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Posts for February, 2014

Museveni’s Full Speech At the Anti-Homosexuality Bill’s Signing Ceremony

Jim Burroway

February 24th, 2014

Daily Monitor just published it moments ago:

It seems the topic of homosexuals was provoked by the arrogant and careless Western groups that are fond of coming into our schools and recruiting young children into homosexuality and lesbianism, just as they carelessly handle other issues concerning Africa.

Initially, I did not pay much attention to it because I was busy with the immediate issues of defense, security, electricity, the roads, the railways, factories, modernization of agriculture, etc.

When, eventually, I concentrated my mind on it, I distilled three problems:

1. those who were promoting homo-sexuality and recruiting normal people into it;

2. as a consequence of No. 1 above, many of those recruited were doing so for mercenary
reasons – to get money – in effect homosexual prostitutes; these mercenary homosexual prostitutes had to be punished;

3. Homosexuals exhibiting themselves; Africans are flabbergasted by exhibitionism of sexual acts – whether heterosexual or otherwise and for good reason. Why do you exhibit your sexual conduct? Are you short of opportunity for privacy – where you can kiss, fondle (kukirigiita, kwagaaga) etc.?

Are we interested in seeing your sexual acts – we the Public? I am not able to understand the logic of the Western Culture. However, we Africans always keep our opinions to ourselves and never seek to impose our point of view on the others. If only they could let us alone.

It was my view that the above three should be punished harshly in order to defend our society from disorientation. Therefore, on these three I was in total accord with the MPs and other Ugandans. I had, however, a problem with Category 4 or what I thought was category 4 – those “born” homosexual.

I thought there were such people – those who are either genetic or congenital homosexuals. The reason I thought so was because I could not understand why a man could fail to be attracted to the beauties of a woman and, instead, be attracted to a fellow man. It meant, according to me, that there was something wrong with that man – he was born a homosexual – abnormal.

I, therefore, thought that it would be wrong to punish somebody because of how he was created, disgusting though it may be to us. That is why I refused to sign the Bill. In order to get to the truth, we involved Uganda Scientists as well as consulting Scientists from outside Uganda.

My question to them was: “Are there people that are homosexual right from birth?”. After exhaustive studies, it has been found that homosexuality is in two categories: there are those who engage in homosexuality for mercenary reasons on account of the under – developed sectors of our economy that cause people to remain in poverty, the great opportunities that abound not withstanding; and then there are those that become homosexual by both nature (genetic) and nurture (up-bringing).

The studies that were done on identical twins in Sweden showed that 34% – 39% were homosexual on account of nature and 66% were homosexual on account of nurture.

Therefore, even in those studies, nurture was more significant than nature. Can somebody be homosexual purely by nature without nurture? The answer is: “No”. No study has shown that. Since nurture is the main cause of homosexuality, then society can do something about it to discourage the trends. That is why I have agreed to sign the Bill.

Since Western societies do not appreciate politeness, let me take this opportunity to warn our people publicly about the wrong practices indulged in and promoted by some of the outsiders.

One of them is “oral sex”. Our youth should reject this because God designed the human being most appropriately for pleasurable, sustainable and healthy sex. Some of the traditional styles are very pleasurable and healthy. The mouth is not engineered for that purpose except kissing. Besides, it is very unhealthy. People can even contract gonorrhea of the mouth and throat on account of so-called “oral sex”, not to mention worms, hepatitis E, etc.

The Ministry of Gender and Youth should de-campaign this buyayism imported from outside and sensitize the youth about the healthy life style that is abundant in our cultures.

We reject the notion that somebody can be homosexual by choice; that a man can choose to love a fellow man; that sexual orientation is a matter of choice. Since my original thesis that there may be people who are born homosexual has been disproved by science, then the homosexuals have lost the argument in Uganda.

They should rehabilitate themselves and society should assist them to do so.

