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Dear all, we welcome you to this blog, it is dedicated towards improving the dire situation of the lgbt persons in Uganda where discrimination, homophobia and sexism is currently at its peak. Join our cause and struggles as we make this world a better place for humanity.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Ugandan Parliament Adjourns Without passing the Anti-Gay Bill

uganda image hands flag

14 DEC 2012.

Today after positioning at No. 7 on the Ugandan Parliament Order Papers, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill has failed to see passage in the Ugandan Parliament.  Speaker Rebecca Kadaga had promised to deliver the Bill by Xmas as an insidious gift to Ugandans.  Her efforts may have been thwarted by the contentious OIL Bill, The Accountants Bill and a trip to the Vatican that seemed to take her Xmas focus in a different direction. Parliament is now going to resume on February 4, 2013 and it is highly likely that the Bill, also known as The Kill the Gays Bil, will reappear on the Agenda at that time.  Accordingly protests and actions against the Bill should not cease, we should intensify the fight from today.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Uganda’s Parliamentary Process | How Easy to Pass The Anti-Homosexuality Bill

The Ugandan Parliament can now easily pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and despite the many  petitions by members of the International community calling for President Yoweri Museveni to VETO the Bill, the Parliamentarians do not need the President’s signature to pass the Bill and nor is he legally able to veto what is known as a Private member’s Bill. The process below reflects  the extent of the Ugandan President’s involvement in the legal and Constitutional process of the Bill.
Here is the what is left of the process:-
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is now out of THE LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE and its Report goes to Parliament for Plenary 2ND READING as follows:
1. Plenary: Mover moves and justifies motion for second Reading of the Bill
Committee chairperson presents report on the Bill (here will hear i the committee recommends removal of the Death penalty – it is not public before this time and then must still be debated)
Minority Report is presented  (if there is one)
2. 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
3. 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 clauses, and schedules (of ) the Bill.
4. Plenary
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
5. Clerk’s office
Clerk’s office prepares copies for authentication and Assent of the president.
Copy sent to the president.
6. Presidents office
Constitution provides that the president shall within 30 days after a bill is presented to him either
a. Assent to the bill
President can assent to it as being an Act of parliament: if he chooses and then
As an Act of Parliament it becomes Law of Uganda and implementation starts on commencement date and the Law is published in government Gazette
b.  Instead of Assent President can send it back to Parliament:
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 again for the president’s approval.
President can Assent or send it back a second time.
After second time the Bill can come out of Parliament as an Act of Parliament without the President’s assent.
However it may become law without the President’s assent if he returns it to parliament twice.
IN SUCH A CASE IT MUST HAVE the support of at least two- thirds of all MPs. It is then Gazetted and Law.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Uganda considers tougher anti-gay laws

Uganda considers tougher anti-gay laws

Ugandans hold a sign saying 'Buganda sub-region rejects and says no to homosexuality'
Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but Parliament is considering tougher laws Photo: ITV News
Uganda may be one of the worst places in the world to be gay. But it can always get even worse.
Any day now, its Parliament will consider a bill to make the country’s tough anti-gay laws tougher still.
Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, promised the bill as a “Christmas gift” to the nation. She says that Ugandans are “demanding” the law. The proposals do seem to have considerable support.
The precise details are not clear - homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda. But activists fear that the bill will include proposals for the death sentence to be brought against "repeat offenders".
Uganda is a conservative country where influential people from the Church and the state have combined to lead popular support.
And in doing so, many have been able to re-shape the public debate into one about the right of post-colonial African nations to decide for themselves what is "right" and what is "wrong".
One lawmaker summed it up to me earlier, “We are not a colony anymore - what is natural in your country may not be natural in my country”.
The world has responded, however. Foreign donors have threatened to cut off aid; Canada’s Foreign Minister publicly rowed with Speaker Kadaga about gay rights; US President Barack Obama described the bill’s contents as "odious"; British ministers have been raised their concerns too.
A further, ferocious international response seems certain if the bill is passed, in whatever form.
But that may be welcomed by the bill’s proponents, who will define themselves as defenders of Uganda’s morals, and its right to make those morals.

Anti homosexuality bill endorsed by Parliament Committe

Anti homosexuality bill: Legal committee endorses bill.
The Legal and Parliamentary committee has today 22 November 2012 endorsed a report prescribing life imprisonment to the offence of aggravated homosexuality in the controversial bill.
The controversial Anti homosexuality bill 2009 was introduced by Ndorwa East Mp David Bahati as a private members bill.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012


International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Each year on November 20th, we come together with our communities in the U.S. and around the globe for Transgender Day of Remembrance to remember those who have been murdered because of transphobia and hatred and to celebrate their courage and resilience. Internationally, October 20th is also honored as the International Day of Action Against Trans Depathologization.
Transgender Day of Remembrance has its roots in memorializing Rita Hester, a trans woman of color who was killed in 1998 in Massachusetts. Across the U.S. and internationally, communities gather on November 20th for candlelight vigils, reading the names of those lost to transphobia and hatred in the prior year, and to hold events to raise awareness and bring attention to ongoing violence against transgender people and communities. The Transgender Day of Remembrance allows us all an opportunity to honor those lost, and to show love and respect for our sisters and brothers.

While the Transgender Day of Remembrance is honored both in the U.S. and around the globe, since 2007, October 20th has been recognized as the International Day of Action Against Trans Depathologization. This year, activists in over 50 cities held simultaneous demonstrations and events to demand “No state or psychiatric intervention, I am the only one who rules my body!” Our grantee partners Organization of Transsexuals for the Dignity of Diversity (OTD) in Chile, Aireana in Paraguay, and Colombia Diversa in Colombia were amongst the 80 organizations worldwide commemorating the International Day of Action Against Trans Depathologization.

In concert with the theme of Trans Depathologization, OTD also organized the 5th annual  Trans and Intersex Human Rights and Health Rights seminar on October 16th, bringing together ministry of health representatives, the public health sector, and members of the LGBTQI community. The seminar included a talk by a doctor and trans ally on the latest procedures used in Chile and Latin America, a photography exhibit, and a personal presentation of an OTD member. Dr. Luis Castillo Fuenzalida was honored for his advocacy and commitment to providing respectful and dignified health standards to the trans community. As a result of OTD’s work and almost 2 years of direct advocacy, a new medical protocol was approved this past November 11th, 2012 that was designed taking into account the demands of the trans community. Under this medical protocol, trans people who want to legally change their names or legal markers will no longer have to undergo humiliating, transphobic, and discriminatory physical examinations in Chile.

To find Transgender Day of Remembrance events in your community, visit the International Transgender Day of Remembrance website .

If you are in New York, join our grantee partner Audre Lorde Project for their Transgender Day of Remembrance Ceremony:

Audre Lorde Project - TransJustice Transgender Day of Remembrance Ceremony
Tuesday, November 20th, 6:30 to 9:30 pm
Audre Lorde Project Office
147 West 24th Street, 3rd Floor

To learn more about International Day of Action Against Trans Depathologization, visit Stop Trans Pathologization.

