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Conflicting Reports Emerge About U.S. Sanctions Against Uganda

Jim Burroway

November 23rd, 2012

WBS Television in Uganda posted this YouTube report titled, “USA slaps travel ban on Speaker Kadaga over Anti-Gay Bill.” The report itself doesn’t address the travel ban, but a statement posted on the Parliament’s web site denies receiving any communication from the U.S. Mission in Kampala about any travel bans. Instead of describing specific sanctions, the WBS report merely speaks of unspecified sanctions “threatening the country and individuals.” M.P. Stephen Tashobya, who chairs the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee charged with holding hearings on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, says that some members of Parliament have received letters threatening sanctions.

As the demand for the anti-gay bill gains pace in the country, it appears the Western world is putting a fierce energy in ensuring that the anti-gay bill does not find its way into the law books of the country. U.S. President Barack Obama has reportedly expressed his discomfort with the proposal to criminalize homosexuality and lesbianism, threatening the country and individuals behind the move with grave sanctions.

“…To have had, I think, from two members of Parliament that they have received a letter from an assistant from the President of the U.S. expressing concern about the passing of the bill.”

(Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Chairman Stephen) Tashobya however says that as the committee starts to scrutinize the proposals, it will collect views of both local and international stakeholders.

“First of all, any person anywhere in the world has the right to come in to give his views about this bill which is before Parliament.”

Same-sex practices are unpopular in the African context, but are considered a human right by activists in the West. The letter comes a few weeks after Speaker Rebecca Kadaga pledged to deliver the bill as a Christmas package to Ugandans.

Warren Throckmorton says that the State Department has denied that Obama has threatened sanctions.

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