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Uganda: Updates on the pending anti-gay bill

The impending anti- gay bill 2009 in Uganda that plans on criminalizing homosexuality and locking gays in prison or killing them has raised concerns all over the world. Chances that the bill will pass are very high.

A few amendments on the bill by the legislators and supporters of the bill like dropping the death penalty and life imprisonment and by February 2010 the bill will be passed (see below) and be part of the law. The bill that has terms like “aggravated homosexuality” and “promotion of homosexuality” and provisions on attempt to commit, aiding and abetting, conspiracy to commit, using threats, detention with intent to commit are on the penal code.

After the slight amendments the only change on the bill will be to provide counseling for the gays, according to Bloomberg.com:

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) — Uganda will drop the death penalty and life imprisonment for gays in a refined version of an anti- gay bill expected to be ready for presentation to Parliament in two weeks, James Nsaba Buturo, the minister of ethics and integrity, said.

The draft bill, which is under consideration by a parliamentary committee, will drop the two punishments to attract the support of religious leaders who are opposed to these penalties, Buturo said today in a phone interview from the capital, Kampala.

Ugandan lawmaker David Bahati presented a private member’s bill on Oct. 14 which sought the death penalty and life imprisonment for gay people in the country. The Ugandan government supports the bill because homosexuality and lesbianism are “repugnant to the Ugandan culture,” Buturo said. Still, it favors a more refined set of punishments, he said.

In addition to formulating punishments for the gay people, the bill will also promote counseling to help “attract errant people to acceptable sexual orientation,” said Buturo.

Barely a month ago, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni spoke out against gays and was advising the youth not to be recruited by Europeans:

President Museveni has joined the anti-gay crusade, saying he had received reports suggesting that “European homosexuals” had launched a recruitment drive in Africa.

He urged the youth to reject the advances. Expressing his homophobia, Mr Museveni said the youth must stand firm and abhor the divergent sexual orientation.

“I hear European homosexuals are recruiting in Africa,” said Mr Museveni on Saturday, to an audience of mainly youth at the Kampala Serena Hotel that homosexuality is un-natural.

“We used to have very few homosexuals traditionally. They were not persecuted but were not encouraged either because it was clear that is not how God arranged things to be.”

In a post titled “Spreading Homophobia” Sokari Ekine writes:

Yesterday was human rights day and the day chosen to hold the second protest against the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Unfortunately considering the implications for LGBTI people the turn out was disappointingly low. However the Bill is still being reported in the mainstream media and blogging community though not always in a positive way. This article from the Gwaker “Ask an Expert” by one Andrew Rice who lived in Uganda for a couple of years. His claims of expertise are clearly over rated, as he seems to think that the death penalty will be dropped and like most Ugandan legislation will be “rarely and haphazardly enforced “. For these he gives the examples of smoking in public places, driving recklessly, stealing public funds and prostitution. With the exception of sex workers, there is no national stigma and religious zealousness behind any of these laws.

According to Gay Uganda blog, this weekend Martin Ssempa who had strong ties with Rick Warren (who has finally spoken out about the bill) was going around Uganda advising the locals to support the bill fully. The pastor who has been described as charismatic and can easily influence people has been holding workshops in Uganda telling the masses that homosexuals want to take over Uganda, whoever doesn't support the Anti- gay bill must be a homosexual himself.

He has been threatening the leaders who plan on speaking against the bill. He says people should join social networks and campaign for the bill to pass:

The latest reaching me is yesterday Sempa in church said the bill will be passed in Feb 2010 and that they had amended it.

He asked how many people had laptops and in the whole church there were 13 people and he asked if they had access to internet and they put hands down, then he asked those who had desk top computers the majority raised hands with access to internet none, He then went ahead and told them that all of us (LGBTI) have Laptops with internet.

He strengthened by saying next year (2010) Jan Campus (Makerere University) will have wireless internet so he advised them to sign up on Facebook and campaign for the bill to pass. Come Jan they are going to have billboards and posters all over the country campaigning fo rthe bill to pass. He told them if they dont have internet let them spend 500 shs (about quarter a USD) to access the (internet) cafe's and campaign.

The sole purpose of the bill is to is to protect family values, religion and the African culture and in turn kill the gays in Uganda. Nsaba Butoro the Minister of Ethics and integrity says that they have to protect their identity and uses that as his main tool of oppression New Vision one of Uganda's leading Newspaper quotes him:

Adamant Buturo
Ethics and integrity minister Dr. Nsaba Buturo has no kind words for Western countries regarding the issue of homosexuality. Addressing Christians during a recent Workplace Fellowships Network retreat at Parliament, Buturo last week, Buturo said: “If I told you how many foreign diplomats keep coming to me over the homosexuality Bill you would be shocked. But I keep telling them that the integrity of our country and our values are more important than their aid. We shall not allow those people from the Western to define our identity and destiny. In their countries Christ no longer matters. It is our responsibility to define our identity and defend it.”

A Zambian reverend, Reverend Kapya Kaoma has been discussing on how the homophobic attitudes in Africa are fueled by US groups exporting homophobia, Anengiyefa posts the meeting United Nations: Landmark Meeting Denounces Rights Abuse Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity:

The meeting included discussion of discriminatory and draconian “anti-homosexuality” legislation currently before the Ugandan parliament, and of the role of American religious groups in promoting repression across Africa. In a groundbreaking move, a representative of the Holy See in the audience read a statement strongly condemning the criminalisation of homosexual conduct […]Also at the panel discussion, the Reverend Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia who is project director for Political Research Associates (PRA) in Massachusetts, presented the group's new report, Globalising the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia. Kaoma said that many anti-LGBT attitudes across Africa are fueled by US groups actively exporting homophobia. He called on US religious figures who have been promoting hatred and fear of homosexuality in Africa to denounce the Uganda bill unequivocally, and support the human rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Citing their moral responsibility to prevent violence, he also urged them to make such declarations in Africa, not just before US audiences.

The Gay Ugandan held a conversation with one of the legislators on his blog, Rt Honourable Benson Obua Ogwal. (UPC) Member of Parliament for Moroto. On a post called Conversation with a Ugandan Legislator:

Dear Anonymous Gay, And you think this will deter us? There are a very few aspects of the Bill that we can concede on like the Death Penalty and Extra-territorail Jurisdiction, but Gays won't have a field day in this country, try as the would. It is not about any of those Anti-Gya activists being attacked in the media. It is about Uganda. If only Gays could do it behind closed doors and not try to lure the innocent poor youth, it would be a different matter. But they are becoming bolder and bolder. Benson.

Hey Gay Pervert, How about this one coming from all religious leaders across board right here at home?: www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/news/Church_leaders_back_govt_on_anti- gay_Bill_95758.shtml We love gays, but hate homosexuality which has no place here. Forget about the Bill being withdrawn, for it will be passed in due time. Benson. Hi Honourable MP, gug

Yes, I have noted the perjoratory term you have used.

Personally, I think it shows some very fine defects in your intellect. But, I cannot say so. I am the pervert, arent I?

You, sir, and all the ones you have copied this letter, are shaming my beautiful country. Yes, I am gay. and Ugandan. And, you are shaming my country, before the whole world.

Rick Warren has denied Ssempa, and come out against the Bill. So will the rest of the world. The Catholic Church is going to come out against the bill. And, you will continue calling me a pervert, dear honourable MP.

Dont think it takes much intelligence to work out who will be the dishonourable person and who will not.

Thanks for your nice comments, dear esteemed honourable

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