Uganda Parliament | Anti- Homosexuality Bill Watch

No Anti-Homosexuality Bill today | bracing for next week
Melanie Nathan, November 20 2012
I am happy to report that for today, Uganda ‘s Parliament seems to have a lot more important business to attend to than the vicious and redundant Anit-homosexuality Bill which Speaker Rebecca Kadaga promised to have passed  in time for Christmas as a gift to the Ugandan people.
Today is Tuesday Nov 20, 2012 and it is the day we were led to believe would be the time by which  Speaker Kadaga would have the required second reading of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Below is the agenda for Uganda’s Parliament for November 20, 2012 and there was no second reading of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.    We will continue to keep an eye. In the meantime the world is aghast that this Bill may be a reality and we have heard that there is a chance it will be up for a second reading next week.
English: Uganda's Coat of arms
Ugandan LGBTI activists have urged that the international public approach their protests and activism with caution at this time. See Ugandan LGBT Coalition urges extreme caution when foriegners advocate against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Here is the Order paper for Nov 20 2012.
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(A)      I)          BILLS COMMITTEE STAGE
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(A)      I)          BILLS COMMITTEE STAGE
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(Hon.  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development)
(Hon.  Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development)
(A)      I)          BILLS COMMITTEE STAGE
(Hon. Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development)
(Hon. Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development)
(Hon. Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development)
(Hon. Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development)
(Hon.  Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development)
6.         ADJOURNMENT
(Hon. Minister of Information and Communication Technology)
(Hon.  Oleru Huda, Woman Representative Yumbe District)

