Rick Warren Tweets Opposition to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill
December 11th, 2012
That’s Saddleback pastor Rick Warren’s tweet last Friday referencing a video he made in 2009. I had hoped that it would presage a larger statement. But a whole weekend has passed and we’re well into a new week, and nothing’s been forthcoming since then. I’m glad that Warren’s on board against the bill again in 2012. Sending out a 102-character tweet was the least he could do. And so he did it.
When all is said and done in this saga, there will be a recounting of the heros and villains and their names will be known for generations to come. Warren’s just a guy selling books and tweeting aphorisms when he could be speaking out forcefully against one of the great human rights crises of our day. He’s no Desmond Tutu, but I’m can’t say he’s in the company of villains either. Bonhoeffers are sadly scarce when they’re needed most; it’s the Chamberlains who are much too common. And that’s Warren’s problem. He is much too common.
Desmond Tutu Pens Op-Ed for Ugandan Newspaper
December 11th, 2012
Ugandans will wake up tomorrow morning to find an important op-ed in Daily Monitor, that country’s largest independent newspaper, by former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu calling on Uganda’s Parliament to drop the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As a respected leader in the struggle against apartheid, Tutu draws parallels between that odious policy and the one that Uganda’s Parliament is poised to impose:
Should the Anti-Homosexuality Bill be voted into law, it will criminalise acts of love between certain categories of people, just as the apartheid government made intimate relations between black and white South Africans a punishable offence.
Members of the apartheid police force charged with the upkeep of “morality” would rush into the bedrooms of suspected offenders to gather evidence, such as warm bed sheets. Those found guilty were arrested, put on trial and punished. What awaits the people of Uganda?
…People have over many centuries devised all kinds of terrible instruments to oppress other people. Usually, they have rationalised their awful actions on the basis of their belief in their own superiority, in their culture, in their spiritual beliefs, in their skin-colour. Thus, they argue, they are justified to hate and bomb and maim the “other”. The Anti-Homosexuality legislation now under consideration in Uganda is just such an instrument.
…To those who claim that homosexuality is not part of our African culture, you are conveniently ignoring the fact that LGBTI Africans have lived peacefully and productively beside us throughout history.
I am proud that in South Africa, when we succeeded in overthrowing apartheid, we put in place a Constitution that prohibited all forms of discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
We did this because we understood that the freedom of one depends upon the freedom of all. We call it the spirit of ubuntu: the idea that I cannot be free if you are not also free.
A truly magnificent op-ed from one of the towering defenders of human rights.
Uganda Passes Controversial Oil Bill, Moving Anti-Homosexuality Bill Up On Agenda
December 7th, 2012
The pro-government New Vision confirms it:
After a series of debates and disagreement majorly over Clause 9 of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill 2012. The Oil bill has eventually been passed Friday Afternoon. Details coming soon.
This is a distressing turn of events for many reasons. First, for the Ugandan people, this bill will effectively give President Yoweri Museveni sole discretion to decide who wins and who loses in awarding billions of dollars in valuable oil contracts as Uganda begins developing its newly-discovered oil reserves. Parliament is now out of the loop, with no oversight into how the decisions are made. This of course represents a massive new opening in Uganda’s already notoriously corrupt political culture. In essence, the Ugandan people’s oil will litterally be stolen out from under them.
It’s also distressing because, according to the published Order Papers on the Parliament’s web site, there was no notice that Parliament was even going to meet today. Parliament typically does not meet on Mondays and Fridays. Consequently, just barely half of the House showed up for the vote.
Which is why the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is waiting in the wings. This oil grab has proved hightly unpopular with the media and the general public. Which means that it’s time for that distraction I’ve been warning you about, a distraction that could come as early as next Monday.
Report: Uganda Parliament Passes Controversial Oil Bill Clause
December 7th, 2012
Via the notoriously anti-gay tabloid Red Pepper:
The parliament of Uganda on Friday passed the contentious Petroleum (Exploration, Development, and Production) bill into law bringing to rest the controversy surrounding clause 9 that gives the minister for Energy unrestricted powers to grant or revoke oil licenses.
The bill was passed with 149 Members of Parliament voting in favour while only 39 MPs voted against the bill, an indication that the ruling National Resistance Movement had used its overwhelming majority in the house to its advantage. 188 Members of Parliament were in attendance.
There are 375 members of Parliament, meaning that the 188 members present make up a bare majority of the full House. There is some caution to be had in this report — the Red Pepper is, this very week, publishing a spashy cover story accusing the manager of the national football team of “sodomizing” teammates. And this report would be surprising in that the Parliament didn’t publish an Order Paper today, which seemed to indicate that the body was not due to meet.
But if the story is true, then it means a three things: 1) The rest of the Petroleum Bills are likely now to sail through Parliament, complete Museveni’s power grab, 2) the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is up next, playing its role as the designated diversion away from Museveni’s legalized theft of the country’s oil wealth, and 3) Red Pepper accidentally committed an act of journalism.
I’m still looking for further confirmation. I think it would be wise to take this report with a heaping dose of salt until more reputable news sources weigh in. But I wanted to get this out there in case the story turns out to be true. If it is true, then it’s a huge development that increases the changes that the Anti-Homosexualiy Bill will be passed next week. But if it’s not true, then feel free to entertain yourself with Red Pepper’s latest gay-baiting “scandal.”
Anti-Homosexuality Bill Update: Parliament Stalled Over Petroleum Bills
December 7th, 2012
As I’ve said before, the question of the hour isn’t “What is the status of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill?” As second in line in the Ugandan Parliament’s order of business, its status is what it always was: it’s on standby as a handy distraction to unite the country once Parliament completes President Yoweri Museveni’s oil grab.
Which means that the real question is “What is the status of the Petroleum Bill?” That’s the bill which, if Museveni gets his way, will place the entirety of nation’s newly discovered oil wealth into just one pair of hands: Museveni’s hand-picked Energy Minister. And with no one looking over his shoulder as he negotiates and signs lucrative oil exploration and drilling licenses, Uganda will enter a whole new era of corruption, the scale of which will make some of the more recent scandals look like round-off errors.
