Ugandan government negotiates with Bahati over antigay bill

According to an AllAfrica summaryof a Daily Monitor article that I cannot find, members of the Ugandan Cabinet met with David Bahati, author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and asked him to withdraw the bill in favor of other legislation which would do the same thing.

A Cabinet sub-committee formed to study the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2010 and report back to Cabinet, yesterday added a spin into the Bill and called for its withdrawal.

In a closed-door meeting with Mr David Bahati, the mover of the Bill, the sub-committee said some of the penalties proposed in the Bill could be catered for by the Penal Code Act and the yet-to-come Sexual Offences Bill.

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Sources, who attended the meeting, said the sub-committee, chaired by First Deputy Premier Eriya Kategaya, suggested that if Mr Bahati did not mind a lot, he could withdraw the Bill. “They said Cabinet doesn’t agree with the death penalty which the Bill proposes,” a source, who cannot be named because they are not authorised to speak on behalf of Cabinet, said. “They asked Bahati to drop the Bill if he doesn’t care much.”

I have spoken to David Bahati on several occasions, and I know he cares a lot, so I am not surprised by his reported take on the meeting.

Sources also said Mr Bahati went with Commissioners Denis Obua and Justine Lumumba and MPs Beatrice Lagada, Wilfred Niwagaba and Fred Nkaayi. Mr Bahati acknowledged meeting the subcommittee but refuted claims that he had been asked to withdraw the Bill. “The meeting was purposed to build a win-win situation so that we improve on the Bill but we continue upholding the values of our country.”

Early last year after meeting Cabinet over the Bill, Mr Bahati said he was willing to amend the proposed law but “without putting the values of the country at risk”. The sub-committee was set up by President Museveni after pressure from the US and other countries in Europe to drop the Bill.

Earlier today I had an email exchange with a member of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee who told me that the committee will raise the issue before Parliament as a matter of urgent concern next week. However, he added that the bill would probably not be considered this session in part due to an upcoming Easter recess.

According to these minutes of Parliament from 2004, the Sexual Offences Bill has been discussed since about 2001.

On the issue of defilement, Sir, Sexual Offences Bill has been pending for more than three years. We had hoped that it would come to Parliament sooner than later…

I have asked several insiders there for a copy of the SOB but none of them have seen it. International observers who assume that the end of the Parliament will bring the end of the effort to toughen laws against homosexual behavior and free speech are probably wrong. The govt’s call for withdrawal is more of a political maneuver than an expression of a difference over outcomes.

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  • Maazi NCO

    According to an AllAfrica summaryof a Daily Monitor article that I cannot find, members of the Ugandan Cabinet met with David Bahati, author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and asked him to withdraw the bill in favor of other legislation which would do the same thing.

    As a gesture of good will, I hereby present to you the elusive source for the Daily Monitor article. Please click here

    International observers who assume that the end of the Parliament will bring the end of the effort to toughen laws against homosexual behavior and free speech are probably wrong. The govt’s call for withdrawal is more of a political maneuver than an expression of a difference over outcomes.

    It all comes down to what I have been saying repeatedly, but many western gay sex lobbyists commenting here wouldn’t listen. The idea of containing miltant gay sex advocacy has been an ongoing non-political law enforcement effort long before Bahati, Buturo et al came to office. It is an idea bigger than Bahati, Buturo, Ssempa and the evangelical wing of the Ugandan population. I reiterate again—there is no way the Ugandan State will tolerate militant gay sex advocacy especially when it risks potential civil unrest. This is not about getting anyone killed, it is about making sure that everyone understands that the will of the vast majority of Ugandans on culturally sensitive matters of this nature have to be upheld in the interest of social stability. There has been a lot of misinterpretations of what the Ugandan State’s plans are on this matter. I keep reading all these funny foreign characters claiming that once Ssempa and Bahati are struck down, everything would be alright for so-called “gay rights” propagation in Uganda. Anyways, the passage of time will eventually point out who is right and who is wrong. Meanwhile “work on social stability” continues in the “Ugandan background” away from the prying eyes of nosy foreign lobbyists.

  • Maazi NCO

    Earlier today I had an email exchange with a member of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee who told me that the committee will raise the issue before Parliament as a matter of urgent concern next week.