Ugandan Speaker taunts world vowing to revive Kill the Gays Bill

The Kill the Gay’s Bill may be back as  the Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, has indicated her intention to revive it.
The Speaker, who was addressing a cross section of religious leaders upon her return from Canada where she attended the 127th Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly, said she would not be intimidated by any western power about her position on homosexuality.
This is the report as it appears on the website of Uganda’s Parliament:
“I will instruct the Chair of the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to bring the report on the Anti Homosexuality Bill, so that we can consider it,” she said, Monday night. The Anti Homosexuality Bill, a private Members draft law was moved by MP David Bahati during the Eighth Parliament.
The biased anti-gay Parliamentary report notes:
“It seeks to establish a comprehensive legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between people of the same sex; and the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions as healthy, normal or an acceptable lifestyle, including in the public schools, through or with the support of any government entity in Uganda or any non- governmental organization inside or outside the country.
During the IPU Assembly held in Quebec, Canada, Hon. Kadaga protested assertions by the Canadian Foreign Minister that Uganda was intolerant to homosexuals.
“If homosexuality is a value for the people of Canada, they should not seek to force Uganda to embrace it. We are not a colony or a protectorate of Canada,” she said while in Canada.
Upon her return, the Speaker said that delegates from several other countries were happy with her statement but were afraid to speak out.
“I did not realize I was speaking for the entire world; Africa, the Arab world, Latin America and western countries; delegates told me ‘you were speaking for all of us.’ They had no courage to respond to (the Canadian Foreign Minister),” she said.
She added, “I will not accept to be intimidated or directed by any government in the world. If the price of aid is accepting homosexuality, we can reject the aid.”
The welcome ceremony included Parliament Commissioners, MPs, the former Minister of Ethics, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo, advocates against homosexuality and several students, who carried placards in support of the Speaker’s position and urging Parliament to urgently approve the Anti Homosexuality Bill.”
The Anti-homosexuality Bill  has languished in Uganda’s parliamentary system for years and has failed to reach a vote. It is said that because it is a private member Bill, that President Museveni does not have the power to veto the bill if passed.
The legislation, if passed in whatever form, will legitimate the already existing persecution against Uganda’s LGBTI community. It outlaws so called “promotion of homosexuality,” establishes the death penalty for so called “repeat offenders” and includes severe terms of imprisonment for any person caught having a relationship with a member of the same sex.  It further call for harsh penalties for those who fail to report gays and lesbians.  That could include a parent, a teacher, a doctor or member of the clergy.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton have called for the demise of criminalization of homosexuality in Africa, with special reference to this legislation as  human rights infraction. However the Ugandans who promote the bill have stood firmly behind the notion that their sovereignty excuses them from adherence to international standards of human rights.
The UK government has threatened to cut AID to Uganda if the bill passes.
In truth what will happen is the inability of US and other western corporate interests to continue to function normally in Uganda if the bill passes. This will be a result of the diversity policies that some companies adhere to, where they openly employ LGBT people through diversity programs that foster full inclusion. Such employers would be considered accessories under Ugandan law and it would mean they could be subjecting staff to long terms in prison, for not outing fellow gay staff members.
I shudder to think about the future of American help for Uganda’s gay community if Romney were President of the U.S.A.  He has given no indication as to what a Romney/ Ryan administration would do if the Kill the Gays law were to pass. Would they provide the support of an Obama administration?  Given his bigoted rhetoric and his stance against LGBT Americans, it is highly unlikely that Romney would help persecuted gay Ugandans.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Statement  by Coalition of Religious leaders, Civil Society Organizations, Parents, Children & Citizens of Uganda:
[Delivered at Public Meeting  with Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alitwala Rebecca Kadaga at the CHOGM Gardens next to the Parliament of Uganda on November 9, 2012]
The Rt. Hon Speaker of Parliament, Members of Parliament
Religious Leaders Civil Society Leaders Parents
Ladles & Gentlemen
All protocol observed
Rt. Hon. Speaker, we thank you for making the time in your busy schedule to come and meet us as a coalition of religious leaders, civil society leaders, parents, and students who are here representing the citizens of Uganda.
Many of our people who came to welcome you at the airport last week were not able to see you and were not able to properly  welcome you back in our warm Ugandan sty/e. For that matter, we now wish to welcome you properly  back to Uganda after doing such a wonderful job of standing for our values and culture in Canada. We thank you for accepting our request for this meeting.
We also wish to now thank you officially  as Ugandans for the brave and firm way that you defended the sovereignty of our nation. You did not allow yourself to be bullied or .intimidated by Canada and other powerful Western nations that are fond of arm-twisting developing nations to force them to adopt Western culture some of which is perversion such as homosexuality.
We thank you as a nation and honor you for following the example of the President in making a historic stand in the face of such arrogance as was being displayed at the IPU meeting.
Indeed this brave stand you made as one of the delegates turned out to be the GIANT STAND that represented the position of all the right thinking nations of the world.  We have heard of how delegates from African, Arab, Asian and South
America gave you a standing ovation  after your prolific  defense of our culture and morals.  We say BRAVO to you Hon. Speaker. We as Ugandans are proud of you and you have made us proud.
Rt. Hon. Speaker, we are gathered here this morning very troubled by what we consider as a serious threat  to our children, marriages, families, culture, convictions and our very way of life.
Rt. Hon Speaker, allow me to refresh your memory.
In the  early  months  of  2009, information came to  light  that  our  children  were being molested  and recruited into  gay activities  (homosexuality and lesbianism). This was being carried  out by well-organized and well trained  homosexual groups operating  in  our  schools  and  institutions of  higher  learning  with  funding  and backing from some Western governments and international organizations.
The whole nation  was outraged  and on April 23, 2009 a petition was delivered to Parliament with  signatures  from  all over the nation  asking Parliament  to urgently take measures to safeguard our children and nation from the onslaught of this destructive vice of homosexuality.
Rt. Hon Speaker, the petition was received by none other than yourself when you were the Deputy Speaker. Subsequently, on October 14, 2009, Hon. David Bahati the MP for Ndorwa  West tabled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill [AHB] in Parliament.
The  AHB  raised  unprecedented international  reactions   and  response  mainly coming from  international gay activists, international organizations  and Western nations that have come under the influence  of the gay agenda. While the spirit of the AHB was mainly to provide  protection to the innocent children  of Uganda, the gay activists using the  powerful Western  media  which  they  control, deliberately distorted the facts about  the bill and misled the world  into  thinking that the AHB was a “hunt gays and kill gays” bill. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Uganda as a nation  was then  put  under  pressure to block the  AHB. To this end, government   officials,   MPs  and  the   President   were   pressurized   using  every possible means and in every possible  international forum  to  drop  the  AHB. The international gay machinery  and Western  governments then  poured  millions  of United States Dollars in Uganda to support the gay agenda in Uganda.
Some of the things that this money was used for include: training  and building the capacity of Ugandan gay activist groups, recruiting and training  lawyers to defend homosexuals   in  court,  directly   offering money  to  people  in  key  positions  to oppose the  AHB and threatening them  with  denial  of visas and other  threats  if they   don’t    agree.   They   also  sponsored    programs   in  the   media   that   are sympathetic  to  the  gay agenda, offering money  and favors to  lure  weak, needy and poor  Ugandan  youth  into  homosexuality/lesbianism. They further embarked on strategic  activities in  our  institutions of  higher  learning  where  students  are directly  and deliberately indoctrinated with  gay-biased information in the lecture rooms right  from  first  year. It is deplorable and indeed  sad to note  that  students who refuse to accept the gay philosophy are deliberately failed.
In the  early  months  of  last year, some  sections  of the  international gay activist groups began celebrating their  success in managing  to  ”kill” the  AHB. However, the  bill  has  managed  to  stay  alive  and  has successfully  crossed  from  the 8th Parliament to the 9th  Parliament.
Rt. Hon  Speaker, we  are  grieved  as Ugandans  to  watch  this  drama  of  events happen  before  our  very  eyes as the  vice of  homosexuality  takes its toll  on our children  and  nation. Parents  mourn   quietly   as their   sons  and  daughters  are molested in schools by homosexuals  and they have nowhere  to turn for help.
Young boys  are  constantly  sexually  abused  with  impunity by  powerful personalities and their  cries fall on deaf ears as their  abusers threaten them  and boast  of  being  ”untouchable” in  our  very  nation,  where  according  to  the  law books  homosexuality  is  still  a crime.   As though   that  is  not  enough,  there  is rampant  availability of pornography. Also numerous  movies and soap operas that are broadcast  in the  nation  contain  homosexual content.  This is all a deliberate strategy by the gay agenda to desensitize our children  and reprogram their  minds and attitudes to accept homosexuality as a viable and equal alternative  to heterosexuality.
Rt. Hon. Speaker, we cannot sit back while  such destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation. We therefore as responsible citizens feel duty bound to bring this  matter  to  your  attention as the  leader  of  Parliament  so that  you our  law makers can do  something to  quickly  address this  deteriorating situation  in our nation.
We  therefore  stand   united   as  Ugandans  on  this   matter  of   homosexuality regardless of our tribes, ethnicities, political affiliations, social and religious backgrounds and wish to state as follows:-
i.        That  we  support  the  stand  that  His Excellency the  President, you Rt.Hon. Speaker and the government have taken on homosexuality  stating that it is a vice and as such is not an acceptable behavior  in our nation.
ii.       That  we  will  stand  behind  the  government  and  all  our  leaders  and encourage  them  to stand firmly  and defend  our position as a nation on homosexuality  in   all   fora,   whether    local  or   international.  We  as Ugandans are ready to pay the price of maintaining our values, cultural and  societal  norms  whatever  the  cost might  be. We categorically  say that we will not sell our national  birthright in exchange for a few dollars to softening on the vice of homosexuality.
iii.       We encourage  all leaders at all levels to emulate  your good example Rt.
Hon  Speaker  and  that  of  the  President  to  accurately  represent  our position as a nation on homosexuality.
We now request you Rt. Han Speaker to use your good offices to:-
i.            Urgently  have the  Parliament  debate  and pass the  Anti-Homosexuality Bill without any further delay. Nothing  would  make us happier  than a dully passed anti-homosexuality bill as a Christmas gift this year.
ii.        Institute a parliamentary committee to  investigate  the  extent  of  the recruitment of our  children  into  homosexuality· and the  impact  of this vice in our schools, institutions of higher learning and any other relevant areas of our society.
iii.       Establish a safe mechanism  whereby  our  sons and daughters who are molested  by homosexuals can be protected from  harm by the homosexual abusers and their machinery.
iv.       Maintain homosexual  behavior as a crime in our law books.
v.            Explore  ways  of  collaborating or  working together with  the  religious groups,  civil  society  groups,  other  stakeholders  such  as schools and universities to find viable interventions to mitigate the damage that has been   wrecked    in   our   society   by  the   gay  agenda   that   has  been operational in our nation for some time now.
In closing, we are aware that some of our youth have been misled by gay activists and  have  been   led   into   the   vice  of   homosexuality  using  inducement   and enticement. We  are  also aware  that  there  are  those  whose  surroundings  and other  factors  leads them  to  same sex attractions. For such people, we extend a hand  of  love  and  understanding and give  them  the  good  news  that  change is possible through  counseling, guidance and spiritual  and professional help.
To this end, no Ugandan  should sentence themselves  to a life of misery because of the false gay propaganda  that  change is impossible.  Many  homosexual  people have been successfully restored  to heterosexuality over the centuries.  Change is possible  and  our   religious   leaders  and  civil  society   organizations   with   the appropriate competencies will  spearhead the move to· bring  restoration to those Ugandans who need it.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Uganda can’t afford the Kill The Gays bill

