Welcome to our blog

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.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Controversial Journalist Andrew Mwenda on educating Ugandans to counter homophobia

By Melanie Nathan, February 09, 2013.
Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 2.53.46 PMAndrew Mwenda is one of the few straight and reasonable  voices to speak to the issues surrounding the Anti- homosexuality Bill in Uganda. He is an outspoken journalist who provides this video recording below as an explanation, with his reasoning, why the West should not cut AID to Uganda as a solution to the Anti-homosexuality Bill - and he provides a controversial desensitization suggestion.
The otherwise known " The Kill the Gays Bill," has been languishing in the political arena in Uganda, with a few Parliamentary introductions since 2009.  It is currently poised for passage at #6 on last Week's Parliamentary Agenda.
In this video Mwenda notes that 90% of Ugandans are homophobic and so he believes that cutting AID by the West is a counterproductive and antagonist approach which will not serve to educate Ugandans about homosexuality. He believes that a discussion of the issue and engagement over time will help to change attitudes in Uganda. He also suggests that the tabloid red pepper exposure of the gay sex act, could help desensitize Ugandans.
While I applaud Mr. Mwenda's stance and fully understand his reasoning, especially on the issue of sovereignty, it brings up a few issues for me, some which I think he may have missed.
Firstly he makes the cardinal mistake of equating homosexuality with the act of sex, by suggesting that if people see more images of the actual sex act between two men, they will become desensitized.  I am sorry to inform Mr. Mwenda that such an idea demonstrates that he is falling into the very trap that exacerbates homophobia in the first place.   Homosexuality is not about the act of sex or sodomy. That is how it has been sold as a negative concept in Uganda.  You have people like crazy Rev. Martin Ssemba ranting on and on about the act of sodomy. You have David Bahati the author of the Kill the Gays Bill, justifying death to homosexuals with his interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah.
So all Mwenda is really doing in this video discussion is perpetuating myth. Homosexuality is not about the act of sex. It is about two people of the same gender being attracted to each other and having a loving relationship, in respect of which sex is incidental.  Surely heterosexual people should understand that sex does not define their entire relationship?
Indeed one cannot force cultural change over night. But it is myth and lies that need to be countered and then maybe Ugandans will understand that homosexuality is not a cultural issue. It is a human issue. Sexuality is a human right. Ugandans do not understand this - that all humans - regardless of culture have the same innate sexuality experiences.  Thinking otherwise is like saying your brains and blood is different. It is the lack of understanding that is cultural and that can be remedied with truthful debate and a strategic re-education. The latter needs to be a mission, at the very least,  of the Christian colonialists and Evangelicals who started the lies in the first place.
1.  The issue of Sovereignty: - Indeed all countries must make their own laws unfettred. But now Uganda is seeking to make a law based upn a belief system supported only by myth and lies, as injected by white colonialists and Evangelical zealots.  Surely Mr. Mwenda a much more effective dialogue than one of mere infusion ought to be called for. Surely some worthy leadership from the straight community such as your good self is called for. This would need to be much more proactive before you can expect the world to simply accept that Ugandans can so legislate.
Take South Africa as an example.  How many more years would the South Africans have had to wait for the Afrikaner Government to get the message.,. It was sanctions that brought them to their knees on the issue. And it matters not whether a majority or minority of the population was impacted. it is all the same when you speak about sovereignty.