And so what is its status? Well, things are more or less stalled. Parliament typically doesn’t meet on Fridays and Mondays, but human rights observers in Uganda speculated that there might be an exception today, especially since Parliament is expected to break for Christmas on December 14. But no order papers were posted on Parliaments web site this morning, which means that MP’s continue to haggle over the contentious Petroleum Bills. With no new progress this week, Museveni personally intervened yesterday and convened a special meeting of the National Resistance Movement caucus yesterday. He lectured the NRM, his ruling party which makes up more than 70% of Parliament, on his demands to approve a controversial change to Clause 9 which would cut the independent Petroleum Authority out of its oversight role in awarding oil licenses and concentrating that power in the Energy Minister. Museveni even walked his caucus through a mock vote as some kind of a training exercise:
Ruling party MPs turned up in large numbers following a morning caucus meeting addressed by their chairman, President Museveni. Sources said the MPs were whipped into line, held a mock vote in which Mr Museveni’s wishes for the Energy minister to retain near-unilateral powers to grant and revoke licences, and to negotiate agreements, carried the day.
That was how the independent Daily Monitor described the meeting. The pro-government New Vision’s description was somewhat more detailed:
The NRM caucus seating at Parliament has overwhelmingly voted in favour of empowering the Energy minister to grant and revoke licenses to extract oil. Over 130 MPs voted in favour, 7 voted against while 1 abstained.
…According to the Minister of State for Luweero Triangle, Rose Namayanja, who is holding the portfolio of the information minister, Cabinet resolved that the original provisions of Clause 9 of the Bill must be maintained. “We do not want to make a law that is vague. He who hires must have powers to fire,” said Namayanja, adding that Cabinet believes it is not good to make the minister share power of granting and revoking licences with the authority.
But as the NTV report indicates at the top of this post, there are more than 260 NRM caucus members but only about half of them showed up for the caucus meeting. “It is not clear if some boycotted the caucus meeting, only to turn up in the House and oppose the government position,” NTV Television reported. MP Waira Kyewalabye Majegere (NRM-Bunya County East) appeared on NTV to say that he was among those who wanted to be assured of “some checks and balances.” Speaking of the NRM’s 70% majority in Parliament, Majegere said, “We have the numbers, but there is also the issue of convincing the brains. It’s not just a matter of having the numbers.” When the House session resumed after the caucus meeting, dissenting NRM members joined the opposition to block a vote on Clause 9, resulting in the current stalemate.
Uganda LGBT Advocate: “To the Twitter!”
December 6th, 2012
The cry used to be “to the baracades!” But in the social media-verse that we inhabit today, it’s all about Twitter. Pepe Julian Onziema posted this call to action on Facebook:
Dear Friends on Twitter: This is a Call for Urgent Web Action, we’re asking you to participate in a twitter blast directed at the Ugandan Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi. In this twitter blast, we’re asking him to speak out against the Bill. Please send multiple tweets with the tags #stopthehate @AmamaMbabazi. Please be reminded to keep the tone of your tweets polite. For example: Can @AmamaMbabazi make a statement against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda? #stopthehate
Amnesty International has also asked everyone to send emails to the Prime Minister.
Anti-Homosexuality Bill Distracts From Uganda’s Real Problems, Including Birthday Parties
December 6th, 2012
It’s time for an update to the status of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. It is still now dropped to number two on Parliament’s list of “business to follow” (DOC: 39.5KB/3 pages). The second of two contentious Petroleum Bills has now dropped form Parliament’s main agenda to take the number one spot on the business to follow list.
But as I wrote yesterday, it’s not the Anti-Homosxuality Bill’s status that really matters, despite all of the attention it has gotten abroad. What does matter — to Museveni and his allies in Uganda — is that we talk about the Anti-Homosexuality bill and ignore all of the other issues: Uganda’s meddling in a guerilla war on neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, massive corruption at home, and the theft of oil wealth that is talking place right under everyone’s noses. The gays are just a handy distractions. And if all we’re doing is talking about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, then we’re doing exactly what Museveni wants us to do.
The issue of the hour in Parliament is oil, particularly President Yoweri Museveni’s maneuvers to gain personal control over his country’s newly-discovered oil wealth. So, what’s going on on the oil front? Yesterday, representatives of President Yoweri Museveni’s cabinet came out in full force to denounce a compromise proposal for a contentious clause in the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill, one of two large Petroleum Bill’s before Parliament. One of the bill’s clauses, Clause 9, currently specifies that the Petroleum Authority, a government oversight agency answerable to Parliament, will have the power to regulate the process of negotiating and signing contracts for oil exploration, drilling and refining, as well as the power to rescind those contracts. Museveni’s government is now trying to ram a change through Parliament which would give the Energy Minister, a presidential appointee, exclusive and unlimited powers to make all of those decisions. Just as Parliament was about to vote on that change on November 27 — and with Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement holding more than 70% of the seats in Parliament making the vote’s outcome a foregone conclusion — a minority of MPs staged an open rebellion within the chamber which brought Parliament to a halt.
When Parliament resumed on Tuesday, confusion reigned again when minority members announced that they had reached a deal with the Energy Minister to modify Clause 9 to allow for a power-sharing arrangement between the President and Parliament. Government ministers immediately countered that they had not been told of any such agreement. That led Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to again suspend the session so everyone could get their stories straight. But before suspending the session, Kadaga announce that President Museveni himself would address parliament today. Parliament didn’t meet yesterday due to a memorial service for a former member of government, and the Cabinet took the opportunity of that lull to publicly “throw out” the compromise proposal. It also announced that Museveni had cancelled today’s address.
As I’ve said before, all of this is important because many observers see Museveni’s oil grab as one of the main drivers behind the Anti-Homosexuality Bill’s re-emergence onto Parliament’s agenda. The other issues that Museveni is grappling with include a massive corruption scandal involving foreign aid that was intended to help northern Uganda recover from two decades of war with the Lord’s Resistance Army. That money instead ended up in private bank accounts of several government officials, the discovery of which has led several European countries — Britain, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany — to announce aid cuts. Meanwhile, Museveni is also having to answer to a United Nations report, in which Uganda and Rwanda were caught supporting the M23 rebels in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. Those rebels recently took over the eastern provincial capital of Goma on Rwanda’s northeastern border, just 50 miles southwest of Uganda.