Uganda can’t afford the Kill The Gays bill

Ugandan James Kityo says the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga doesn’t talk for everyone as she pledges to push the anti-homosexuality bill through parliament
Ugandan Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga is pushing forwards the anti-gay bill in Uganda.
Just when one thinks that Uganda is growing up by leaving people who are LGBTI alone, something else emerges that shocks the bold hearted into action.
At the 127th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly held in Quebec recently a fierce show-down on homosexuality erupted. When John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Minister, reprimanded Uganda for violating the human rights of sexual minorities, Ugandan Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga retorted that Uganda was ‘neither a colony nor protectorate of Canada and as such her sovereignty, societal and cultural norms were to be respected’. She told those gathered that she was not aware the assembly had been summoned to promote gay rights.
Kadaga may have been right about Uganda's sovreignty. But telling people about their human rights violations does not equate to colonising them but rather deals with human rights violations. I am sure that Canada is not really interested in colonising Uganda. This was a digressionary tactic and it worked. It always works when applied to sensitive Western countries.
Having lived and worked with several same-sex loving Ugandans, I do not understand how anyone who knows the diversity of Ugandan realities can claim that homosexuality is foreign to our culture. For instance, does telling Ugandans about their need to respect the rights of gay persons equate to having them colonised? Perhaps the speaker could have made her point without insinuating that Canada wished to colonise Uganda.
She is not alone. Those who oppose homosexual practices make constant reference to LGBTI life and people being a foreign culture imposed on Africans. But in reality there is evidence that homosexuality existed in Africa long before colonialism.
Uganda is now a hotbed for debate on the matter of homosexuality. Everything has not been rosy for the gay rights activists. There was the arrest of David Cecil Edwards, director of The River and the Mountain. The play, written by Beau Hopkins, was banned from showing at Uganda’s National Theater because it tackles the theme of homosexuality. It also tackles religion and politics and the Uganda Communications Commission would have none of it.
The line-up of people welcoming the Ugandan Speaker of Parliament on her return from Canada was not surprising. These were David Bahati, Member of Parliament for Ndorwa West and mover of the anti-homosexuality bill; Nsaba Buturo, former Minister of Ethics and a very strong critic of LGBTI practice; Revivalist church pastors Martin Ssempa and Pastor Solomon Male, who have both served their time for defaming another church pastor after they accused him of homosexual related practices; Pastor Michael Were, a strong anti-homosexual lobby leader, and of course numerous Ugandans carrying posters that read ‘Revive the anti- homosexuality bill’, ‘Ban homosexuals’, ‘Uganda is not a colony of Canada’ and ‘You [Kadaga] are our saviour, we want the bill now’.
Conspicuously absent was the Uganda Minister of Ethics, Father Simon Lokodo, who has had a rough ride with human rights activists and the LGBTI community after being dragged to court for disbanding gay conferences.
The unfortunate thing about the Canada-Uganda homosexual debacle is the anger that has emanated out of the whole saga. The Ugandan Speaker seems to have been so angered that on her arrival at Entebbe Airport she told her admirers, who were congratulating her for bravely facing off a Canadian minister, that she was now going to expedite the anti-homosexuality bill.
Bad enough is also the fact that Jovah Kamateka, another member in the Ugandan parliament, is calling for a referendum to decide the fate of LGBTI people in Uganda. It is not hard to guest how Ugandans would vote in such a matter.
Every top Ugandan politician that supports the anti-homosexuality bill says we do not need donor money (watch the clip below). But of course Uganda needs the money and Uganda will listen to whatever the donors tell it. The money is used by such institutions as parliament, the police, the army, the judiciary and many more. Surely, the speaker and all the other politicians are not speaking for the Uganda treasury when they say ‘to hell with donor money’?
James Kityo is a member of the Key Correspondents team (KCs), a global network of community-based writers from around 50 countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean supported by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. A large number of KCs are people living with or affected by HIV. All are volunteers and include those working in advocacy, media, health and development.


Monday, 5 November 2012


Homos Targeting Kindergartens, Says Bahati

Ndorwa West MP David Bahati (right),  Bill Clinton posing for a picture with Gay Right’s Activist Frank Mugisha (center) at a party.
Known for his homophobia, Ndorwa West MP David Bahati has now warned parents to take extreme precautions as homosexuals are busy targeting new recruits in kindergartens. Bahati delivered the message on Sunday while presiding over Kampala Kindergarten Association end of year concert held at Didi’s World – Kasanga in Kampala.
When he took to the podium, Bahati said that the theme of the day ‘motivation leads to independence’,  was rich because of its relevance to the children gathered who without doubt are the future leaders. At this point he expressed his discontent with the impunity gays are propping up to recruit toddlers in nursery schools.
“We now have a problem with homosexuals who are targeting nursery kids. We must fight them seriously and bring it to an end. As teachers, be on the look out to protect the moral fabric of the nation as we in Government find way of fighting this depravity,” he said.
His remarks come at a time when MPs in Parliament have intensified immense pressure on passing of Anti-gay bill. Speaking to press yesterday, Bahati again reiterated that the bill is before the Parliamentary Legal and Affairs committee. But he vouched that he will ‘energize’ to see the bill passed before the year ends. “Right now the bill is before the committee we shall debate it in this session and before end of 2012 we shall come up with a resolution,” he said.
Bahati insisted that he is firm and not even Sandy Storm that hit America recently could move him to change his mind. He is remembered to have shaken the world when he advocated for the death of homos by hanging.
Barely a fortnight ago, Ugandan Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga blasted Canada Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird for attacking Uganda on homosexuality.
“If homosexuality is a value for the Canadian people, that is not a problem for us, that is its issue, but one should not force Ugandans to accept homosexuality because we’re not Canadian citizens,” Kadaga said to thunderous applause from the floor.http://www.redpepper.co.ug/?p=1628#comment-5875

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Ugandan parliamentary speaker promises to revive anti-gay la

Ugandan parliamentary speaker promises to revive anti-gay law

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has met with anti-gay religious supportersSpeaker Rebecca Kadaga has met with anti-gay religious supporters
The Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament has claimed the country’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill will soon be passed by lawmakers.
Rebecca Kadaga made the statement on Monday, after returning to Uganda following an international summit in Canada.
According to Uganda’s Daily Monitor, she told reporters at Entebbe International Airport that she would stand firm against homosexuality, saying:
“They said I should stop the debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, but I assured them there is no way I can block a private members bill”.
A group of anti-gay religious leaders were there to meet with her at the airport, along with the bill’s architect, MP David Bahati.
Throughout various stages, Mr Bahati had proposed for his legislation to include the death penalty for certain cases of “aggravated homosexuality”.
However, in February of this year it was reported that the death clause had been dropped from the plans, in favour of life imprisonment.
The bill was first introduced in 2009, but has yet to gain parliamentary approval.
Uganda’s government has stated that it does not support the bill, although it believes lawmakers should be allowed to debate it.
Last week in Canada, Speaker Kadaga was met with criticism by the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird after he blasted Uganda for its appalling gay rights record and widespread homophobic persecution.
In response, Speaker Kadaga accused him of being “ignorant” and “arrogant”.

Speaker Kadaga promises to revive shelved Uganda gay Bill

Speaker Kadaga promises to revive shelved gay Bill

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga (L) on her arrival from Canada at Entebbe Airport on Monday.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga (L) on her arrival from Canada at Entebbe Airport on Monday. She said she will stand firm against homosexuality. PHOTO BY G. SSeruyange. 
By Isaac Imaka

Posted  Wednesday, October 31  2012 at  02:00
In Summary
The Speaker’s promise follows her experience in Canada, where foreign officials asked her to block the bill.

