“If you are Lesbian, when you come to Uganda to entice our young people to join you in the immoral vice of homosexuality, we shall arrest you….” Y. Bihande
by Melanie Nathan, 02/10/2012
This week the Ugandan Parliament got one step closer to legalizing persecution in its country. David Bahati, the MP from Nordwa province introduced the Anti-homosexuality Bill into the Ugandan Parliament in 2009. This week, as we have reported in several articles on O-BLOG-DA the Bill has made a giant leap toward enactment as it has been reintroduced.
Reports are divided as to whether the Bill will include the death penalty as initially tabled. Many believe the Bill cannot pass in its current form, as it is too onerous and controversial, yet members of Parliament remain defiantly homophobic and either way the future for LGBT people in Uganda is clearly in danger.
A renowned spiritual leader and outspoken proponent for fairness and justice, former Anglican Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo of West Buganda seems to think it is excluded. He said he is very disappointed with the return of the bill. The Bishop noted that a significant change is the” removal of the provision for the death penalty,” and asserts that the new bill “still increases to life imprisonment the punishment for homosexual activity, which is already thought of as illegal in Uganda, under the “crimes against nature enactment.”
American extremist evangelicals have been linked to the initial introduction of the Bill, basing it on scripture, Bahati has admitted the religious link. Yet many faith leaders reject the Bill itself as hateful and itself contrary to Scripture.
Speaking to EIN News Ssenyonjo criticized politicians for seeking popularity through the bill. He cautioned that it will not work in the long run. “As you can see, a lot needs to be done and we have to use all methods such as Twitter and Facebook,” said the bishop who ministers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people (LGBTs).
The Bill went through an introductory read in its original form. Public Relations Manager for the Uganda Parliament Helen Kawesa, provided this copy of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which was introduced on Tuesday. According to Warren Throckmorton it is the same bill as was printed in Uganda Gazette on September 25, 2009 and then first tabled on October 14, 2009. This is the Bill as it stands today, with no visible changes yet to appear.
Although Bahati has mentioned the Bill will be changed to exclude the death penalty portion, with BBC and CNN weighing accordingly, we have yet to see any evidence of such exclusion and the original version is all that remains on the record at this time.
When the Bill was introduced the MPs in the Ugandan Parliament cheered at the introduction in its original format. This can be viewed on the VIDEO at my post from yesterday at http://oblogdeeoblogda.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/video-as-ugandan-parliament-erupts-into-applause-as-anti-homosexuality-bill-introduced/
Ugandans in Parliament who remain defiant and determined to pass the legislation, do not seem to care at this point whether or not the death penalty is finally excluded as they express homophobia and ignorance in no uncertain terms:-
These are comments provided by members of Ugandan parliament which a source passed on to me: (Incorrect spelling left intact)
“Stop issuing empty threats.Uganda is sovereign state,with all the rights to make laws governing its people. If you are Lesbian, when you come to Uganda to entice our young people to join you in the imoral vice of homosexuality, we shall arrest you and put you in jail for a long time. Our men enjoy penetrating and our women being penetrated through the vagina. We also enjoy having our own biological children. Am ansuring you we shall pass the bill into law whether the likes of you like it or not.” Y. Bihande
“That is a threat for nursery kids-please raise your issues. But to threaten first start with threatening American law makers over death penalty. At least for us in Uganda we are campaigning against death penalty. So you lobby but don’t threaten-we also have our cultural rights” R. Rokumu
“Hey stop intimidating us. We shall decide according to our own values.” A. Nankabirwa
“Thank you for the warning on us, but don’t you think you should leave us to the steer our nation in the direction we believe to be right. It is important for you to understand that we never warned Canada when she decided to prefer un Godly sexaul orientation like homosexuality. May i also remind you that the purpose of this bill is not to kill gays but to impart sanity in them that they may in the end have their sauls saved.” L. Lubogo
Action against the bill has been mounting on social networks including Twitter and Facebook. Sites are reporting my petition on CARE2 and CHANGE.ORG seeking signatures to urge President Yoweri Museveni and the Ugandan Parliament to reject the law is currently being signed by linking through the networks.
It warns Uganda of isolation by the west over the bill.
Now the debate is raging as spiritual leaders weigh in from around the World, Scott Lively who has been held accountable for the impetus of this Bill.
A Kenyan, Anglican priest Michael Kimindu, the African president of the Other Sheep, a gay rights group, said he will post tweets against it. “It is un-African to suggest killing, whether it is because of sexual orientation or any other reason. We think this bill is very unfair. We are lobbying for its removal,” said Kimindu.
According to Jane Wochaya, communications official at Gay Trust Kenya, the social networks were being used to unite calls for protection of homosexual rights in Uganda. “The bill goes against the U.N. declaration of human rights and against fundamental basic human rights,” she said.
After U.S. advocates contacted the U.S. State Department it is apparent that the department has a keen eye on developments in Uganda and is very well informed. It seems they are aware of the nuances and dangers of the Bill and that they are taking the matter very seriously.
Ugandan Coalition LGBT activists are hoping that the Western Governments will step back from threats directed at the Ugandan parliament at this time, affording the opportunity for the Parliament to play out its sovereignty and for local activists to helm the dissent.
In the meantime the Administrative arm of the Ugandan government is purporting to distance itself from the bill – and I have written more on this in my earlier article at http://oblogdeeoblogda.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/video-as-ugandan-parliament-erupts-into-applause-as-anti-homosexuality-bill-introduced:
If the Ugandan government had distanced itself in good time, instead of squirming now during this phase which they know to be too late, this Bill would not be on the floor now.
The fact that the Bill does not enjoy the support of the government as the minister would have us believe, is a feeble attempt at shutting the international community up. If that is the case how did the Bill get this far? Why was this statement only made now while it is on the legislative floor and why did the house erupt in applause as it was introduced – a house comprised of the majority with the same party members as the cabinet ?
My prediction is that the Bill will pass in a watered down form, but will be onerous and claimed as a victory for the MP David Bahati, who wants to use a new law as a tool to go after those in Uganda who are in his terms “promoting homosexuality.”
by Melanie Nathan
ARTICLES this past week:-