Ugandan LGBT Activists React

Jim Burroway

February 24th, 2014

Frank Mugisha is the executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda:

Pepe Julian Onziema changed his Twitter name to IAMGoingNowhere:

Kasha Jacqueline heads Freedom and Roam Uganda:

Official Text: The Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014

Jim Burroway

February 24th, 2014

The Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 (PDF: 21KB/11 pages. Click to download)

Here is the full text of the Anti-Homosexuality Act that was signed into law earlier today:

THE ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY ACT, 2014.
_________

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS.

PART I—PRELIMINARY.

Section

1. Interpretation.

PART II—PROHIBITION OF HOMOSEXUALITY.

2. The offence of homosexuality.
3. Aggravated homosexuality.
4. Attempt to commit homosexuality.
5. Protection, assistance and payment of compensation to victims of homosexuality.
6. Confidentiality.

PART III—RELATED OFFENCES AND PENALTIES.

7. Aiding and abetting homosexuality.
8. Conspiracy to engage in homosexuality.
9. Procuring homosexuality by threats, etc.
10. Detention with intent to commit homosexuality.
11. Brothels.
12. Same sex marriage.
13. Promotion of homosexuality.

PART IV—MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS.

14. Extradition.
15. Regulations.

Schedule

Currency point.

THE ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY ACT, 2014.

An Act to prohibit any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex; prohibit the promotion or recognition of such relations and to provide for other related matters.

DATE OF ASSENT:

Date of Commencement:

BE IT ENACTED by Parliament as follows:

PART I—PRELIMINARY.

1. Interpretation.

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

“authority” means having power and control over other people because of your knowledge and official position; and shall include a person who exercises religious, political, economic or social authority;

“child” means a person below the age of eighteen years;

“court” means a chief magistrates court;

“currency point” has the value assigned to it in the Schedule to this Act;

“disability” means a substantial limitation of daily life activities caused by physical, mental or sensory impairment and environment barriers resulting in limited participation;

“felony” means an offence which is declared by law to be a felony or if not declared to be a misdemeanor is punishable without proof of previous conviction, with death or with imprisonment for three years or more;

“HIV” means the Human Immunodeficiency Virus;

“homosexual’’ means a person who engages or attempts to engage in same gender sexual activity;

“homosexuality” means same gender or same sex sexual acts;

“Minister’’ means the Minister responsible for ethics and integrity;

“misdemeanor” means any offence which is not a felony;

“serial offender” means a person who has previous convictions of the offence of homosexuality or related offences;

“sexual act” includes—

(a) physical sexual activity that does not necessarily culminate in intercourse and may include the touching of another’s breast, vagina, penis or anus;

(b) stimulation or penetration of a vagina or mouth or anus or any part of the body of any person, however slight by a sexual organ;

(c) the unlawful use of any object or organ by a person on another person’s sexual organ or anus or mouth; “sexual organ’’ means a vagina, penis or any artificial sexual contraption;

“touching” includes touching—

(a) with any part of the body;

(b) with anything else;

(c) through anything;

and in particular includes touching amounting to penetration of any sexual organ, anus or mouth.

“victim” includes a person who is involved in homosexual activities against his or her will.

PART II—HOMOSEXUALITY AND RELATED PRACTICES.

2. The offence of homosexuality.

(1) A person commits the offence of homosexuality if—

(a) he penetrates the anus or mouth of another person of the same sex with his penis or any other sexual contraption;

(b) he or she uses any object or sexual contraption to penetrate or stimulate sexual organ of a person of the same sex;

(c) he or she touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.

(2) A person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for life.

3. Aggravated homosexuality.

(1) A person commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality where the—

(a) person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of eighteen 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 or overpower him or her so as to 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 imprisonment for life.

(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.

4. Attempt to commit homosexuality.

(1) A person who attempts to commit the offence of homosexuality commits a felony and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for seven years.

(2) A person who attempts to commit the offence of aggravated homosexuality commits an offense and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for life.

5. Protection, assistance and payment of compensation to victims of homosexuality.

(1) A victim of homosexuality shall not be penalized for any crime committed as a direct result of his or her involvement in homosexuality.

(2) A victim of homosexuality shall be assisted to enable his or her views and concerns to be presented and considered at the appropriate stages of the criminal proceedings.