And, oh, by the way. Did you know that celebrating Museveni’s birthday will get you arrested? That’s what happened in Masaka when police used tear gas to arrest eight youth members of the opposition who organized a 75th birthday party. Museveni claims that he’s 68, but nobody knows how old he really is. This is important because Uganda’s constitution sets an age limit of 75 years for the president. Museveni has already scrapped term limits in 2005, and he’s already said to be angling to run for a fifth term beginning in 2016. The youth are accused of “holding an unlawful assembly and causing unrest.” For a birthday party.
With all of that going on, Museveni may soon decide that he needs a handy weapon to draw if the going gets too tough, either internationally or domestically. And there are very few issues that can rally an entire nation behind a scoundrel president better than going after the gays. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill can be just the hammer he needs to get his foreign detractors to back off — and to train his restive subjects’ minds on to something everyone can agree on. That’s why the bill remains loaded in the magazine, placed right behind the contentious Petroleum Bills on Parliament’s agenda. But it’s a bullet he can fire only once, because once the bill becomes law, it also ceases to become a threat — at least politically. Legally, it’s another matter altogether, because for Uganda’s LGBT – and straight — citizens, the weaponry of corruption and revenge will only be that much more deadly.
Uganda Parliament Continues To Argue Over Oil
December 5th, 2012
Today’s Order Paper (DOC: 37KB/1 page) has Parliament taking a pause for a memorial observance. The momentary respite will probably be welcome among members of Parliament after failing yesterday to come to an agreement over a highly contentious clause in one of the Petroleum Bills. President Yoweri Museveni’s government is trying to push changes to Clause 9 of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill to strip a commission answerable to Parliament of its powers to negotiate, sign and revoke contracts for exploration, drilling and refining, and hand those powers over to a single person, the Energy Minister– who just happens to be a presidential appointee. Because the proposed changes would cut everyone else out who could provide oversight or transparency into that process, it will effectively legalize the wholesale theft of Uganda’s potential oil wealth.
The first item on yesterday’s agenda was supposed to be a presentation from the Rules Committee of the results of its investigation into the events that led to last week’s breakdown in Parliament. That session ended in chaos when several M.P.s erupted in open rebellion as a vote to approve the changes to Clause 9 was about to take place. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga ordered the Rules Committee to determine those responsible for the rebellion for possible sanctions. But when the Committee reported that it wasn’t finished with the investigation, Parliament moved on to its next order of business, Clause 9. That’s when, according to Daily Monitor, several opposition M.P.s rose to announce that they had ironed out a compromise with the Energy Minister:
“We met yesterday (Monday) with the minister and the vice president up to close to midnight. The minister herself typed a new clause which we agreed to sell to our members but I am surprised she has not told the House so,” Shadow Attorney General Abdu Katuntu (FDC, Bugweri) told the House, prompting a postponement of proceedings.
The Speaker had, on the request of Ms Muloni, first adjourned proceedings for 15 minutes so that those with different opinions consult and agree. However, when they returned, the minister did not report to the House on the discussions, forcing the Speaker to call for voting.
It is this move that caused the disagreement and eventual standing over of the clause. “This kind of behaviour is unprecedented. The rules are made to achieve justice, do not rely on technicalities. How can a government indulge in foolery? How can a government be dishonest with its own Members of Parliament? We have worked all the way to create consensus. If some anarchists want to take over oil, so be it,” Mr Katuntu said.
There’s a lot of inside baseball here, but it seems to sum up this way: the opposition said they had a compromise solution worked out with the Energy Minister, while Government ministers countered that there was no such agreement. The phrase “eventual standing over the clause” refers to Parliament’s decision to “stand over the matter” — in other words, to metaphorically stand and wait but in practice to suspend discussions — until the Petroleum Minister is available to respond. Which means that Parliament has kicked to can further down the road on Clause 9 until later this week or next.
So what does all of this mean for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill? Parliament could take this downtime in its debate over the Petroleum Bill to move the Anti-Homosexuality Bill up from its first place standing under “business to follow” and begin debate, but the House appears uneager to do so. While Ugandan human rights advocates are carefully watching to see whether that might happen, there appears to be little political incentive to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill right this minute.
As I’ve argued before, I don’t think you can look at the timing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill without looking at the broader political context in Uganda. And right now, the Museveni government is locked in a power struggle with some members of Parliament over who gets to control (and steal, given Uganda’s reputation as the most corrupt country in eastern Africa) the country’s newly discovered oil wealth. As a sign of how important that struggle is, Daily Monitor reported that Museveni will address Parliament himself on Thursday. “Although Mr Museveni’s address is supposed to be listened to in silence with no questions and debate, he is expected to meet resistance from MPs over his position to grant the energy minister unilateral powers over key areas of the oil sector,” Daily Monitor reported. (The pro-government New Vision says he will address Parliament Friday.)
Museveni’s fight to control Uganda’s oil isn’t the only black mark against the government these days. Germany’s recent announcement that it was joining Britain, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden in cutting direct government-to-government aid to Uganda following the discovery that nearly US$20 million has ended up in the private bank accounts of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and several of his cronies. Britain also expanded its announcement to cover all bilateral aid to Uganda, which includes funding for programs and NGOs. Daily Monitor reports that the government is about to announce several budget cuts because of the drop in donor aid. While most of that aid was intended for structural support of basic government functions, Ugandan officials are threatening to cut delivery of services to the people who need it the most.
So with that, coupled with the controversy over Clause 9 of the Petroleum Bill, I suspect that Parliament will wait until after Clause 9 is dealt with and the entire bill is passed before turning to the unifying distraction for everyone that is the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Parliament could conceivably turn to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill now during this lull, but I don’t see the political advantage for it. Sure, it could unite Parliament and take everyone’s eyes off of Clause 9, but the advantage of that distraction would only be temporary, ending when Clause 9 resurfaces again. What’s more likely is that Parliament deals with Clause 9 first, then looks for a handy issue that everyone can rally around and distract them from what Museveni has done with the country’s oil wealth. That appears to be the real purpose of bringing up the Anti-Homosexuality Bill now. While all of that could happen this week — Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement controls more than 70% of Parliament — next week now appears much more likely.
Update: The Uganda Parliament ordinarily does not meet on Mondays and Fridays, although a quick look at past Order Papers shows several exceptions over the past few months.