Days after her defence against a Canadian minister’s attacks on Uganda over homosexuality, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has promised to expedite the debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Ms Kadaga made the assurance while addressing religious leaders and journalists at Entebbe International Airport on Monday. “They said I should stop the debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill but I assured them there is no way I can block a private members Bill,” she said.
At the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Quebec, Canada, Ms Kadaga was involved in an altercation with that country’s Foreign Affairs minister, Mr John Baird, after the latter accused Uganda of trampling on human rights.
The accusation saw Ms Kadaga tell the minister to stick to the day’s theme and respect Uganda’s sovereignty. “I will not accept to be intimidated or directed by any government in the world on matters of homosexuality,” she said, adding that she was not aware she was speaking for many people in the world, some of whom were in the conference.
“I was surprised when colleagues came and thanked me saying that’s what they have always wanted to say but they had never gotten the courage to. That when it came to me that I had spoken for the whole of Africa, for the Arab world and Asians,” she said.
The welcome ceremony and press briefing was organised by religious leaders, former Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo and the mover of the Bill, Mr David Bahati, all of whom are pushing for the enactment of the anti-homosexuality Bill.
A large procession comprising members of different Pentecostal churches, Makerere University students and boda boda cyclists camped at the airport from 10am to after midnight when Ms Kadaga emerged to greet them as they ululated and waved placards appreciating her boldness in Canada.
“You are our saviour, we want the bill now,” one of the placards read.
Pastor Michael Were, who spoke on behalf of the religious leaders, called on other national leaders to follow Ms Kadaga’s footsteps for the sake of the country’s culture and traditions.
Asked whether she was not mindful of Uganda being denied aid and her being denied entry visas to pro-gay countries, Ms Kadaga said such countries were welcome to keep their aid and visas.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Ugandan parliamentary speaker blasts Canada over gay rights criticism

The Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament claims that Canada has refused to grant visas for several of the country’s politicians due to its ban on same-sex marriage.

According to the Daily Trust, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga made the statement on Tuesday as an international summit took place in Quebec.
She reportedly said most of her colleagues who had sought visas to come to Canada for the conference were denied entry due to their stance on same-sex marriage.
Speaker Kadaga claimed that she was prevented from making a presentation by the organisers, along with another member of Uganda’s delegation.
Delegates from Mali and Syria were also denied visas by Canadian officials.
Earlier in the week, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird criticised the human rights record of both Uganda and Iran.
Delegates from the two countries responded by accusing Canada of interfering in their internal affairs.
Mr Baird cited Uganda’s recent violent history of homophobic persecution and mentioned the 2011 murder of Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato.http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/10/24/ugandan-parliamentary-speaker-blasts-canada-over-gay-rights-criticism/

Friday, 19 October 2012

Uganda Police force battles with HIV/Aids

Police force battles with HIV/Aids - Human Rights House Network

 Police officers demand sex from female detainees and prostitutes HIV/Aids is rampant in the police force. Job transfers split police officers from their spouses, living situations mean several adults live in extremely close quarters, and it is rumoured that some police officers demand sex from female detainees and prostitutes. (Right, Ugandan police humiliating a female detainee). These are some of the reasons the police becomes more susceptible to the Aids scourge than anyone else in Uganda. As a result, about 13 percent of police officers in Kampala are HIV positive, according to Superintendent of Police Bazirakye Kaguta, the HIV/Aids Control Project-Uganda Police administrator

Friday, 12 October 2012

Uganda's anti-homosexuality law heats up Pan African Parliament seating

Tuesday 9 October 2012 18:51

Thami Dickson, Johannesburg

Ugandan Christian groups have been vocal against homosexuality

Ugandan Christian groups have been vocal against homosexuality(REUTERS)
Uganda's punitive anti-homosexuality legislation has sparked heated debate at the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand, North of Johannesburg. Uganda's lawmakers today failed to convince the PAP to pass a continent-wide resolution that condemns and prohibits same sex relations.
Same sex relations are illegal in Uganda. Homosexuals are often subjected to violence and social rejection. Today Ugandan lawmakers tried to go a step further, hoping to get the continent's support for life imprisonment for homosexuals.
Ugandan parliamentary member Atim Ogwal Cecilia Barbara told the PAP seating: “Africa must stand up. We must pass a resolution condemning homosexuality because it is not an African culture. We are not allowed to practice polygamy in other countries, why should we be forced to do what is not natural?”
The proposal was rejected, with some members saying it's a blot on Uganda's remarkable emergence from civil war. South African parliamentary member Santosh Vanita Kalyan says the resolution that Uganda is calling for, is “bizarre.”
Kalian went further to say: “It will never pass in this parliament, especially from members like us who feel that the rights of all should be respected.”
Also making their point across, Namibian member of parliament Peter Katjavivi said: “If that is acceptable to a particular member state, let it be.” But Katjavivi was quick to point out that such a resolution “should never be made a continental-wide affair. We should respect laws as they affect individual countries”, he went on to say.
Homosexuality is still a controversial issue on the continent with some labeling it "unAfrican". Malawian president Joyce Banda earlier promised to repeal anti-gay laws in her country, but later backtracked, arguing that Malawians were not ready to deal with homosexuality.

MP Cecilia Ogwal accuse western countries for promoting homosexuality

MP Cecilia Ogwal accuse western countries for promoting homosexuality

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Ugandan Hang the Gays Giles Muhame Admits Wrong and Regret

But fails to apologize to the gays and does nothing to make amends to the LGBTI community in Uganda
By Melanie Nathan, Oct 10, 2012

In a self serving speech to a journalism class, Giles Muhame, the ex-editor of the Ugandan Rolling Stone Magazine, makes an admission of causing harm to gays and notes his regret for the “Hang the gays” article that he procured back in 2010.

Muhame wrote an article outing and exposing 100 gays in Uganda by showing their photographs and depicting a hang rope with the notation “Hang them!” This caused untold harm and some gay Ugandans were beaten, arrested and others fled the country.

Now Giles Muhame is trying to redeem his anti-gay hate with a futile statement of regret to a class of journalists in Uganda. (Please see the Giles Muhame form of Journalism below.)
In fact he is so proud of himself that he sent me a personal e-mail telling me that I may be interested in the article. About a year ago Muhame called me and told me that a speech I had made in Cape Town as keynote speaker at Cape Town Pride had inspired him to change his views on gays. Our interactions continued on the topic, but Muhame, instead of coming out with an apology and retraction, proceeded to pursue a book deal so he could make money off his turnaround.
However, that does not seem to have come off and since then Muhame started working on a new online publication. This publication, The Chimpreport, caused a journalist teacher Alan Greene at Victoria University in Kampala to invite Muhame to give a speech to the class. http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2012/10/10/ugandan-hang-the-gays-giles-muhame-admits-wrong-and-regret/

Monday, 17 September 2012

British producer of gay play in Uganda released from jail on bail

British theatre producer David Cecil has been released on bail in Uganda, where he was charged over a play about the condition of gay people. He was arrested last Thursday, accused of "disobeying lawful orders", because the play The River and the Mountain was performed without authorisation.
Mr Cecil faces two years in jail if convicted. The Ugandan parliament is considering legislation aimed at increasing penalties for homosexual acts.