(3) Where a person is convicted of homosexuality or aggravated homosexuality under sections 2 and 3 of this Act, the court may, in addition to any sentence imposed on the offender, order that the victim of the offence be paid compensation by the offender for any physical, sexual or psychological harm caused to the victim by the offence.

(4) The amount of compensation shall be determined by the court and the court shall take into account the extent of harm suffered by the victim of the offence, the degree of force used by the offender and medical and other expenses incurred by the victim as a result of the offence.

6. Confidentiality.

(1) At any stage of the investigation or trial of an offence under this Act, law enforcement officer, prosecutor, judicial officer and medical practitioner, and any party to the case, shall recognize the right to privacy of the victim.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), in cases involving children and other cases where the court considers it appropriate, proceedings of the court shall be conducted in camera.

(3) Any editor, publisher, reporter or columnist in case of printed materials, announcer or producer in case of television and radio, producer or director of a film in case of the movie industry, or any person utilizing trimedia facilities or information technology who publishes or causes the publicity of the names and personal circumstances or any other information tending to establish the victim’s identity without authority of the victim or court, commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty currency points.

7. Aiding and abetting homosexuality.

A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for seven years.

8. Conspiracy to engage in homosexuality.

A person who conspires with another to induce another person of the same sex by any means of false pretence or other fraudulent means to permit any person of the same sex to have unlawful carnal knowledge of him or her commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for seven years.

9. Procuring homosexuality by threats.

(1) A person who—

(a) by threats or intimidation procures or attempts to procure any woman or man to have any unlawful carnal knowledge with any person of the same sex; or

(b) by false pretences or false representations procures any woman or man to have any unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex; commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years

(2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under this section upon the evidence of one witness only, unless that witness is corroborated in some material particular by evidence implicating the accused.

10. Detention with intent to commit homosexuality.

A person who detains another person with the intention to commit acts of homosexuality with him or her or with any other person commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for seven years.

11. Brothels.

(1) A person who keeps a house, room, set of rooms or place of any kind for purposes of homosexuality commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for seven years.

(2) A person being the owner or occupier of premises or having or acting or assisting in the management or control of the premises, induces or knowingly suffers any man or woman to resort to or be upon such premises for the purpose of being unlawfully and carnally known by any man or woman of the same sex whether such carnal knowledge is intended to be with any particular man or woman generally, commits a felony and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for five years.

12. Same sex marriage.

(1) A person who purports to contract a marriage with another person of the same sex commits the offence of homosexuality and shall be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for life.

(2) A person or institution commits an offence if that person or institution conducts a marriage ceremony between persons of the same sex and shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a maximum of seven years for individuals or cancellation of licence for an institution.

13. Promotion of homosexuality.

(1) A person who—

(a) participates in production, procuring, marketing, broadcasting, disseminating, publishing of pornographic materials for purposes of promoting homosexuality;

(b) funds or sponsors homosexuality or other related activities;

(c) offers premises and other related fixed or movable assets for purposes of homosexuality or promoting homosexuality;

(d) uses electronic devices which include internet, films, mobile phones for purposes of homosexuality or promoting homosexuality; or

(e) who acts as an accomplice or attempts to promote or in any way abets homosexuality and related practices; commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine of five thousand currency points or imprisonment of a minimum of five years and a maximum of seven years or both fine and imprisonment.

(2) Where the offender is a corporate body or a business or an association or a non-governmental organization, on conviction its certificate of registration shall be cancelled and the director, proprietor or promoter shall be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for seven years.

PART IV—MISCELLANEOUS.

14. Extradition.

A person charged with an offence under this Act shall be liable to extradition under the existing extradition laws.

15. Regulations.

The Minister may, by statutory instrument, make regulations generally for better carrying out the provisions of this Act.

CURRENCY POINT

One currency point is equivalent to twenty thousand shillings.

Museveni Signs Anti-Homosexuality Bill Into Law

Jim Burroway

February 24th, 2014

As announced late last night, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law in a ceremony at State House in Entebbe earlier this morning. He signed the bill into law at about 1:50 p.m. East Africa Time (5:50 a.m. E.S.T). It is highly unusual for Museveni to sign a bill publicly, but

The president was in combative mood in a speech after the signing and while answering questions from journalists. He suggested that the law was made necessary by arrogant western groups promoting a behaviour that threatens Ugandans’ “way of life”.