TIME Is Right And TIME IS Wrong
December 5th, 2012
There is so much to love about Tim Padgett’s column in TIME magazine this week. Padgett, a Catholic, examines the rhetoric of the Church and of conservative Christians generally demonizing gay people in the U.S. during recent marriage campaign, and, noting the influence some American Christians have in Uganda, connects their rhetoric to what’s happening there now:
No, the real question that conservative Christians from Florida to France to Fiji need to ask themselves at this point is this: By crusading to deny gays and lesbians the right to legally marry — by insisting that God doesn’t consider loving gay unions morally worthy of matrimony and therefore the state shouldn’t either — do they risk demonizing “the phenomena of homosexuality” as inhumanely as the Ugandans are? It’s of course a good thing that the Vatican has condemned the “abuse of homosexual persons.” But as a Catholic, I’m all too aware that Pope Benedict XVI has also said that saving humanity from homosexuals is as crucial as saving rain forests from lumberjacks. And that a Vatican spokesman, after last month’s pro-gay-marriage votes in the U.S., made the equally cruel remark that gay marriage is a slippery slope to polygamy. Don’t blame Ugandan Catholics if they’re getting dangerously mixed signals from Rome.
Still, conservative Christians will claim that St. Paul’s denunciation of homosexuality leaves them no scriptural wiggle room. But St. Paul also condoned slavery, and I think we can safely say Christianity has managed to wiggle out of that one, just as Jews today feel O.K. about ignoring the Torah’s edict to stone nonvirgin brides to death. Like everything else in life, religion has to evolve. If it doesn’t — if it remains as rigidly static as so much Christian doctrine has so far in the 21st century — it risks the irrelevance it increasingly faces in the U.S.
Padgett’s argues that Christianity is in danger of not just being on the wrong side of history,but also “on the wrong side of Christianity, as Ugandan Christendom is this Christmas.” It’s a compelling thought-provoking piece. But, it’s one that’s marred in its setup with these factual errors which — you know me — I can’t let go:
The anti-homosexuality bill speeding through Uganda’s parliament right now — which that body’s Speaker has pledged will pass by year’s end as a “Christmas gift” to its backers — would impose draconian new punishments. Among them: a seven-year prison sentence for consenting adults who have gay sex, life sentences for people in same-sex marriages and jail for even those who don’t report gays and lesbians in their midst. Fortunately, Ugandan lawmakers say they’ve dropped the bill’s death penalty in cases of “aggravated homosexuality,” in which HIV is spread or gay adults have sex with minors.
Yeah. Fortunately the lawmakers say they made those changes, but unfortunately there is no basis whatsoever for taking them at their word. These lines seriously mar an otherwise splendid piece, and since TIME doesn’t seem to have an up-to-snuff fact-checking staff — maybe they took an early Christmas break — I’ll go ahead and do their work for them.
When members of the Legal and Parliamentary Committee emerged from their closed-door meetings two weeks ago, they announced that the lifetime sentence in Clause 2 was reduced to seven years and the death penalty in Clause 3 was changed to life imprisonment. And then they said this: they can’t show you their draft recommendations because, you know, it’s a secret.
Seriously. They said that.
Which means that we have no idea what the committee actually recommended. And that’s important because the last time the committee claimed that they recommended removing the death penalty from the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2011, they lied. Completely, totally lied. Their report claiming the recommend removing the death penalty actually recommended that it be replaced with a reference to the penalty spelled out in Section 129 of the Penal Code — which calls for the death penalty.
But whatever the committee’s recommendations may be, under Uganda’s Parliamentary procedures committees do not have the authority to make any changes to the bill. They can only recommend changes to the full House. It is up to the House to accept the committees recommendations — or reject them, if they so desire — before any changes can be made to the bill. And since that hasn’t happened yet, the bill still remains exactly as it was on the day it was first introduced, death penalty and all.
Padgett also copied virtually line-by-line the bills’ supporters propaganda that the death peanlty only applied cases where “HIV is spread” or where sex with minors is involved. That has been M.P. David Bahati’s favorite line from the very moment he first introduced the bill in 2009. But a plain reading of the bill’s straightforward language, which is written in very simple English, renders that interpretation woefully inadequate:
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.
Journalists have had a very sad history of getting this bill so very wrong so many times in its three year history. Padgett is identified as TIME’s Miami and Latin America bureau chief, which, the last time I looked at an atlas, doesn’t include Africa. So I guess he can be excused for getting these facts wrong. He gets an A for effort, if not for the final result. TIME’s fact-checkers, though, get a big fat red F. Which is a shame, because if they had just fixed those few sentences, Padgett’s column would have been stellar.
Ugandan Activist Speaks Out Against Anti-Homosexuality Bill
December 4th, 2012
Her name is Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, but her friends call her “Bombastic Kasha.” She is Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) and the 2011 winner of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. She narrowly escaped arrest last February when Ugandan police raided a gay rights conference in Entebbe.
Meanwhile, it should be noted that Pepsi has a very large presence in Uganda. One group is calling on Pepsico to speak out against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill:
…(O)ur allies on the ground tell us that if Pepsi, which has a huge presence in Uganda, speaks out against the bill and the harmful effect it would have on investment and economic development in Uganda, it would force Ugandan officials to put the bill on hold — or even pull it entirely. Add your name to our petition to Pepsi, telling it to speak out against this horrific “Kill the Gays” bill that’s racing through the Ugandan Parliament.
Uganda May Consider Anti-Homosexuality Bill This Week
December 4th, 2012
Today’s Order Paper (DOC: 37KB/4 pages) for the Uganda Parliament shows that among the first items on the agenda is a report from the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee. That committee is expected to present the results of its investigation on last week’s chaotic breakdown in Parliament which led to its suspension for the rest of the week.
Parliament’s session ended last Tuesday when Speaker Rebecca Kadaga suddenly bolted from the chamber after losing control of the debate over a controversial clause in one of the Petroleum Bills. Proposed changes to Clause 9 of the Petroleum( Exploration, Development and Production) Bill would empower a single person in President Yoweri Museveni’s cabinet to negotiate and sign contracts for oil exploration, drilling, refining and transportation. Because the bill gives no oversight or transparancy into that process, it will effectively legalize the wholesale theft of Uganda’s potential oil wealth. The proposed changes to Clause 9 are backed by Museveni, whose ruling National Resistance Movement controls more than 70% of Parliament, making the clause’s passage very likely.
