Ugandan Government Responds to Introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

This just in from the Uganda Media Centre:

ANTI-HOMOSEXUAL BILL

February 08, 2012

RESPONSE TO INTERNATIONAL CRITICISM

OF DEBATE ON ANTI-HOMOSEXUAL BILL

Uganda has today been the subject of mass international criticism as a result of the debate on the Anti-Homosexual Bill at parliament. What many of these critics fail to convey is the bill itself was introduced by a back bencher. It does not form part of the government’s legislative programme and it does not enjoy the support of the Prime Minister or the Cabinet. However as Uganda is a constitutional democracy, it is appropriate that if a private members bill is presented to parliament it be debated.

Cultural attitudes in Africa are very different to elsewhere in world, 2/3 of African countries outlaw homosexual activity and 80% of east African countries criminalize it. Whilst on a global level more than 80 countries outlaw homosexual acts. Contrary to reports, the bill before parliament even if it were to pass, would not sanction the death penalty for homosexual behavior in Uganda.

Many international governments and politicians, who have criticized Uganda for debating this private members bill, remain mute in the face of far graver and far more draconian legislation relating to homosexuality in other countries. One might ask for example, if Uganda enjoyed as close a relationship with the US and European countries as Saudi Arabia (which sentences homosexuals to corporate and capital punishment) would we have attracted the same opprobrium as a result of allowing this parliamentary debate.

Unlike many other countries, no one in Uganda has ever been charged with the criminal offence of homosexuality. Moreover the main provisions of this bill were designed to stem the issue of defilement and rape which in the minds of Ugandan’s is a more pressing and urgent matter that needs to be addressed.

As a parliamentary democracy this process of debate will continue. Whilst the government of Uganda does not support this bill, it is required under our constitution to facilitate this debate. The facilitation of this debate should not be confused for the governments support for this bill.

Fred Opolot

Executive Director

What is confusing here, and perhaps intentionally so, is the statement above that the bill would not lead to the death penalty. The plain language of the bill does require it for HIV positive people and serial offenders. And, let’s remember, life in a Ugandan prison is also called for in this bill for any homosexual intimacy.

The designation of Bahati as a “back bencher” may be intended to make it seem that Bahati is an insignificant figure in Uganda. However, this is not the case. Bahati is currently the deputy chief whip for the ruling National Resistance Movement party. The NRM is the party of President Yowari Museveni and is the dominant political party in Uganda. Bahati has a position of power and influence within the party and as such is not a minor player.

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  • Lynn David

    Warren…. What is confusing here, and perhaps intentionally so, is the statement above that the bill would not lead to the death penalty. The plain language of the bill does require it for HIV positive people and serial offenders. And, let’s remember, life in a Ugandan prison is also called for in this bill for any homosexual intimacy.

    They don’t know what they’re talking about in the bill at all in the first place. They already had a defilement law. And this bill violates basic human rights.

  • Maazi NCO

    They don’t know what they’re talking about in the bill at all in the first place. They already had a defilement law. And this bill violates basic human rights.

    We do not accept gayism as a human right. Like I have said again and again, if you don’t like what is happening in Uganda then cut your donor aid. Don’t worry about us. Just cut the aid package and leave us alone.

  • Maazi NCO

    The designation of Bahati as a “back bencher” may be intended to make it seem that Bahati is an insignificant figure in Uganda. However, this is not the case. Bahati is currently the deputy chief whip for the ruling National Resistance Movement

    The Honourable MP David Bahati (Ndorwa West) was indeed a “back-bencher” in 2009 when the bill was introduced. He only became deputy chief whip of the parliamentary wing of his political party recently. Therefore, the statement issued by the Executive Branch of the Ugandan State is “technically correct”. I must say I am pleased that the Executive will not be interfering in the democratic processes of this parliament. The cabinet ministers are free to butter up Westerners and lick their backsides, but the Executive Branch must let parliament do its work without hindrance. No foreigner will get right of veto in our parliament.

  • Lynn David

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know about your self-righteously immoral views on human freedom, Maazi.

  • anteros

    “no one in Uganda has ever been

    charged with the criminal offence

    of homosexuality”

    that’s not true.

  • anteros

    even before we talk about conviction… the common practice of extortion and blackmail facilitated by discriminatory laws ensures that court is typically a secondary or tertiary actor in the victimization of lgbti citizens.

  • Richard Willmer

    We should never forget Bahati’s true aim: the extermination of gay people. He’s on record saying that this is what he really wants and, in its current form, this is what the Bill is designed to deliver. No amount of wriggling by Museveni, Maaziveni, Opolot or anyone else can disguise this.

    And anteros is quite correct about arrests of gays, e.g.: http://madikazemi.blogspot.com/2011/07/another-arrested-tortured-gay-ugandan.html

    Clause 2 of the Bill has nothing to with rape or defilement; Clause 3 mandates death for both consensual and non-consensual sex. We muzungus CAN read … and read the Bill (with and without Tahsobya’s ‘little changes’) we have. We know what the Bill says, even if ‘Maazi’ and BBC are having ‘reading difficulties’. (The BBC has reported that the [quick] death penalty has been removed, having perhaps been fooled by Trashy Tashy’s little ‘play on words’ last May.)

  • anteros

    “no one in Uganda has ever been charged with the criminal offence of homosexuality”

    not true at all…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkXV7eUBf94

  • Richard Willmer

    Absolutely!

  • anteros

    …who was saying what about propaganda?

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi NCO MP’ is a kind of ‘walking compendium’ of cliche, dissembling, irrelevance and propaganda. The STYLE of his comments alone gives this away (he reads like a ‘broken record’ or a automated announcement). He is also clearly no expert when it comes to jurisprudence, employing as he does the old ‘tu quoque’ defence when trying to trying to justify the planned extermination programme that masquerades as an instrument of law.

    All governments and parliaments are subject to a certain amount of corruption; NOT all governments and parliaments are working to enact ‘legislation’ designed to kill, whether quickly or slowly, whole groups of people.

    Some might wonder why Uganda seems to be being ‘singled out’ for such particular opprobrium. I believe there are three reasons:-

    1. the peculiarly barbarous and totalitarian nature of the Bahati Bill;

    2. the attempted trickery, exemplified most strongly be the ‘Tashobya Affair’ last May (I detected a very decisive ‘step change’ in the FCO’s attitude to the situation at that point);

    3. the muddle there has been (which indicates, amongst other things, a faint possibility of victory for us).

    ‘Barbarity, Trickery, Muddle’ – this could be equivalent of ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ for the Undemocratic Republic of Bahatiland.

  • Richard Willmer

    There is perhaps a FOURTH reason: killing or effectively disabling the Bill, or decisive action if it, or anything like it, is enacted, would send a strong message to other countries that might be considering ‘bahatifying’ themselves. Bahati’s agenda is not confined to Uganda; he has admitted as much in the past. He hopes influence other countries; we must be prepared to use all peaceful means to prevent him from doing so.

  • Richard Willmer

    Just seen this: http://sebaspace.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/bahati-anti-gay-bill-revived-to-teach-museveni-a-lesson/

    (I do like a bit of clever politics in a good cause!)

  • anteros

    interesting article! thanks Richard.

  • Richard Willmer

    You’re welcome, anteros.

    (And things that ‘Maazi NCO MP’ have said do accord with the general thesis in the article. Interestingly, ‘the West’ is not exactly given ‘a round of applause’ either!)