…The president suggested he could not to understand how men could fail to be attracted to Uganda’s beautiful women and, instead, get attracted to fellow men.

The president also paraded the mostly Ugandan scientists who concluded that homosexuality wasn’t generic. The signing is expected to attract more attention and reaction from human rights defenders and the Western world, who have consistently been against the president’s assent since the bill was passed by Parliament in December 2013.

The bill will formally becomes law when it is published in the Uganda Gazette. That will also be the first time we will be able to get an official look at the bill’s final form. You can see the bill’s original form here. The bill originally included the death penalty for anyone convicted of “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes sex with minors, sex while HIV-positive (regardless of informed consent), incest, sex while being “a person of authority over the person”, sex with a disabled person (regardless of consent, or being a “serial offender”, of any other part of the bill. When Parliament passed the bill in December, the death penalty was dropped in favor of lifetime imprisonment.

Other provisions remaining in the bill include lifetime imprisonment for entering into a same-sex marriage, seven years for conducting one, five to seven years for advocacy by or on behalf of LGBT people, five years for providing housing to LGBT people, and seven years for providing services to LGBT people.

Last weekend, President Barack Obama said that signing the bill “will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people.” He also warned that “enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda.” During today’s signing ceremony, Museveni dismissed that warning:

On the issue of losing aid by signing the bill, President Museveni, quoting the story of Esau in the bible said that Uganda will not give up their rights because of food like Esau did. He then took the chance to remind the gathering that Uganda does not need aid. “Uganda is very rich, we do not need the aid,” He said.

Spokesman: Uganda President to Sign Anti-Homosexuality Bill Monday Morning

Jim Burroway

February 23rd, 2014

Moments ago, Uganda’s governmental spokesman Ofwono Opondo tweeted that President Yoweri Museveni will sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill at 11:00 a.m. Monday Morning at State House in Entebbe (3:00 a.m. E.S.T). The Tweet went out at about 6:50 a.m. Monday morning local time in Uganda, or 10:50 Sunday night E.S.T. He then quickly followed that with two more tweets taunting President Obama:

Obama has labeled the Ant-Homosexuality Bill “odious” and warned that signing the bill  “would complicate (our) valued relationship.”

As for the Arizona bill which has not been signed into law, not one person would be thrown in jail for as much as an hour if Gov. Jan Brewer made the insane decision to sign it. Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill however will impose a lifetime sentence in prison for conviction of homoseuxality, lifetime imprisonment for entering into a same-sex marriage, seven years for conducting one, five to seven years for advocacy by or on behalf of LGBT people, five years for providing housing to LGBT people, and seven years for providing services to LGBT people.

If Museveni follows through with signing the bill Monday morning, it will occur exactly five years to the very day after BTB first learned that Scott Lively and two other American ant-gay activists were about to conduct one of the most infamous and far-reaching  anti-gay conferences in memory. Lively would later boast that his talk at that conference was a “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda.”

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]

Is Ugandan President Looking For a Way Out of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill?

Jim Burroway

February 21st, 2014

As I wrote earlier, the political incentives weighing on Uganda President Yoweri Museveni to sign the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law are extraordinarily powerful. But Museveni can’t ignore the international cost of doing so, especially given Obama’s warning that signing the bill “would complicate (our) valued relationship.” That relationship includes, among many other things, U.S. technical military assistance in Uganda’s ongoing fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency.

Earlier today, Uganda’s Observer published a lengthy statement by Museveni defending his decision last weekend to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill on the basis of a statement by Ugandan scientists that homosexuality is “not genetic.” He then called on the U.S. to “help us by working with our Scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When that is proved, we can review this legislation.”

Since then, that same identical statement has appeared in its entirety in all five major Ugandan publications with a web presence. In addition to the opposition-friendly Observer, the full statement is also being carried in the government-owned New Vision, the independent Daily Monitor, Uganda’s The Independent, and even in the notoriously anti-gay tabloid Red Pepper. The statement is dated last Sunday, February 18, but it’s being reprinted in full, virtually simultaneously, in all five publications today.

