated is fiftieth anniversary this past summer. On Friday, Daily Monitor reported that Kadaga’s comments were receiving considerable support from among its readers:

By press time, Ms Kadaga’s retort carried in the Daily Monitor yesterday had attracted numerous comments on this newspaper’s web site with most of them applauding her for defending the culture, values and norms of Ugandans from “Western cultural perversion”.

In one of the comments, an online reader writes: “Hahaha!! I have read so many of these forums but trust me, I have never seen so many comments yet all speaking with a single voice! Kudos Ugandans, I am proud of all of ya (sic). It means all is not lost of our society.”

The incident in Quebec also elicited this comment from the government:

Weighing in on the diplomatic spat, State minister for International Relations Henry Okello Oryem said the position of government is that sodomy is a crime and that Uganda does not persecute sexual minorities. “We have no business with the people who are behind closed doors but those who flaunt sexual activities in public will be dealt with,” Mr Oryem said.

Mr Okello Oryem observed that in Britain – Uganda’s former colonial master – the law books described “sodomy as a crime long before Uganda even got its independence”.

Ugandan police have routinely shut down conferences in which human rights for gay people were a topic of conversation, including a workshop in Entebbe in February and another conference in June. Speaker Kadaga promised then that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be taken up in the next session of Parliament. The Second Session of Parliament has been meeting since August.

In September, British national David Cecil was arrested and charged with “disobeying lawful orders” when he staged a pro-gay play at a small theater in a Kampala suburb after the Media Centre refused to allow him to mount the production at the National Theatre. Cecil was released on bail pending trial, where he faces the possibility of two years in prison.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was reintroduced into Parliament last February and referred to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for possible modifications. When the same committee considered the bill in May of 2011, the committee recommended a sly change to the bill, removing the explicit language of “suffer(ing) death,” and replacing it with a reference to the penalties provided in an unrelated already existing law. That law however specifies the death penalty. Which means that the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee actually recommended that the death penalty be retained through stealth while the bill’s supporters publicly stated that the penalty had been removed. The previous Eighth Parliament expired before the house could vote on the committee’s recommendations. After the Ninth Parliament convened, the original language of the bill, including its death penalty, was reintroduced and referred back to the same committee.

leonardo Ricardo

October 31st, 2012

Ah! I get it. Now Speaker Kadaga is going to PROVE her point (and show them that question Ugandas brutaility and ignorance directed against LGBT citizens)…you see, it’s become all about HER and their desire, and democratic right, to be evil to, discriminate against and engender fear and hate against fellow human beings…it this case Ugandan human beings. The speaker, the First Lady, the President and of course the corrupt former ¨ethics¨ minister will go to any length to instigate her spite (of course she was challenged in a international forum by more wholesome delegates who believe, and legislate, for human rights/equality. (I notice the above photo, MP David ¨kill all the Gays¨ Bathati lurking in the backgroundl portraying the gruesome monster and tainted soul that he IS (just in time for Holloween).

Hue-Man

October 31st, 2012

“If the price of aid is going to be the promotion of homosexuality in this country,” she told supporters, “I think we don’t want that aid.”

What a ridiculous statement! There is no “promotion” of homosexuality in Canada – no “gay is great ads” on TV, radio, newspapers, internet, no “gays only apply” job descriptions, no Minister of Homosexuality. Baird didn’t ask Uganda to do gay promotion – he asked that they stop persecuting LGBT people.

[Baird being a high profile glass-closeted gay man probably made the Ugandan attack more vicious.]

JohnAGJ

November 1st, 2012

Ok then: no aid and no visas, with economic sanctions to follow. Uganda is indeed sovereign, but so are all of its foreign stats aid donors and trading partners.

Henry

November 2nd, 2012

Guys
The issue of homos in Uganda is that a lot of money from the west in pumped in to promote homosexuality mainly in single schools. Am a Ugandan and i know this, i even know the promoters. So please understand that no single society can be intimidated by pulling out aid so that they can accept demands. We Ugandans are proud of our culture and nobody can change that. (Period).

Mukasa Simon

November 2nd, 2012

Dear Canadians
who told you that Uganda is developing because of Canadian aid? Canada thank you for the aid, Keep your aid if it comes with homoes, but also remember that Ugandans cannot dance on your tunes more so on the issue of homoes. Please note that nobody has killed any homo in Uganda and nobody even intends to do so. It’s the western press that is full of homoes like you, who go around demonizing Uganda, that the kill homoes. The issue of Kato whom the west claim was killed by Ugandan Govt is such a lie. Ask your diplomats, they will tell you the truth. All western Diplomats attended the funeral and they have been attending all the court hearing where the person who killed him was a fellow homo, when Kato refused to pay for the services. This killer was sentence to life imprisonment. The point here is to stop those homo promoters from the west to pump money in the young generation Uganda. This is to stop, with or without Canadian aid

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