2. The issue of global participation: I agree, AID ought not be cut for the reason of homophobia.  However if it  is cut it should be because of Uganda's huge incidence of corruption - and not because of the Anti-homosexuality Bill. The latter will just cause a backlash and further scapegoating gays. So I agree in principle.  However what Mwenda does not seem to realize or simply omits is that some international corporations  have  a presence in Uganda, such as Barclays Bank and Hilton hotels. These companies have all inclusive hiring diversity policies on their website, and purposefully reach out to LGBTI people.  Does Uganda expect these companies to stay in Uganda and conform to their homophobia or do Ugandans respect their independence and right to their views too?
So while different to cutting AID, I have no doubt many businesses will be forced to stop doing business with Uganda and will be forced to stop operating in Uganda, because the new Anti-gay law will make it operationally impossible. remember the new law requires that an employer turn over a known gay within 24 hours or that employer can face three years in prison. no western busines in its right mind will continue to operate under such threat.
Mr. Mwenda you are a great voice for reason- however stop being an apologist and look at more productive ways to have this conversation at this time.  Using the issue of  asking that AID not be cute and the suggestion of more visual gay sex is hardly a strategy.  There is no time to waste for those whose lives will be dramatically impacted by the Bill.  There is no time to spend - for an entire generation to go by before education by infusion works; certainly not in a climate where there has been active promotion of the hate.
Andrew Mwenda is still a great ally and an important voice and I do not purport to understand Ugandans better than he does, however I believe strongly that it is time for people in his capacity to introduce a much more productive and proactive route toward the truth about homosexuality for presentation to Ugandans.
About Andrew Mwenda:
A Ugandan journalist, founder and owner of The Independent, Uganda's premier current affair's news magazine, he attended Busoga College Mwiri in eastern Uganda before attending Makerere University. He was arrested and released on bail by the Ugandan government for "being in possession of seditious material and of publishing inflammatory articles". He earned a master's degree in Development Studies at the University of London in the UK. He was previously the political editor of The Monitor newspaper and presenter of Andrew Mwenda Live on the KFM radio station. In 2005, he was among sixteen senior journalists invited by the British government to meet prime minister Tony Blair to discuss the forthcoming report of the Commission for Africa.
In August 2005 he was charged with sedition for broadcasting a discussion of the cause of death of Sudanese vice-president John Garang.
In July 2006, Mwenda appeared before the British House of Commons committee on Global Poverty to testify against aid to Africa. He has written widely on the effects of aid on the development process in Africa and been published in such prestigious newspapers as the International Herald Tribune and Der Spiegel and done radio and television documentaries for the BBC on this subject. Mr. Mwenda has also been widely quoted in international media - BBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, The Times, The Economist, and many other newspapers, radio and television networks in Europe and North America.
He has assiduously criticised aid agencies and charities for what he says is their ineffectiveness and collusion with corruption. He believes that western aid has been largely unhelpful for African development, since it encourages dependency, sustains wars and fuels corrupt states. He argues that aid goes to the least deserving states, those that have failed their people, rather than those that have reformed. In June 2007, he gave a speech about these issues at the TED conference in Arusha, Tanzania.
In 2008, he won an International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. The award is given for journalists who show courage in defending press freedom in the face of attacks, threats or imprisonment.