More typically, a government press office releases a statement and publications quote from this. The unusual detail is this: all five publications have reprinted Museveni’s entire statement in full. In my five years of watching events in Uganda, I cannot recall a any other time where all the major papers published an official statement verbatim on the same day. This represent a high degree of coordination at the very least, and it may possibly be the result of a direct order from the government. Museveni plainly wants everyone to see this.

And since he wants everyone to see it, I’ll include it here also:

Click here to read Museveni’s statement

Uganda President Seeks More Scientific Input on Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

February 21st, 2014

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni seems to be looking for a way out of the mess. A statement by Museveni appeared in Uganda’s Observer this morning justifying his previous announcement that he would sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill based on the “scientific” was provided to him by members of the Ministry of Health and Makarere University. Now, he says he needs more information:

I have now received their signed document, which says there is no single gene that has been traced to cause homosexuality.  What I want them to clarify is whether a combination of genes can cause anybody to be homosexual.  Then my task will be finished and I will sign the Bill.

After my statement to that effect which was quoted widely around the World, I got reactions from some friends from outside Africa.  Statements like: “it is a matter of choice” or “whom they love” which President Obama repeated in his statement would be most furiously rejected by almost the entirety of our people.

It cannot be a matter of choice for a man to behave like a woman or vice-versa.  The argument I had pushed was that there could be people who are born like that or “who they are”, according to President Obama’s statement.

I, therefore, encourage the US government to help us by working with our Scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual.  When that is proved, we can review this legislation.

I would be among those who will spearhead that effort.  That is why I had refused to sign the Bill until my premise was knocked down by the position of our Scientists.

His statement also directly addresses President Barack Obama’s condemnation of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, in particular Obama’s warning that signing it would “complicate our valued relationship.” That particular line seems to have gotten his attention.

This statement would appear to contradict yesterday’s unconfirmed report that Museveni had already signed the bill.

Last Sunday, Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Ambassador James Mugume, told reporters that U.S. National Security Adviser would provide “some materials and evidence that they feel were left out by our scientists.” You can read Uganda’s “scientific statement” here.

Unconfirmed Reports: Museveni May Have Signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Jim Burroway

February 20th, 2014

CNN’s Mike Krever quoted Ethics and Integrity Member (and defrocked former priest) Simon Lokodo:

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has just signed that bill, according to the minister, but has not yet handed it over to parliament.

It’s not clear to me whether Lokodo is much of an insider in Museveni’s government. He may be speaking out of personal knowledge, but he also may be working with second-hand information.  Meanwhile, the Uganda Media Centre, the president’s official press office, posted the following contradictory statement on its Facebook page earlier today:

Press Statement
February, 20, 2014

Government statement on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Following the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill by the Parliament of Uganda in December, 2013, fears have been expressed by sections of the international community that this could lead to the persecution of some sections of Ugandan society.

The 1995 Constitution is the supreme law of Uganda.

Article 21(1)… of the said Constitution states “All persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.

Article 21(2) states “Without prejudice to clause (1) of this article, a person shall not be discriminated against on the grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability.”
Government of Uganda reiterates its commitment to uphold and protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons in Uganda as guaranteed by the Constitution.

No person shall be prosecuted outside the provisions of the law.

Government of Uganda therefore reassures all Ugandans and the international community of its continued commitment and respect for the rule of law in Uganda.

Ofwono Opondo
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON
UGANDA MEDIA CENTRE

The Facebook comments to that post show that the statement is throwing everyone into confusion: Did he/will he sign the bill?

Museveni’s Political Calculus and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Jim Burroway

February 20th, 2014
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NTV Uganda recaps events since President Yoweri Museveni’s announcement that he will sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and reports that about 20% of Uganda’s budget is funded by donor money. In response to statements from donor countries that their aid would be jeopardized by the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, State Minister for Regional Affairs Asuman Kiyingi said, “What I’ve heard from the public… is that Ugandans are willing to forfeit the support that the donors are giving if it means that the support is conditioned on sacrificing their values. But I’m sure we’re going to find a middle ground.”