So, what does the timeline for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill look like? Today’s report from the Rules Committee will likely be boistrous and time consuming, and may take most of the day today. But once that’s done, movement on the two Petroleum Bill’s could go rather quickly — as early as tomorrow — assuming Museveni has sufficiently incentivised his MPs to complete the legalized swindle.
Once that’s done (and after a vote on the Accountants Bill, which Warren Throckmorton reports has already occurred.), then the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will be the first bill “on deck” as “business to follow.” If Museveni’s version of Clause 9 of the Petroleum Bill becomes law, the government will likely find the debate and passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to be a very politically useful diversion. He will need a lot of minds, both inside and outside of Parliament, taken off of what has happened and focused onto the one thing that has proven effective in uniting everyone: their collective hatred of gay people. That diversion will have to come very quickly if it is to achieve its maximum effect, which means that Uganda could conceivably be ready to start legally executing gay people — while Museveni quietly begins legally diverting the impoverished nation’s oil wealth to himself, his family and cronies — by the weekend. Merry Christmas, everybody!
More on Germany’s Aid Cut to Uganda; Local Papers React
December 3rd, 2012
Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade followed up on last week’s announcement by Dirk Niebel, Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), that Germany has suspended its foreign aid to Uganda. Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, told Johnson that the announced cuts were related to direct governmental assistance and wouldn’t affect programs:
“My understanding is that the German government decided to cut direct structural assistance from Germany to the government to the government of Uganda, but that their investments in development and other programs will continue,” Bromley said. “So, it’s not an across-the-board cut, but it’s a temporary suspension of direct structural assistance to the government.”
But Uganda’s Sunday Monitor, the nation’s largest independent newspaper, contends that Germany’s ambassador to Kampala, Klaus Dieter Düxmann, has denied Germany was cutting aid. In an article headlined, “Germany says no to cutting aid,” John Njoroge reported:
“It is not true. We are maintaining development assistance to Uganda,” Mr Düxmann said yesterday. “The embassy will give further communication in this respect in the coming days.”
But a close look at what Ambassador Düxmann said — “We are maintaining development assistance to Uganda.” — does not contradict what Bromley said, nor does it address direct government-to-government structural aid, which the Ugandan news magazine The Observer described as “budget-support aid to Uganda” — in other words, aid that was given directly to the Ugandan government to support specific governmental functions.
In last week’s announcement, Niebel cited a massive corruption in the Ugandan Prime Minister’s office in which funds from Europe were discovered in the private bank accounts of more than a dozen Ugandan officials. German also cited a U.N. report accusing Uganda and Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Parliament’s decision to consider passing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
It’s interesting that, so far, neither The Observer nor Monitor have mentioned the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as a factor in Germany’s announcement.
The pro-government New Vision’s report however was more-or-less straightforward, both in the fact of Germany’s announcement and the reasons why. Of course, being pro-government meant that there has to be some amount of spin:
Uganda has said it is determined to punish all officials involved in embezzling the money, which was meant to fund recovery efforts in northern areas of the country after a lengthy insurgency by the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Germany was equally concerned about legislation that will impose an array of jail terms for convicted homosexuals, including life imprisonment in certain circumstances. U.S. President Barack Obama has branded the bill as “odious”.
“If discrimination against human rights is voted through by the Ugandan parliament, this would have consequences for our cooperation,” said Niebel.
Aid accounts for about 25 percent of Uganda’s annual budget.
Cutting the funds would put public investments in health and education at risk in Africa’s largest coffee exporter.
Of course, New Vision neglects to mention the death penalty, which is still in the Anti-Homosexuality bill despite rumors and false reports to the contrary.
Perhaps Monitor’s confusion over what Germany has done stems from another lengthy article by Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi which was published Saturday under the title, “Why Germany will not cut aid over gay bill.” Basing her thesis on an interview with Markus Loning, commissioner for human rights policy and humanitarian aid in Germany’s Foreign Office on November 22 — a little over a week before last week’s announcement — Sserunjogi wrote that the German government was following the advice of local Ugandan LGBT advocates:
The German government is taking advice from gay rights activists and will not cut aid to Uganda due to the anti-gay bill now before parliament but will pressure individual politicians to block it. A German official says that they have been convinced that aid cuts don’t produce the desired results.
“Activists on the ground are asking us to do it privately and talk to people responsible to see that the law does not pass,” said Mr Markus Loning, commissioner for human rights policy and humanitarian aid at the federal foreign office. Mr Loning was speaking at a conference on homosexuality and religion in Berlin on November 22.
When the Bill was first tabled in the last parliament, Mr Loning travelled to Uganda and talked to the then Speaker Edward Ssekandi and human rights activists.
Another official told us that the German foreign office told President Museveni that bilateral cooperation would cease if the Bill was passed. In short, Germany was threatening to withdraw aid to Uganda.
That threat is now on hold. “We get the backlash when aid is cut or Ugandan public figures are humiliated over gay rights,” Christine Kasha of Freedom and Roam Uganda told the conference. Ms Kasha, who is a lesbian, says gays are also Ugandans and the projects funded by donors help them too.
Sserunjogi’s article is quite sympathetic, particularly when she describes comments made at a conference in Berlin where the documentary film Call Me Kuchu was screened. The documentary described the struggles of the gay community in Kampala to secure even the most basic human rights, and ends with the murder of LGBT advocate David Kato. Sserunjogi wrote:
And the German government takes the issue seriously. “We take interest in human rights because it is an obligation from our history,” said Mr Loning. Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler infamously tortured and killed gays.
Given the experiences of Nazism and later the Germany Democratic Republic in the former East Germany, said Mr Stefan Boberg, the Germans said “Never again”. Mr Boberg specialises in Nazi history and is a guide at the former concentration camp, Sachsenhausen, where tens of thousands died of starvation, labour and execution. Some of them were gays. He said the Nazis tortured and killed gays to “cleanse the German race”. …During the Nazi rule, he said, almost 30,000 men were sent to jail for homosexual practices while the more unfortunate ones ended up in concentration camps.
Sserunjogi also profiled an openly gay Muslim Cleric from South Africa and the Rev. Michael Kimindi from Other Sheep Africa Church in Kenya.