The play, which tells the story of a gay businessman killed by his own employees, was performed at two theatres in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, last month. Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper reports that the Media Council had warned the play's backers not to perform it until it had been approved.
Mr Cecil was freed on bail of 500,000 shillings ($200; £124). He was ordered to surrender his passport and must report back to court on 18 October.
His lawyer John Francis Onyango told the AFP news agency that his client was in good health.
Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda and gay people have faced physical attacks and social rejection.
An anti-gay bill imposing life sentences on those convicted of homosexual acts was re-tabled in parliament earlier this year.
It was first introduced in 2009 but never debated - and the MP backing the legislation says a clause proposing the death penalty will be dropped


Saturday, 8 September 2012

Uganda police arrest bar owner for staging ‘gay’ play

Kampala police take action over ‘banned’ play, The River and The Mountain, which features gay plotline 07 September 2012 | By Omar Kuddus A bar owner has been arrrested in Kampala, Uganda for staging a play with a gay storyline. Police have arrested a Uganda bar owner for staging the play The River and The Mountain which features a man coming out as gay. David Cecil, owner of Tilapila Bar in Kampala was accused of showing a ‘gay themed play’. Another bar has also shown the play previously and it is been confirmed that the owner there has also been questioned by the Kampala police. But while Cecil was Ugandan, the other bar owner is an ex-pat from a western country, and therefore less likely to be harassed by police, according to activists. The River and the Mountain features a storyline about a gay businessman living in a homophobic country. The play is advertised as: ‘A Ugandan comedy drama that tackles the intersection of religion, politics and sexuality.’ It had originally been scheduled to show for the National Theatre of Uganda but performances were cancelled after government officials objected to the gay theme and regulators intervened. Some shows went ahead at two smaller venues. UK newspaper The Guardian reported that the play, by British playwright Beau Hopkins, ‘has provoked controversy not only for its sympathetic portrayal of gay people, but also because it suggests that much of the anger and hatred has been whipped up by politicians and religious leaders for their own purposes.’ It quoted Hopkins as saying: ‘The local media seem to have agreed not to talk about it, which is disappointing. We’re also particularly disappointed that it won’t be staged at the National Theatre, as there it would have reached more Ugandans.’ He said the play was not intended to promote a specific agenda, but rather to add to public debate. ‘We’re actors, not activists,’ he said. ‘The play is there to inspire discussion in the community and to get a reaction from people. We want it to open up a dialogue.’ ‘We are all disappointed but not surprised that we could not perform at the National Theatre,’ said the actor Okuyo Joel Atiku Prynce, who plays the gay character at the center of the story. ‘What is surprising is the fact that we have received no clear reason. No one is taking responsibility for this decision.’ Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), the leading LGBT campaign group in the country, told Gay Star News the play was about much more than just gay issues. A SMUG spokesperson said: ‘The gay part in the play is really very small and it tackles so many other issues, including corruption, politics and health.’ Uganda has a reputation of being a deeply homophobic society, and its parliament introduced a ‘kill the gays bill’ in October 2009. The bill proposed severe penalties, including death, for those found guilty of having same-sex relationships. While debate on the bill sometimes resurfaces, it has been temporarily shelved. Uganda gay rights activist David Kato was murdered in January 2011 shortly after a local newspaper published images of him and other gay people under a headline urging readers: ‘Hang them.’ Despite this, Uganda’s LGBT community recently held a weekend of gay pride events, including the country’s first LGBT pride march.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Uganda making life tough for NGOs, LGBT rights

I’ve interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses of human rights abuses in Uganda, but I was genuinely surprised at the fear I heard recently when I met with activists in the country. “If you preach human rights, you are anti-development, an economic saboteur,” a colleague told me. “You aren’t going to talk about land, oil, and good governance. This is just the beginning, but the tensions have been accumulating.” Uganda has made the news in recent months over issues like the Ebola virus, Joseph Kony, and the notorious anti-homosexuality law known as the “kill the gays bill.” Less-well-known has been its longstanding patterns of torture and mistreatment of detainees by security forces. President Yoweri Museveni and the ruling National Resistance Movement have been in power for more than 25 years, with a 2005 constitutional amendment lifting presidential term limits and permitting him to run and win in 2006, and then again, heavily assisted by off-budget spending from state coffers, in 2011. Since 2011, Museveni has faced increasing criticism for economic woes, corruption, unemployment, rising HIV rates and deteriorating health and education services. In April 2011, demonstrators “walked to work” to protest raising food and fuel prices. The military and police took to the streets, using live ammunition and killing at least nine bystanders and beating journalists documenting the events. The government has routinely blocked demonstrations in the last few years, contending that they threaten public safety. The president appears to be preparing to run again in 2016 – which would be his 30th year in office – and it seems no coincidence that in the wake of growing public grievances, the ruling party’s officials are scrutinizing nongovernmental organizations and the impact they have on public perceptions of governance and management of public funds. Organizations working on human rights, land acquisitions, oil revenue transparency, and other sensitive issues are the main targets, and apparently viewed as a threat to the administration’s interests. Uganda’s laws reflect this analysis. The intelligence agencies are legally mandated to monitor civil society, and the president’s office has a role in reviewing requests to do research, via the Uganda Council on Science and Technology. Over the last two years, Ugandan officials have reportedly closed civil society meetings and workshops, reprimanded organizations for their research, demanded retractions or apologies, and confiscated t-shirts, calendars and training materials with messaging about political change and “people’s power.” The government board mandated to regulate civil society recently recommended dissolving one group unless it apologized for bringing “the person of the president into disrepute” and has stated that working in coalitions is unlawful. At the same time the government’s hostility to, and harassment of, Uganda’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community continues unabated. Government officials demonize homosexuality, deliberately misinform the public, and stir hatred. One minister uses “the promotion of homosexuality” – a spurious claim – as justification for his campaign against any group seeking to protect the rights of LGBT people. He told me that the pursuit of LGBT rights is a Western conspiracy aimed at destroying Uganda. While homosexual sex is illegal in Uganda, it is not illegal to discuss LGBT issues, despite the deeply misguided anti-gay bill still pending before parliament. Groups focused on fighting for the rights of LGBT people therefore have every legal right to register and operate. But in practice, that remains far from possible. While many interpret the government’s increasing focus on homosexuality as a populist strategy to gain support, it is still profoundly dangerous for a community that is vulnerable to harassment and violence. Donors need to ask tough questions about where Uganda is heading, given the deteriorating situation for civil society. Furthermore, in today’s Uganda, government institutions have little independence to perform their constitutionally mandated jobs, corruption is rife, and protecting the ruling party and the president from criticism has become more important than citizens’ right to information. Fundamental democratic guarantees such as freedom of expression and association should not take a back seat to security interests. Ultimately, this is the lesson of the Arab spring. Until Ugandan civil society is free to research, publish, speak out, debate and advocate for change without fear, durable security will remain out of reach. Maria Burnett is a senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Uganda to clamp Internet after gay-rights hacking