Kill the Gays Bill' revived in Uganda

Kill the Gays Bill' revived in Uganda, with some changes. Many fear damage is done, think law is passed

Bill would criminalize and condemn homosexuals to life in prison.

Homosexuals in Uganda are worried again after a bill that would criminalize and severely punish homosexual activity was revived in Parliament. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is notoriously known as the "kill the gays bill" because of its previous inclusion of the death penalty.

KAMPALA, UGANDA (Catholic Online) - The bill had been tabled for some time, after international condemnation, but it was revived late last year as a "Christmas present" from the Speaker of the Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.

Ugandans who self-identify as gays are now fearing for their lives once again, and facing more threats and discrimination than ever before.

David Bahati, a Member of Parliament, proposed the The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2009. The bill contained language which mandated the death penalty for anyone who engaged in intercourse with same-sex persons, disabled persons, or children. The bill also made a point of affording HIV positive convicts who engaged in same-sex activity the death penalty too.

Life sentences were mandated for anyone who simply touched another person with the intent of "committing an act of homosexuality."

The bill was popular in the conservative African nation, but condemned around the world. Several countries, including the United States, vowed to cut aid funding if the bill was passed.

Challenges from human rights groups also helped push the law back to the shelf to die.

Following developments including the murder of a prominent homosexual activist, the bill was allowed to expire in May, 2011.

However, Speaker Kadaga revived the bill last November, saying the country's culture has "no room for gays."

The bill has been softened, but only a bit. The death penalty has been removed, now affording a few years in prison to life sentences for those duly convicted.

Same sex intercourse will result in a life sentence.

The bill is set for debate before the Parliament soon.

Homosexual activists are speaking out against the bill, which they say is cruel and harsh. Activists and others who identify as having same-sex attraction say they are fearful, even to speak out because they often receive threats. Even if the bill does not pass, there is concern that its mere discussion in government will somehow legitimize vigilante attacks against homosexuals.

Already some Ugandans say they believe the bill is already law and have acted accordingly, accusing people they think are homosexual and even attacking them.

If not for the Western world exercising extreme pressure on the Ugandan government, the bill would almost certainly pass. However, Uganda is dependent on the West for some 25 percent of its annual budget.
Homosexual activists vow to challenge the bill in court if it becomes law, however they fear that much of the damage will have already been done, even if the law is defeated.

Tragically, while the sin of homosexual behavior is just that, sinful, Uganda's sharp reaction to it is also out of step with the modern era and Church teaching. Today, theologians and moral philosophers, along with nearly all legal scholars condemn the notion of a death penalty for most acts of sexual deviance, particularly between consenting adults.

In the modern era, homosexuality is seen as a mental health question, although its status as a mental issue is still hotly debated.

It is unknown if Uganda will pass the bill, however if Western opposition remains strong, which it probably will, then those wishing to address the issue of homosexuality in Ugandan society would be better served taking an alternative, and possibly more Christian approach to the issue.

© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.


Gay people in Uganda: love on the run

In Uganda, gay people are being forced into exile. If a new bill becomes law, homosexuality will be punishable by death – which means many people are choosing to leave and seek asylum elsewhere

Gay bar in Kampala 
There is only one gay bar left in Kampala. Photograph: Mathias Christensen
Five police officers force three young men out of their one-room slum dwelling in Kampala, with no explanation. As they are dragged down the slum's main shopping street, their neighbours' hateful shouts make their "crime" all too clear: "Beat those gays up!" "Kill those monsters!" "Give them what they deserve!"
Threats were also issued – threats they had heard before:
"We'll burn down your house!"
After two days in a small, dirty prison cell they are released. Now they've gone underground, and hope to gain asylum in another country.
"We don't dare to live here any more. We have felt unsafe for a long time and it only gets worse. It's all the talk about that law that agitates people. If it is passed I am sure they will burn down the house," says one, a 23-year-old transsexual who prefers to be called "Bad Black" for safety reasons.
The law he refers to is the so-called "Kill the Gays" bill, which is set to become reality in Uganda within days. It is already illegal to commit a homosexual act in the country, but a unified parliament now supports a tightening of the law, which, among other things, will make it punishable by death to be a "serial offender".
The parliamentarian behind the bill is David Bahati. He describes homosexuality as an evil that has to be fought. He also says that he and his peers "do not hate the homosexuals but the sin in them".
Bahati's reference to sin reveals the direct connection between Uganda's politicians and a group of very influential pastors. One of these pastors is Moses Solomon Male, who travels the country presenting his talk, Understanding the Challenges of Homosexuality (Sodomy).
"Those homosexuals … They call it anal sex. It ruins the anus. And they say they enjoy it," said Male in a recent speech to Sunday-school pupils in a Kampala suburb. He also described the cornerstone of both the pastors' and the politicians' argument against homosexuals: That they are "recruiting" innocents to their side – especially children.
LGBT rights advocates are doing their best to challenge these views – and the bill. One of these, transsexual activist Pepe Julian Onziema, has courageously come out with his message as well as his sexuality. Homosexuality is not something you become, it is something you are, he stresses.
"The only thing we can do is to try to inform as many people as possible about how we're human beings just like them – just with different sexual preferences," he explains.