Barclays Bank Must Speak out Against Criminalization of Homosexuality in Uganda and Africa

Or stop being hypocrites by displaying diversity programs on your websites….  LGBT people who work for Barclays worldwide should be asking their employers to speak out against criminalization of homosexuality before it is too late!  This applies to all doing business in Africa!

By Melanie Nathan, February 21, 2012,

(I first wrote this piece on May 09, 2011 re-blogged  it on Feb 21,2012 and now re-blogging again today on Nov 11, 2012 , as these facts play out again.)  If Uganda’s parliamentary members  enact the Anti-gay bill this week, (written for May 2011 and now it back again this month 2012) as predicted by a good many Ugandan sources, including its author, David Bahati,  it must either be willing to  isolate itself or the representatives of the good people of Uganda must have their heads deep in the ground!

In my many conversations with David Bahati, he has said he is not concerned with what the international community thinks –and nor about what it will do if the Parliament enacts the widely internationally unpopular Anti-Homosexuality Bill, now known as ‘The Kill the Gays Bill;’ and he was then seated in the belief that the world does not give a damn about LGBTI human rights.

Since first writing this article Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and President Barack Obama have condemned the criminalization of homosexuality in Africa and pointed specifically at the leadership in Countries such as Uganda to decriminalize homosexuality and refrain from enacting laws contrary to the International Declaration of Human Rights.

I know that corporate America is constantly seeking the multi billion pink dollar  – gay and lesbian (LGBTI) dollars have enormous clout  as well as in Europe and the UK.

Then leading this field are the banks, which not only seek gay, lesbian, LGBTI business but also boast all inclusive diversity programs as part of their corporate conscience. Furthermore  family members who support their LGBT children, cousins, aunt, uncles, parents, you name it,  are inclined to support a corporations and financial institution with diversity in its psyche.

Enter, Barclays Bank, an Internationally renowned financial institution with major presence on every continent under its universal corporate banner. As it happens Barclays is one of the oldest financial institutions in Uganda with an omnipotent presence  and I am currently researching the rest of the banks on the list below and beyond…

Barclays website notes:-  website:

Diversity and our People

Talented people are the foundation of our success, whatever their style, personality, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability…..

And so in 2011 – I asked surely:-

Barclays Bank – must come out now and speak out against Uganda’s Kill the Gays Bill –and then much to the critique of some threatened  – “or we will call for an International Boycott. “

The idea at the time was to make it known:-

How can any international corporation,  with diversity programs – and those which employ gays and lesbians, many providing  benefits to same-sex couples, continue to sit back and watch this legislation happen – knowing that LGBT people as a community will be calling upon these corporations to depart Uganda the minute that Bill passes this next week. (2011 and now up for a possible vote again.)

The bank is primarily involved in meeting the banking needs of individuals, small and medium businesses (SMEs), as well as large corporations. Prior to 2006, the bank focused on meeting the banking needs of large corporations and high net worth individuals. That focus was loosened to include SME’s and regular customers.

As of December 2010, Barclays Bank (Uganda) was the third largest commercial bank in Uganda, with assets in excess of US$476.4 million (UGX:1,100 billion)

Barclays Bank (Uganda) opened for business in Uganda in 1927, with two branches in the capital city, Kampala and one in Jinja, the country’s second commercial center. In February 2007, Barclays Bank completed the acquisition of Nile Bank Uganda Limited, strengthening its presence in the country. As of July 2009, Barclays Bank (Uganda) employs more than 1,000 colleagues, has fifty three (53) branches and eighty (80) ATM’s in service.

Perhaps Barclays and other presently silent corporations do not realize the seriousness of this and the predicament of doing business as usual.

In a world where countries have moved toward same-sex relationship acceptance and equality – beyond mere tolerance – such as Barclays’ home turf – the United Kingdom- where same-sex gays and lesbians can legally marry (civil unions) – and South Africa where equality is built into the constitution – such companies cannot continue to serve their clients or their staff, in good faith,  if they remain silent and /or do not divest and remove their services from the Ugandan market.

An aside;this is just a tip of the iceberg- or should I say a spark off the Volcano?

Here is a list of Bank s operating in Uganda ; and my plan for this BLOG is to go industry by industry, as time goes by in the next weeks looking into who is doing what in Uganda.  I invite other bloggers to join in the SLAM! Starbucks at this moment is using Ugandan Coffee.


Let me add that it is not my first choice to call for boycotts or divestment; yet I do believe that we as a community ought to be calling for comments. The executives of these companies should be first in line to educate the Ugandans and other African countries about the fact that sexuality is a human right. We should be hearing these companies talking to Ugandan parliamentarians, not necessarily with threats at this time, but with words of truth and wisdom.

Perhaps Barclays can explain the importance of equality and just why it has a diversity program on its in website. These groups should be involved now in educating Africa about the myth that homosexuality is “un-african” and that homosexuality does not equate to pedophilia, and that science has shown that gay people are born gay.

I say, if you want to do business in Uganda where a “Kill your Staff” I mean “Kill the Gays” Bill is pending, then join the conversation and please make sure it is heard loud and clear.

If the Bill passes and in any event for as long as LGBT people are persecuted in these countries, how can Barclays and others operate in those locations  in good faith when their websites purport to support diversity and make that promise to their employees?

This is a list of commercial banks in Uganda

  1. ABC Capital Bank
  2. Bank of Africa
  3. Bank of Baroda
  4. Barclays Bank
  5. Cairo International Bank
  6. Centenary Bank
  7. Citibank Uganda Limited
  8. Crane Bank
  9. DFCU Bank
  10. Diamond Trust Bank
  11. Ecobank
  12. Equity Bank
  13. Fina Bank
  14. Global Trust Bank
  15. Housing Finance Bank
  16. Imperial Bank Uganda[3]
  17. Kenya Commercial Bank
  18. National Bank of Commerce
  19. Orient Bank
  20. Stanbic Bank
  21. Standard Chartered Bank
  22. Tropical Bank

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