The Observer, for its part, very briefly reported on Germany’s announcement on aid cuts, along with the news that several local civil society organizations will mount an anti-corruption campaign beginning today:
Led by the Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda (ACCU), the CSOs [civil society organizations] gave the theme of the week as ‘Act against corruption now’. Other organisations include Action Aid, Uganda Debt Network (UDN), Transparency International, and Uganda National NGO Forum. They said the campaign would help expose the thieves in the country, citing scandals in the pension section in the ministry of Public Service, Office of the Prime Minister, and ministry of Local Government (LC bicycles), among others.
In one of the present scams, about Shs 50bn is believed to have been swindled in the OPM, with a host of civil servants, including OPM [Office of the Prime Minister] Principal Accountant Geoffrey Kazinda, already interdicted over the graft. The East African Bribery Report 2012, by Transparency International, ranks Uganda the most corrupt country in the region, with most bribery being recorded in the public service sector instead of private sector.
To give you an idea of the size of the scandal, 50 billion Uganda Shillings is about US$18.7 million.
Germany Announces Three Year Suspension of Aid to Uganda
November 30th, 2012
The budget support for Uganda of the BMZ has been exposed. That gave Dirk Niebel, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, announced today in Berlin. Reasons are a massive corruption scandal in Prime Minister’s Office, the allegations of the United Nations, the Ugandan military support the rebel group M23 in eastern Congo, and the debate that has flared up again about an anti-gay legislation in Uganda.
Ugandan Court had uncovered one of the most serious corruption scandals in recent years, in which 13 million euro budget support funds were embezzled from a program for the development of Northern Uganda. German funds are not affected.
Dirk Niebel: “I welcome the fact that the Ugandan Court’s task was just here Even if German agents were not concerned, I have arranged to Germany in accordance with all other donors holding back the pending disbursement of budget support We are setting a clear.. Signs: Budget support is an anomaly It reflects the highest confidence in the good governance of partners where trust has been disappointed, we must draw the appropriate consequences Therefore, the preparation for a new budget support commitments, which was planned for the period 2013 to 2015… placed on ice. ”
Reason for the decision also allegations against Uganda, the rebel group M23 in eastern Congo are to support logistically and financially. Such accusations are for the first time in the UN report of 12 October has been mentioned.
Dirk Niebel. “There is evidence that M23 was also supported by Ugandan locations logistically and materially to what extent, the Ugandan government is actively involved, remains to be the expert group of the United Nations is mandated to verify the allegations in more detail..”
The human rights situation in Uganda observed BMZ remains critical. Dirk Niebel: “We are concerned that the debate about a tightening of legislation against homosexuals in Uganda resurgence Who fired the debate in Uganda, know the needs that he so the international image of the country causing damage Should human rights discrimination in.. Ugandan Parliament be adopted, it could not remain without consequences for our cooperation. “
While the debate over the Anti-Homosxuality Bill is mentioned in the BMZ’s announcement, the main catalyist for the cuts appear to be the massive corruption scandal that was exposed in the Uganda Prime Minister’s office and the UN report alleging Uganda’s covert support for the M23 rebels in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Britain, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden have previously announced that they were cutting direct aid to the Ugandan government after learning that much of it went into the personal bank account of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. Britain then followed with another announcement that it had gone further by freezing all bilateral aid, including aid to NGO’s and Ugandan financial institutions as well. Total bilateral aid for this year was set for £98.9 million (US$157 million), but it’s not known how much of that aid was already disbursed.
Sweden, Britain, and the European Union have previously stated that they would cut foreign aid to Uganda if the Anti-Homosexuality Bill becomes law. LGBT and other human rights advocates in Uganda argue that public statements like these are unhelpful because they have the opposite of their intended effect. They embolden Anti-Homosexuality Bill supporters to not only prove their contempt for gay people but also to prove their patriotism and “African-ness” against what they see as foreign (read: colonial) coercion.
AP Is Wrong: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Still Has The Death Penalty
November 30th, 2012
The lead paragraphs in this Associated Press article states:
The Ugandan lawmaker who originally authored an anti-gay bill proposing death for some homosexual acts said Friday that a new version of the proposed legislation doesn’t contain the death penalty.
Parliamentarian David Bahati said the bill, which is expected to be voted on next month, had “moved away from the death penalty after considering all the issues that have been raised.”
“There is no death penalty,” he told The Associated Press.
And because its the AP, the lie that has been heard at least fifteen times around the world over the past three years is embarking on yet another world tour, first in the New York Times, Washington Post and Fox, and from there to local news outlets. LGBT outlets and blogs — all of which have no excuse for not knowing better — are picking it up, including Queerty and Pink News. Even Huffington Post has jumped on board to turn its erstwhile progressive pages over to Bahati’s publicist.
But despite these latest reports you’ve read — or the fifteen or more before them — the death penalty has not been removed. That can only happen when the full Parliament decides to vote on the Legal and Parliamentary Committee’s recommendation to remove the death penalty from Clause 3. And that will only stand the greatest chance of happening if the Legal and Parliamentary Committee actually recommends making that change — which its members claims was done but can’t show you the committee’s draft report because its a “secret.” Which should be a red flag the size of North Korea’s because the last time the Legal and Parliamentary Committee claimed it recommended removing the death penalty, it actually did no such thing.
What short memory spans everyone has. It was just last week when the BBC – per its usual jumping-the-gun instinct – announced that the decision to drop the death penalty was a done deal. In case you’re counting, that’s at least the third time the BBC announced the death penalty’s demise, and its third announcement proved just as wrong as the earlier two. So when an unnamed source at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala confirmed to the Washington Blade that:
…the committee can only compile a report on the bill for recommendations to the bill, and can’t make changes to it. That means the panel can’t take out the death penalty provision for “aggravated homosexuality,” which media sources reported was removed.
But as we’ve said repeatedly, it has never been removed. And we will never tell you that it has been removed until and unless, you know, it has been removed – which has never happened in the bill’s entire three year history. Although the bill’s supporters have done their best to try to convince you otherwise.
And by the intensity of the campaign to try to convince media outlets that it either has been dropped or will be dropped, I don’t believe it will go through Parliament without it. Maybe if they tell you the same lie for the seventeenth time, that will be the time you should believe it. But not me.
