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Ugandan Psychologist: Museveni’s Party Caucus “Left Out Vital Facts In Our Report”

Jim Burroway

February 22nd, 2014

It’s fair to say that the  “Scientific Statement on Homosexuality” written by members of the Ugandan Ministry of Health and Makerere University leaves a lot to be desired, leaving out as it does so much of the research on research on the biological origins of homosexuality. There are a lot of points in the report that can be criticized, but beyond that it’s also important to notice that the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) press release on the report differs from the report itself in very significant ways.

Peter Mwesige, of the African Centre for Media Excellence, an African journalism watchdog, digs into those differences and concludes that the NRM press release distorts the statement’s conclusions that in saying “Homosexuality is not a disease but merely an abnormal behavior which may be learned through experiences in life,” when the statement itself says “homosexuality is not an abnormality.” Mwesige  points to those differences and admonishes journalists for not publicizing the discrepancies:

Regardless of where they stand on the gay debate, journalists still have a responsibility to subject statements from the President and other political leaders to scrutiny and to seek out the opinion of people who are knowledgeable about such complex issues, in this case the scientists whose advice the President and his party purport to have relied on in reaching a key decision on the anti-gay bill.

Dr. Paul Bangirana (Makerere University College of Health Sciences)

One of the experts is my friend Paul Bangirana (Ph.D.), a clinical psychologist who was part of the team of scientists that authored the report on homosexuality.

He told me in a phone interview that he was “personally disappointed by the Caucus. We didn’t say homosexuality is an abnormality. We categorically state it is NOT an abnormality. We also report that there [may be] a biological basis for the behaviour but there is no conclusive link as of now. They left out some vital facts in our report.”

Dr Bangirana said he can understand if some of the media reports were filed by journalists who didn’t have the report of the scientists. “But if they had the report, they have a responsibility to inform the nation based on factual reporting.”

And [balanced] factual or accurate reporting would also include journalists not ignoring the human rights-based argument that the gay community invokes in defending their sexuality.

[Hat tip: Warren Throckmorton]

Comments

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Tom Chicago
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

The tendency to cherry-pick source material is apparently a neurotic urge shared by Ugandan politicos and certain Christian sects. Both camps tend to ignore inconvenient data, whether it is in found in scholarly research or in their “Scripture”.

Merv
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

I’m sure it was just an innocent mistake.

Fred Kwint
February 23rd, 2014 | LINK

How come I am not surprised. If the consulted scientists were genuine, no way the real outcome could have been what is was now. They would make themselves the laughing stock of the entire scientific community.

Hunter
February 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Big surprise — a group with an anti-gay agenda lied about a study on homosexuality. Good for Mwesige for reporting that little fact. It would be nice if this blew up in the NRM’s collective face, but too many people want to believe their distortions.

Sam R
February 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Looks like Museveni’s own people have seen through him. This article is from a UK newspaper website, but the journalist is a home based Ugandan. http://gu.com/p/3nxz4

Sam R
February 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I am not going to give the report a free pass, though. My problem is not so much with what was left out of the report, as by some of the stuff that is in it. Such as this bit just before the conclusion: ‘African cultures had contained sexual vices. May be we need to revisit them to
contain the present explosion of overt and coercive homosexual activity with the exploitation of our young children.’

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