Kiyingi’s belief that there will be a “middle ground” with respect to foreign aid suggests that Museveni feels more confident that he won’t suffer severe international consequences if he signs the bill. Uganda has raised its strategic profile in the past couple of years, well-positoned geographically and sharing borders with Rwanda, Congo and Southern Sudan. Uganda provides peacekeeping (and sometimes not so peacekeeping) troops to Southern Sudan and Somalia, and regularly meddles in guerrilla fighting in Congo. Uganda is also central to that battle against the murderous Lord’s Resistance Army, and it receives a great deal of military technical assistance from the U.S. in that fight. This morning, Daily Monitor’s Daniel K. Kalinaki explains what all of that means:

Museveni also understands the centres of power in America. The White House and the State Department might be critical of him and his decisions but he has been around long enough to understand that the CIA and the Defence Department often deal in the cold rational reality of real-politick.

Thus while cuts in military support to the UPDF would hurt, there would be grave concerns for the Pentagon if Uganda were to withdraw its troops from Somalia, for instance. Museveni understands that US national security comes first, ahead of everything else. As long as he is willing to put boots on the ground to keep the regional peace and support the war against terror, he will always have friends at the Pentagon willing to help him manage his relations with the State Department.

There are also a number of internal political considerations that likely went into Museveni’s decision. Again, Kalinaki:

It is telling that President Museveni announced his intentions at a meeting of NRM MPs amidst a plot to endorse him as the sole party candidate for the 2016 elections. In signing, he gives the MPs a blank cheque. Having forced Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi on the defensive, he also cuts from underneath Speaker Rebecca Kadaga one of her populist planks within Parliament.

Mbabazi and Kadaga both were believed to be vying to challenge Museveni for the party’s nomination in 2016. This moves places Mbabazi on the defensive because he was the most vocal in pointing out that Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill without a quorum. At the time, Mbabazi appeared to be speaking for Museveni, since Museveni himself had argued against the bill’s passage, and complained about the lack of quorum Speaker Kadaga in a letter written a week after the bill’s passage. Museveni’s sudden U-turn left Mbabazi stranded out on a very weak political limb. At the same time, Kadaga, who sought to build her political legacy on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, is now seeing the oxygen being sucked out of the room with Museveni’s announcement. Mbabazi signed on to endorse Museveni’s 2016 bid, but Kadaga didn’t.

Kalinaki also points out that the political costs for signing the bill are minimal when compared to the benefits:

First, he is exercising power without responsibility for his actions; he is signing a Bill he never wanted, passed by Parliament against his advice, and on the recommendation of scientists. It wasn’t me, he could easily say. Secondly, Museveni must surely know that several lawyers have lined up to challenge the constitutionality of the law; one of them, your columnist hears, is Mr Fox Odoi, who spent many years doing legal work for the President and remains close to the inner circle.

Such a challenge would hold up the law in the courts for at least a couple of years. If the courts uphold it, it wasn’t me, the President would say. If they strike it down, it still wasn’t him. Throw in a few more years on appeal in the Supreme Court and you have a Bill all dressed up with nowhere to go.

A man like Museveni doesn’t stay in power for twenty-eight years as he has without either brute force or cynical cunning. Museveni prefers the latter but isn’t afraid of the former. It is, after all, how he came to power in the first place. So the question now is whether Museveni was correct in minimizing the political costs to signing the bill or did he misjudge? The Human Rights Campaign’s Chad Griffin wants the U.S. to up the political costs to Museveni. He has called on the U.S. to withdraw its ambassadors to Uganda and Nigeria, which recently recently enacted similarly draconian anti-gay legislation:

“The Ugandan and Nigerian governments’ decisions to treat their LGBT citizens like criminals cannot be accepted as business as usual by the U.S. government. We urge Secretary Kerry to recall both Ambassadors for consultations in Washington to make clear the seriousness of the situation in both countries,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

Ugandan TV: Canada Threatens to Cut Ties

Jim Burroway

February 19th, 2014
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NTV Uganda reports:

The Canadian government has threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Uganda if the Anti Homosexuality bill is signed into law. Ugandan Ambassador Alintuma Nsambu says he was summoned on Monday by the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister to explain why Canada should not take that step. Nsambu says if signed, several western countries could isolate Uganda.