As we go forward in this process, please keep these links handy for future reference:
How a Private Member’s Bill Becomes Law In Uganda: When someone says the death penalty has been removed or any other change was made to the bill, remind yourself to ask at what stage in the process is the bill in?
Don’t Believe It Until You See It: News Reports Claim Uganda Drops Death Penalty From Anti-Gay Bill: And when someone says the death penalty has been removed or the bill was dropped, remind yourself of the many other times you’ve heard that story before.
And by the way, even if a miracle happens and the death penalty is removed at some point, there are still nineteen odious clauses of the bill, each of which, on their own, represents a serious threat to human rights in Uganda for gay and straight people alike:
Clauses 1 and 2: Anybody Can Be Gay Under the Law. The definition of what constitutes “homosexual act” is so broad that just about anyone can be convicted.
Clause 3: Anyone Can Be “Liable To Suffer Death”. And you don’t even have to be gay to be sent to the gallows. There has been talk of removing the death penalty — which has not happened yet; it’s just talk — and replacing it with a life sentence. But can anyone seriously imaging that spending a lifetime in Uganda’s notorious Luzira prison is any better? Especially once your fellow prisoners learn that you were sent there for “aggravated homosexuality”?
Clause 4: Anyone Can “Attempt to Commit Homosexuality”. All you have to do is “attempt” to “touch” “any part of of the body” “with anything else” “through anything” in an act that does “not necessarily culminate in intercourse.”
Clauses 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10: How To Get Out Of Jail Free. The bill is written to openly encourage — and even pay — one partner to turn state’s evidence against another.
Clauses 7, 11, and 14: Straight People In The Crosshairs. Did you think they only wanted to jail gay people? They’re also targeting family members, doctors, lawyers, and even landlords.
Clause 12: Till Life Imprisonment Do You Part. And if you officiate a same-sex wedding, you’ll be imprisoned for up to three years. So much for religious freedom.
Clause 13: The Silencing of the Lambs. All advocacy — including suggesting that the law might be repealed — will land you in jail. With this clause, there will be no one left to defend anyone.
Clause 14: The Requirement Isn’t To Report Just Gay People To Police. It’s To Report Everyone. Look closely: the requirement is to report anyone who has violated any the bill’s clauses.
Clauses 16 and 17: The Extra-Territorially Long Arm of Ugandan Law. Think you’re safe if you leave the country? Think again.
Clause 18: We Don’t Need No Stinking Treaties. The bill not only violates several international treaties, it also turns the Ugandan constitution on its head.
Clauses 15 and 19: The Establishment Clauses For The Ugandan Inquisition. These clauses empower the Ethics and Integrity Minister to enforce all of the bill’s provisions. He’s already gotten a head start.
American Jewish World Service Condemns Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill
November 29th, 2012
And they see parallels between Uganda’s attempt to wipe out gay people from their country and another historical precedent:
Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), today issued the following statement about Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which may be voted upon by that country’s parliament in the coming days:
Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill is an abhorrent violation of human rights against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and a grave threat to civil society in Uganda. Whenever basic human rights such as equal treatment under the law and the rights to safety, assembly, association, expression and privacy are denied, we are compelled to speak out.
The most tragic chapter of Jewish history provides a bitter lesson that the stripping away of human rights from specific minorities is often a precursor to the targeted destruction of oppressed people.
We stand in solidarity with Uganda’s LGBT community and with the defenders of human rights in Uganda, who work tirelessly to safeguard the rights and dignity of all.
Uganda Parliament Speaker suspends House sessions
November 28th, 2012
The contentious House session dealing with the assignment of control over the nation’s oil resources to the government (without oversight) ended on Monday when the Speaker stomped out the door. Now she is suspending sessions:
The Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Kadaga Rebecca has suspended sittings of the House and directed the Parliament Committee on Rules Privileges and Discipline to review the behaviour of MPs in Tuesday’s Sitting.
In her address to Parliament November 28, the Speaker described the conduct exhibited by Members in yesterday’s prematurely adjourned House as unparliamentarily, unruly and disorderly. She said the behaviour exhibited by some MPs was beneath the dignity and honour expected of Honourable Members.
She has directed the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee to review video of the session and report back on Monday with recommendations for punishment of unruly members.
Catholic Bishops give grants to Uganda
November 28th, 2012
And meanwhile, in an entirely 100% coincidental move that has nothing at all whatsoever to do with US concern over the Ugandan Kill the Gays Bill, the Us Catholic Bishops have chosen today to announce new piles of cash being sent to Uganda and her neighbors. (Albany Tribune)
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Africa approved 49 grants to 16 episcopal conferences and 4 regional associations of the Church in Africa for a total of $1,226,500. The subcommittee approved the grants during the USCCB’s General Assembly meeting in Baltimore.
Grant to Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania will help implement the Year of Faith and the new evangelization. With the addition of these most recent awards, the subcommittee has given out 109 grants for a total of $2,805,442 in aid this year.
How a Private Member’s Bill Becomes Law In Uganda
November 27th, 2012
Ugandan LGBT advcoate Kasha Jacqueline posted this helpful tutorial on her Facebook page. I took the liberty of changing the bullets to numbers so we can identify the stage where the Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently stands, which appears to be at B.5, in which the committee is preparing its final report for the full House.
THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
The Process of the Bill in Parliament
How a Bill becomes Law
1. PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILL. Article 79(1) of the constitutional provides that “parliament shall have the power to make the Laws on any matter for the peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda”. A bill is a draft of an Act of parliament and includes both a private member’s Bill and a Government Bill. A private member’s Bill is moved by a backbench MP.
- MP. Committee chairperson moves motion seeking leave (permission) to present private member’s Bill.
- Provides proposed draft of the Bill.
- MPs debate and vote on motion.
- If the MPs reject the motion; the private member’s Bill is dropped.
- If the motion is approved: printing and publication of the Bill is done by clerk to parliament.
- Bill is published in the Gazette
- Private member’s Bill is introduced for the first reading accompanied by certificate of financial implication.
- Speakers refer Bill to appropriate committee.