    Just wanted to add that some representatives of the Ugandan people have planned for the worst case scenario, but hope for the best case scenario. The prognosis for both scenarios are very good. The difference between the best and worst case scenarios is just the space of time

  • anteros

    …says Maazi while anxiously paying attention to the “many western gay sex lobbyists commenting here”

  • Maazi NCO

    says Maazi while anxiously paying attention to the “many western gay sex lobbyists commenting here”

    Oh yes, it is important to know who your adversaries are and keep within earshot so that you can learn their plans in advance ! ! -:)

  • anteros

    *gasp* …espionage! western gay sex lobbyists look out! Maazi’s takin a sneak peek at your secret blogsphere plans!

    get a life, dude.

  • Richard Willmer

    Of course the fight against hate campaigns will need to continue into the new parliament. No sensible person thinks otherwise. As for ‘Maazi’s’ adversaries: well, there are plenty of those both within and outside UG, and they are often better-informed than he realises …

    My guess is that the Government (as opposed to [rich] raving loonies like Bahati and Ssempa) are more concerned with economic issues, and is looking for a face-saving ‘way out’ of this hate-inspired ‘pickle’. It’s a pity that ordinary Ugandans are suffering soaring prices for so many commodities while Bahati and Ssempa (and ‘Maazi’) play their nasty little games. (At least inflation is only at c.5% per annum in the UK, as opposed to 50%+ price rises for things like bread, rice and fuel that both gay and straight Ugandans have seen in the past few months.)

  • Richard Willmer

    (I would say that inflation at 5% per annum is also unacceptably high, especially given that inflation, by its very nature, always hits the poorest hardest.)

  • Richard Willmer

    Back to the Bill: one problem that M7 faces is that any further discriminatory laws (as opposed to non-discriminatory laws designed to protect children) would elicit a strongly negative response from ‘the West’, especially countries like Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Obama Administration and possibly even the UK (where the precise of nature and scope of ‘developmental partnership’ is now currently subject to ‘review’ – so I’ve recently been told by UK Foreign Ministry officials – partly in the light of the recent Bahitlerite antics).

    The ‘solution’ for the authorities is very clear to many of us: bring forward sensible, gender-neutral, non-discriminatory legislation to address such things as the sexual exploitation of the young and the vulnerable. That could break the current logjam by effectively ‘neutralising’ the anti-gay extremists.

    By the way, a well-connected friend of mine, who is also an NRM functionary, has said this today:

    “… the Monitor today reports that Hon Eriya Kategaya has asked Hon Bahati to “be so kind” and save the country from embarrassment by withdrawing his ill-advised anti gay bill. How about it Hon Bahati? Can you be so nice and save us from your mischief?”

  • Maazi NCO

    get a life, dude.

    You should take that advice yourself !!

    Of course the fight against hate campaigns will need to continue into the new parliament. No sensible person thinks otherwise. As for ‘Maazi’s’ adversaries: well, there are plenty of those both within and outside UG, and they are often better-informed than he realises

    There is no effective fight campaign in favour of gayism in Uganda in the real sense. You simply call up the Obama government and it pressures the Ugandan State to act as a kind of buffer between gay sex militants and the rest of the country. You need to ask yourself whether this will be a sustainable winning strategy in the future, especially when one sees how it failed woefully in Malawi, Zambia and Burundi.

    My guess is that the Government (as opposed to [rich] raving loonies like Bahati and Ssempa) are more concerned with economic issues

    The government is concerned with anything that will disturb social stability in the long and short term. These range from political to economic to socio-cultural matters. It is wishful thinking to expect that one problem will be allowed to fester in favour of tackling another problem.

  • Maazi NCO

    Back to the Bill: one problem that M7 faces is that any further discriminatory laws (as opposed to non-discriminatory laws designed to protect children) would elicit a strongly negative response from ‘the West’, especially countries like Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Obama Administration and possibly even the UK (where the precise of nature and scope of ‘developmental partnership’ is now currently subject to ‘review’ – so I’ve recently been told by UK Foreign Ministry officials – partly in the light of the recent Bahitlerite antics).

    That would be the same scarecrow tactics that failed to cow the much poorer Malawi. In the end, the West cannnot stop its habitual use of aid as a means of buying geo-political influence. Realpolitik always gets in the way of any pretensions to libertarian ideology. The US government restored pathetic donor aid to the Malawian government which still refused to reverse its January 2011 revision of the sodomy laws to expand the scope for punishment.

  • Richard Willmer

    The Obama Administration has indeed (for now) ‘unfrozen’ aid to Malawi, but on condition that the new anti-gay laws are not actually applied!