Uganda vowed to tighten its Internet security after government websites were hacked earlier this week. A proposed bill that calls for the death penalty for those caught in homosexual acts has sparked outrage. Gay rights activists hacked several Ugandan government websites to denounce what they perceive to be the harassment of homosexuals in the east African nation of more than 35 million. "Message to the government of Uganda: you want to put people to death only because they have different likings," read one message posted on the website of the Uganda Law Society on Thursday. dw.de Uganda reintroduces controversial anti-gay bill A controversial bill, which calls for execution for some homosexual acts has been re-introduced in the Ugandan parliament. The timing of the bill may be just a ploy to divert attention from other issues. (08.02.2012) A Ugandan government statement said a hacker with the Twitter handle @PinkNinj4 defaced several government websites, including those of the prime minister's office, parliament, the Uganda Securities Exchange and Uganda Law Society. "Hijacking our websites and using strategies of blackmail to promote their dark agendas is unacceptable to us," said government spokesperson Karoro Okurut. On Friday, the government promised to beef up online security. "Our first priority is to apply all necessary resources to give all institutions, the tools, processes and support they require to strengthen the security of their IT systems in case of any incident," the Ugandan National Information Technology Authority said in a statement. A hacked posting on the website of prime minister Amama Mbabazi Thursday contained a fake press release announcing the prime minister's support for a gay pride parade. "We have got to expel the narrow mindedness from this country, and begin afresh, starting with a full and formal apology to all homosexuals living in Uganda today," the statement said. It was removed by Friday. "Odious" legislation Debate has raged over a controversial bill codenammed LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual) that initially called for the hanging of individuals convicted of same-sex sexual activity more than once. Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda. Thirty-year-old Ugandan lesbian women Diane Bakuraira (right) and her twenty four-year-old girlfriend Angella (left) sit outside to have a drink at FARUG (Freedom and Roam Uganda) office in an undisclosed location on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda's capital, July 30, 2010. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda for both genders Currently before a parliamentary committee, progress on the bill seems to have stalled - but that hasn't stopped debate. Denounced as "odious" by US President Barack Obama, the proposed bill has been widely condemned outside Africa, where homosexuality is illegal in 37 countries. Obama's opposition to the bill is shared by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who earlier this month praised Ugandan gay rights activists for their bravery. "It is critical for all Ugandans - the government and citizens alike - to speak out against discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of anyone," Clinton said. "That's true no matter where they come from, what they believe, or whom they love." The bill would also mandate the death penalty for those who engage in same-sex sexual activity with a minor, or those who have HIV - the virus that causes AIDS. Few Africans are openly gay, fearing imprisonment, violence and the loss of jobs. Media often "out" people suspected of being homosexual. In 2006, Ugandan newspaper The Red Pepper published a list of the first names and professions of 45 allegedly gay men, many of whom purportedly suffered harassment as a result. In 2010 Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone published the full names, addresses, and photographs of 100 allegedly gay Ugandans, accompanied by a call for their execution. Same-sex sexual activity among males is illegal in most African nations. Female same-sex sexual activity, however, is legal in some - such as Ghana, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. South Africa is the only country in Africa to legally recognize same-sex marriages. bm/ipj (AFP, Reuters)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Seeking Solutions to LGBT Discrimination in Uganda

Seeking Solutions to LGBT Discrimination in Uganda Posted by cgully on December 12, 2011 David Cameron (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) Just over a month ago, British Prime Minister David Cameron turned a few heads by threatening to withdraw foreign aid to Uganda unless is adheres to “proper human rights” and ends bans on homosexuality. Similarly, last week the United States publicly stated its intention to use foreign aid to promote gay rights abroad with Hillary Clinton saying that “a country’s cultural or religious traditions are no excuse for discrimination.” While their intentions are laudable, the threat to withdraw aid to promote rights happily ignores continued discrimination at home, a nuanced understanding of the history of African colonization, and how to use foreign aid effectively. Time and time again we have seen that sanctions do little to influence regime change and this issue is no different. Homosexuality and other expressions of gender and sexual orientation remains one of the most divisive issues in international human rights. There has been progress toward achieving equality before the law in some countries, but even that progress is often marked by bitter social division and continued de facto inequality. As in many other areas of rights and equality, Canada has been mythologized as a champion, but reality somewhat belies the myth. Politicians continue to avoid discussing LGBT rights – the most glaring example being Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s thinly disguised rebuke of the yearly Pride Parade – and despite rhetoric of understanding and awareness raising, homophobia remains. Recent reports have shown that rates of attempted suicide among Canadians teens who self-identify as homosexual are up to four times higher than among their heterosexual counterparts due to harassment, bullying, and continued stigmatization. For our neighbours south of the border, the issue of sexual orientation remains a potentially powerful tool of divisive politics. A recent campaign ad by Republican leadership candidate Rick Perry draws a brilliantly ignorant and illogical link between President Obama’s repeal of the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy and secularism in public schools. While the video has done little but provide more carrion for the vultures who are already feasting on Perry’s long-dead campaign, the very fact that it was even created shows an appetite for homophobia among at least some proportion of the American public. Even Clinton acknowledged that it was only in 2003 that the last remaining state law criminalizing homosexual activity was abolished. All this is to say that LGBT rights in the west are relatively new, and it is something that both the law and society at large continue to struggle with. It is all the more shameful then that our leaders stand on soap boxes and threaten to cut aid to countries such as Uganda. Support for Cameron and Clinton’s remarks is coming from both sides: those who champion LGBT rights and wish to see greater awareness; and those who see foreign aid as a tool for influencing foreign governments to confirm to international norms. Neither of these camps is fundamentally wrong, but both assume that the issue can be only solved from the top down through political pressure. However that’s the kind of thinking that got us into this situation in the first place. When African heads of state argue that homosexuality is something imported from the west, they are not entirely wrong – but it is a matter of how we define homosexuality. There is evidence that same sex relationships were tolerated prior to colonization, from the boy-wives of the Kingdom of Sudan, to the “mine marriages” conducted by men working in the mines of what is now Zambia. There is even evidence of homosexual partnerships in an ancient Bushman painting from Zimbabwe. A great deal more anthropological support for same sex partnerships may have been unearthed if it weren’t for suppression of academic inquiry into the subject. Some scholars argue that while homosexuality in the west is tied to both sexual orientation and lifestyle, in traditional societies it was simply the case of having same sex intercourse, and did not necessarily involve self-identifying as something different. That is, homosexual as a label likely did not exist, and was imported by colonial powers who had codes based on archaic and outdated Abrahamic values. It is telling that the most widely cited piece of anti-homosexual legislation in Uganda is from the 1950 penal code that states “Any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; has carnal knowledge of an animal; or permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life.” This law is a remnant of a British legal system imposed during colonization to prevent what the British saw as deviant sexual behaviour. How ironic then that some 150 years later we are condemning Uganda for its outdated beliefs. These are beliefs that we, as western society, had a hand in creating. To collectively punish the people of Uganda for a system that was imposed by force from the outside, indeed a system that wiped out millennia of rich cultural development, is hypocrisy and paternalism to the extreme. This is not all to say that something must not be done. Of course those laws that are on the books must be repealed, and continued attempts to pass even harsher legislation that increases punishment for the LGBT community must be blocked. However cutting off foreign aid is not the answer. In his best-selling book “The White Man’s Burden”, William Easterly argues that foreign aid is delivered by two types of organizations, Planners and Seekers. The traditional top-down aid to government Planner approach is often subject to increased bureaucracy, corruption, and lack of focus. The Seekers, however, tackle a problem from the grassroots level, looking to see what works efficiently, effectively, and reaches those who actually need it. When Cameron and Clinton talk about cutting foreign aid to Uganda, they are doing so because they want to punish the state; they are doing so based on the Planner assumption that the state receives the aid and distributes it as it sees fit. We have seen for decades how this doesn’t work. So if the west wants to champion LGBT rights in Uganda and other African states, it would do well to work with Seekers. Give money to those non-governmental organizations who already exist on the ground, those who can affect change from the inside, from the bottom up. Give aid to the activists who risk their lives daily to protect their communities, like Freedom and Roam Uganda or Icebreakers. Such aid is difficult politically, as it does not involve large sums that sound nice at international development summits, and it can raise the ire of governments who feel they are being undermined. But if the intent is to punish, then punish by giving weapons to those who are fighting for their freedom. If we can subversively arm rebels in Libya, then we can do the same with money and resources in Uganda. It was our culture that created this system of discrimination, and so it is our responsibility to help dismantle it. But that cannot be done through threats and sanctions; it must be done through compassion, generosity, and strategic thinking. y">