- Committee scrutinizes Bill
- Calls responsible mover(s)
- Calls various stakeholders and government in public hearings
- Reviews relevant and related laws/documents
- Writes report with proposed amendments to plenary
NOTE: The committee can only propose amendments and changes to the bill. It cannot make those changes directly. Those changes can only be made through the following steps:
- Mover moves and justifies motion for second Reading of the Bill
- Committee chairperson presents report on the Bill
- Minority Report is presented (if it exists )
- MPs debate committee report on principles of the Bill
- Parliament votes for second Reading of the Bill
- Bill referred to the committee of the whole house
D. Committee of the Whole House
- Committee of the whole house means a committee composed of the whole body MPs.
- Chaired by the speaker /deputy speaker (referred to as chairperson)
- Sits in the chamber.
- Speakers leaves the chair, sits at the clerk’s Table
- MPs approve causes, and schedules of the Bill.
- MP in charge of Bill asks plenary to resume
- Reports outcome of committee of the whole house
- Plenary votes for Third Reading of the Bill
F. Clerk’s office
- Clerk’s office prepares copies for authentication and Assent of the president.
- Copy sent to the president.
G. Presidents office
- President assents to Act of parliament*
- Act of parliament becomes Law of Uganda
- Implementation starts on commencement date
- Law is published in government Gazette
*president may reject to give assent
Constitution provides that the president shall within 30 days after a bill is presented to him/her either:-
- Assent to the bill
- Return the bill to parliament with a request that the bill or a particular provision of it be reconsidered by parliament; or
- Notify the speaker in writing about the decision
The bill may be reconsidered and then presented for the president’s approval. However it may become law without the president’s assent if he/she returns it to parliament two times. It should have the support of at least two-thirds of all MPs.
Where Are the Religious Leaders? Ctd.
November 27th, 2012
I have two follow-ups to my post this morning. I was completely remiss in neglecting to recognize the heroic efforts of Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at the evangelical Grove City College in Pennsylvania, who has been an outspoken critic of not just the Anti-Homosexuality Bill itself, but of the events leading up to it going all the way back to that fateful conference in Kampala in March 2009. It was only a few years earlier that Dr. Throckmorton had been an advocate for the ex-gay movement, before his critical thinking got the better of him. I don’t know if he qualifies as a religious leader per se, but he is certainly a leader who is led by his faith.
Perhaps a more puzzling religious leader to come out against the anti-homosexuality bill is Solomon Male, a Ugandan pentecostal pastor who is as anti-gay as they come. Male, along with pastors Martin Ssempa and Robert Kayiira were recently found guilty of being part of a conspiracy to falsely accusing a rival pastor of homosexuality. In a post at The African Report, Male says this about Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill:
Religious leaders, members of the National Coalition Against Homosexuality and Sexual Abuses in Uganda (NCAHSAU), said the proposed law will not end homosexuality in the East African country. NCAHSAU director Solomon Male said the bill that has drawn worldwide condemnation was populist.
“The basis of our anti-homosexuality initiatives since 2006, which culminated in the formation of our organisation was to sensitise the public about the challenge and dangers of homosexuality and sexual abuses,” he said. “It led to some politicians coming up with a hurried populist, opportunistic and hypocritical bill against homosexuality, which is now before parliament.”
Male said their organisation was set up to fight for the rights of victims of homosexuality. He claimed many youths were being lured into homosexuality while at school and in churches. However, Male accused security agencies of covering up for prominent people who behind the activities. He accused MP David Bahati who originated the bill of riding on the popularity of their campaign to further his political interests.
“As the national campaign against homosexuality became popular, Honourable David Bahati and his team came up with the anti-homosexuality bill 2009,” Male said. “Although it may have been well intentioned, we feel that it will not achieve what many Ugandans think it will achieve. It is a waste of precious time, financial and other resources that should have been applied more productively elsewhere.”
He maintained that existing laws were sufficient to deal with people who force others into homosexuality.
“Our Penal Code has very good laws, sufficient to address homosexuality and abuse of children, which the proposed law is purportedly intended to address.”
Jeff Sharlet’s indispensable book, C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy includes this passage in which Male and Kyazze share their suspicions about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (pp. 152-153):
Kyazze and Pastor Male are nothing if not ambitious. Their only critique of the bill is that it is actually too soft on homosexuality. They see a clause forbidding the media from exposing victims of gay rape as evidence there’s a gay infiltrator within their ranks. Even (James Nsaba) Buturo the (former) minister of ethics and integrity and chairman of the Fellowship group from which the bill emerged, is suspect in their eyes. They don’t think he’s gay, but they wonder whether he’s protecting powerful homosexuals. Like many Ugandans, both pastors believe the bill’s timing has as much to do with a massive corruption inquiry that has brushed closer to the dictator than any other.
By no means do I place Warren Throckmorton on the same category as Solomon Male. But they are, as far as I can recall, the only two prominent Christian leaders who have spoken out recently against the bill. There are miles of room along the spectrum between the two men that any number of other pastors can chose from to speak out, and frankly, I don’t much care right today where they wish to place themselves along that spectrum. Just speak out. That’s all you have to do.
Uganda Parliament Descends Into Chaos Over Oil Bills
November 27th, 2012
I’ve been telling you how contentious the Petroleum Bill’s are in Uganda’s Parliament. Daily Monitor has just reported:
Parliament is in disarray as the Speaker, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, suddenly abandons chairing the day’s afternoon session when emotions ran high and chaos descended upon a scheduled debate on the now-controversial oil Bill.
Ms Kadaga stormed out through a side door when it became clear that she had lost control of proceedings. The Sergeants-At-Arms was seen taking position beside the ceremonial Mace moments before she suddenly exited the chambers as MPs engaged in a chaotic exchange. …There is still no indication whether Parliament is still in session – minus a Speaker to chair proceedings – or it has been adjourned.
Some have suggested that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill might be used as a diversion to the controversial oil bills, which empowers a single person in President Yoweri Museveni’s cabinet to negotiate and sign contracts for oil exploration, drilling, refining and transportation. The bills also provide virtually no oversight or transparency in the process, which is sure to cement Uganda’s reputation as eastern Africa’s most corrupt country. If Parliament does clear the two Petroleum Bills, then the Anti-Homosexuality Bill may become politically useful to many members of the government who will want to distract the public from the massive theft of oil wealth that is about to take place. This may explain why the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is next on the list.
Which means that Uganda’s oil policy can be summed up this way: yes, we’re going to steal your oil wealth — but look over there! Homosexuals!!!