    Please note everybody that, compared with Bahitler’s longed-for ‘slaughterfest’, Malawi’s and Burundi’s anti-gay laws are ‘child’s play’ (although nasty enough in their own right, of course). As for Robert Mugabe: well, even M7 thinks he’s a nutcase – which is probably a fair assessment these days (although Mugabe was a very smart politician in his heydey, which is now in the dim and distant past of course)!

    I see, ‘Maazi’, you’ve not mentioned my NRM contact’s words. Do you know who he/she is, by the way? You might be rather surprised if I told you …

  • Maazi NCO

    The Obama Administration has indeed (for now) ‘unfrozen’ aid to Malawi, but on condition that the new anti-gay laws are not actually applied

    Well it is an election year in USA. Obama cannot afford to anger the sex deviants who vote for him enmasse since he failed to follow through with the policy of using aid as an effective weapon of blackmail. He has to be seen as to be acting tough on Malawi. The fact is that gayism is not a US strategic interest—it never was and it never will despite the lies democratic party politicians peddle to win the confidence of their ultra-liberal supporters.

    As for Robert Mugabe: well, even M7 thinks he’s a nutcase – which is probably a fair assessment these days

    I am not sure where Zimbabwe fits into our discussion. Why are you bringing up Mr. Mugabe?

    Please note everybody that, compared with Bahitler’s longed-for ‘slaughterfest’, Malawi’s and Burundi’s anti-gay laws are ‘child’s play’

    There is no question that the original 2009 version of the Bahati Bill is out of the running

    I see, ‘Maazi’, you’ve not mentioned my NRM contact’s words. Do you know who he/she is, by the way? You might be rather surprised if I told you

    I probably know who your contact is. But that is rather besides the point. Buttering up to western donor aid givers is part of the job of a state official. It might be dirty sometimes, but it is necessary for good reasons. Without further elaboration, let me just say that the Ugandan State will act in the best interests of social stability.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ ‘Maazi’

    I thought you had mentioned Zimbabwe, but now see that you had not done so. (You did a while back, suggesting that, because Mugabe said or thought such-and-such, then it must be a good idea!)

    So who is (one of) my contact(s) then? Tell me, dear! Let’s see if you are correct.

    As for ‘good social policy’: why do think that there is such opposition to the Bahitler Bill among senior politicians despite the fact that gay bashing is allegedly so popular in Uganda?

    One last question: in what capacity do you speak for the ‘Ugandan State’?

  • Richard Willmer

    One more thing, ‘Maazi’ dear: the freezing of aid to Malawi occurred after the mid-term election in the U.S., so it is perhaps doubtful that the prime motivation for that freezing was courting that group of people that so entrances and excites you: ‘gay sex practitioners’.

  • Richard Willmer

    Here’s another perspective on the whole issue of open and honest discussion regarding human sexuality (noting that one of Bahati’s cherished aim is to criminalise such discussion with regard to same-sex relationships): http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12975&Itemid=59

    Note also that ‘homosexuality’ is not cited as a problem with respect to this tragic rise of HIV incidence among these schoolchildren.

  • Richard Willmer

    From the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/14/world/africa/14uganda.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

    Note the rather curious ‘flip-flopping’ of Oundo (one of Ssempa’s ‘recruits’). Note also that Kagaba, despite his claims of having been abused, was content to campaign with David Kato for six long years. Note also that Oundo regards Kato’s murder as a ‘plot’.

  • Lynn David

    Maazi…. I reiterate again—there is no way the Ugandan State will tolerate militant gay sex advocacy especially when it risks potential civil unrest.

    So you’ll gladly allow plain old gay advocacy minus the militancy and sex?

  • Richard Willmer

    Bahitler and PrPP provide most of the ‘militancy’, so, if they were to fall silent, that would sort out that part; Uganda without sex is not something I regard as a likely proposition!

    (Seriously, if were ‘Maazi’, I would be cursing Bahati and Ssempa to the skies – no two people have so discredited the ‘anti-gay agenda’; I still can’t help wondering if they are secretly working for ‘the other side’!)

  • Richard Willmer

    There is a irony in the lovely ‘Maazi’s’ position: he wants to avoid ‘civil unrest’, but the rampant homophobia of the kind espoused by Bahitler could well promote it.

  • Richard Willmer

    Another irony: the homophobes say that gays are being ‘recruited’, but the real ‘recruiter’ round here is Ssempa!

    http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1140310/-/c2sydtz/-/index.html

  • Richard Willmer