Ugandan Singer Criticizes Anti-Homosexualty Bill, Tabloid Retaliates

Jim Burroway

February 18th, 2014

Remember back at a time when, if anyone were to stand up for gay people, they would be accused of being gay themselves? It’s been a long time since that’s been a common occurrence here in the U.S., although I’m sure it still happens. In Uganda, however, it happens in the papers. The tabloid, Red Pepper, which has a long history of dangerous anti-gay “outings,” has taken that tactic when a popular singer, Keko, criticized President Yoweri Museveni’s announcement that he will sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Red Pepper says Keko took to social media saying, “If Sevo signs the anti-homosexuality bill, we are always going to be third world. Development is tolerance.” And then promptly “outed” her:

“Keko was seen comfortably seated with Sheeba Kalungi,” says Red Pepper

For over the years it has been rumored that female rapper Keko is a lesbian.

It has been claimed that the singer is in a gay relationship with fellow singer Sheeba Karungi, and actually stay together in a rented apartment in Kiwatule.

Neither of the two has ever denied the allegations. And now Keko has almost confirmed these allegations by blasting the president over the anti gay bill.

I put “outed” in quotes because I know nothing about Keko. I have no idea whether she’s gay, straight, or anywhere in-between. While I can understand that for the sake of visibility, that kind of detail would matter. But in a country like Uganda, that’s a first world luxury that gay people can’t afford. Here, the retaliation isn’t in the “outing,” but something far more sinister where being called a lesbian is an accusation of criminal activity rather than just a description of someone’s romantic leanings.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill will criminalize all advocacy by or on behalf of LGBT people with five to seven years’ imprisonment. Any day now, Keko’s tweet may become a criminal offense. But until that day comes when official sanctions can be applied, rags like the Red Pepper will be happy to provide plenty of unofficial sanctions.

Ugandan Press Secretary: Museveni “Cannot Be Intimidated”

Jim Burroway

February 18th, 2014
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In the above clip from NTV Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni’s press secretary Tamale Mirundi responds to US President Barack Obama’s statement blasting Museveni for agreeing to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Mirundi tells reporters that Museveni “cannot be intimidated.” On the question of foreign aid, Mirundi said, “we can do without that aid.”

Report: US to Provide “Further Evidence” to Counter Uganda’s “Scientific Report” on Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

February 18th, 2014

 

National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s Tweeted on Sunday saying, she “Spoke at length with President Museveni last night to urge him not to sign anti-LGBT bill.” In a following Tweet, she echoed Obama’s statement, adding: “Told him it will be huge step backward for Uganda and the world.” Uganda’s independent Daily Monitor this morning provided some additional information on that conversation:

Barely 24 hours after his Kyankwanzi pronouncement, the President was already facing the “battle” with the American National Security Adviser, Ms Susan Rice, calling Mr Museveni to express her government’s and Mr Obama’s reservations on the matter.

According to the Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Ambassador James Mugume, the Americans had called to offer “further evidence” that homosexuality is a natural behaviour in contradiction with what the local scientists had presented.

“We are discussing with the US government. We are waiting to see what they have [to present]. I am told that the Americans have some materials and evidence that they feel were left out by our scientists,” Mr Mugume said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Asked when the US was scheduled to table the said evidence, Ambassador Mugume could not give a clear time-line, only saying: “It will not take a lot of time. It will be soon.”

You can read Uganda’s “scientific report” here.

Video: “We Shall Have a War With the Homosexual Lobby of the World”

Jim Burroway

February 16th, 2014

Uganda’s NTV has posted video of President Yoweri Museveni’s announcement that he will sign the Anti-Homosexualty Bill at his ruling party caucus this weekend in Kyankwanzi.

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There’s more in this broadcast of the program NTV at ONE. Skip ahead to the 25:39 mark:

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