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Digging into Uganda's Anti-homosexuality Bill

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda, Gay Rights (LGBT), Politics

Kristoff Titeca looks beyond [1]a single explanation on Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill:

A crucial point is that President Museveni has never been an outspoken supporter of the bill, instead being rather dubious about it: he was fully aware of the disastrous international consequences. In his first public reaction after the introduction of the bill, he argued how it did “not represent the party of government position” and how “Uganda cannot risk its foreign policy by allowing the Bill to pass in its current form”. In the following years, the bill was weakened and consistently shelved, (in 2009, 2011 and 2013), until it reappeared on 20th December 2013, when it was passed by parliament.

After its passing, Museveni continued to pursue an ambiguous position: he claimed how the bill was passed without his consultation, and in a rushed manner, by a small number of MPs led by speaker Kadaga. This had then forced him to look further into the matter. In his interviews and statements, Museveni has consistently focused on two issues: On the recruitment of homosexuals (and related with this, the ‘recruited’, those who become homosexuals for ‘mercenary reasons’), and secondly, ‘exhibitionism’ of homosexual behavior. In doing so, he left a loophole, being that there was a possibility that certain people were ‘born homosexual (…) rare deviations in nature from the normal’. In doing so, he could both satisfy the domestic constituency – he was criticizing homosexuals – but also the international constituency, by leaving this loophole open. For example, even after announcing that he was going to sign the bill, in a response to Obama’s criticism, Museveni argued how he encouraged the US government to provide evidence that some people are born homosexual, which would then allow him to review the legislation.