Friday, 27 July 2012


Ugandan Govt a threat to LGBT Community and other NGOs

Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) is one of the NGOs that now face a threat of closure after Ethics and Integrity Minister Rev Simon Lokodo accused them of promoting homosexuality.
PATIENCE AKUMU spoke to FHRI executive director, LIVINGSTONE SSEWANYANA, on why NGOs cannot stay away from gay rights. Ssewanyana maps the way forward for ‘blacklisted’ NGOs and explains why he believes this is more than a fight against homosexuality.

Are FHRI and other NGOs that Minister Lokodo named promoting homosexuality?
We are involved in minority rights issues. We are saying that all minorities, including homosexuals, deserve respect. Uganda has an obligation to preserve the rights of every citizen. The Constitution prohibits discrimination on all grounds — as does the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICPR). Uganda signed the ICPR without any reservations. This means that it must respect all its provisions.

Perhaps government is furious because you are recruiting people into homosexuality.
We are not recruiting. We do not actively encourage people to become homosexuals.

But how can you promote a right to what is already illegal under the Penal Code Act?

The Penal code needs a lot of reform. It is our duty [as civil society] to campaign for reform. We are involved in other reforms, like the campaign to restore [presidential] term limits. The law generally needs to be reformed to promote non-discrimination.
The Constitution prohibits same-sex relationships, yet at the same time says that there shall not be discrimination based on colour, race, sex, religion or other factors. Such contradiction requires reform.  The Constitution contains other contradictions. For example, it provides for the death penalty under Article 22, and then prohibits torture and inhuman degrading treatment under Article 44.  We work to reform several areas of the law.

But for now, the law upholds the death penalty and prohibits homosexuality. Shouldn’t you respect that?
We acknowledge that that is the law, but we are also saying that this law is in conflict with the Constitution. We are saying minorities deserve respect and must be defended. This is different from encouraging people from getting involved in same-sex relationships. Our duty is to defend all rights.

If NGOs are so confident that homosexuals have rights, why haven’t they approached the Constitutional Court to iron out the contradictions and declare criminalising homosexuality unconstitutional?

We cannot do everything at the same time. Currently, we are challenging the death penalty, the offence of terrorism and pushing for electoral reforms. We have to take one step at a time.

Or perhaps you too realise that Uganda is not ready to embrace homosexuals. Is that why there is so much activism, but no NGO has taken this big step?
Right now, most NGOs are focusing on the Anti-Homosexuality bill and seeing that it is not passed. If it is passed, then definitely the only solution will be to go to the Constitutional Court. We cannot challenge a law unless it is passed.

Why don’t you, in the meantime, challenge S.145 of the Penal Code for criminalising homosexuality?
The Penal Code is currently before the Law Reform Commission. They are studying it to see which aspect needs to be reviewed. We think the Penal Code is not a good area for petition right now.

One would think the two High Court decisions upholding the rights of homosexual people would give NGOs more confidence. Are you afraid of Minister Lokodo?

The courts, like us, have looked at it through the perspective of the right not to be discriminated against — not through the homosexuality perspective. The issue of homosexuality was not directly brought before court. NGOs should go ahead and defend rights in spite of political threats. We are ready to challenge [threats] before Parliament, before the citizens and, if need be, before the Constitutional Court.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has stated that homosexuals will never be accepted in Uganda. With the Anti-Homosexuality bill set to be debated in the House she heads, are you really not fighting a losing battle?

Kadaga, like any other person, is entitled to her views. The Anti-Homosexuality bill needs to come before the House and be debated, and all views and opinions heard. The difficult part would be for her to decide whether she wants to promote discrimination. She has to uphold the Constitution and the ICCPR.
These have non-discrimination clauses. It will do well to remember that Uganda signed the ICCPR without reservations.

Is there a legitimate reason for government to deregister NGOs? Surely, these arguments must hold some water.
I do not think there is a legitimate reason for government to deregister NGOs. The larger issue is whether Ugandans are entitled to freedom of expression, association and assembly. It’s about whether whoever wants to participate in governance issues must be registered. This issue of registration is contested. This is a broader democratic governance issue.

Are you saying this is a general attack on NGOs?

Of course, of course! I do not think it is fair for government to say that because NGOs are involved in advocating for minority rights, they should be closed. NGOs must not be partisan, but they must, by all means, be political — there is nothing in this country that is non-political.
If you want better food, better water, if you are fighting disease; all this is political. Besides, NGOs comprise individual citizens of Uganda. They have a right to monitor how their country is governed.

What place does the people’s culture and religion have in the fight for the rights of minorities?

Culture, religion, morality, values; this is the turning point of the current debate on human rights [not just homosexuals’ rights].  Societies have different value systems and religion has an important role to play. Christianity, for example, does not promote persecution. I don’t know of any religion that does.
African culture promotes tolerance and is welcoming. It is a question of individual attitudes. People have argued that the African child cannot learn unless she or he is caned. Is this true?
The Bible says, “Spare the rod and spoil the child”, but the government has outlawed corporal punishment in schools. Culture and religion preach that a woman has no value, but is this true? We have to interpret culture and religion positively. Besides, the Constitution provides that any culture or religion that contradicts it is void.
At the 1993 Vienna conference on human rights, states embraced the universality of rights. Anyone interpreting rights in the cultural relativist view with the intention of undermining them will not carry the day.

Would you still defend the rights of gay people if your own child was gay?
You know, we faced the same question when campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty. Would I feel differently if it was my own relative murdered? In this struggle for human rights, we should be guided by reason rather than emotion.
If the question of emotion is not left out of the debate, then the entire human rights question will be defeated.
Again, we are not campaigning for homosexuality, but for minority rights. We are not advocating for people to get killed, or for women to become belligerent when we defend their rights; we are only defending human dignity and human rights because the Constitution says so.

Won’t NGOs cower under so much pressure?
NGOs should do the right thing. If they are fighting for rights, then they must defend rights. We must educate people on the issue [homosexuality]. We should realise that some people are short, others tall, and others fat . . . Any government worth its value will respect the rights of all citizens.
The Ugandan government should get its priorities right. Ugandans want better service delivery, better quality life; we need a better economy. Pitted against these, homosexuality is a non-issue. But government is assessing non-issues and using them to deny people their rights. We should now focus on term limits, because their absence is causing political instability.