AS Uganda Media reports that UK University pulls out of Uganda as a result of direct advocacy of Western Gay rights advocate, Private Courts, Inc.*
By Melanie Nathan, January 20, 2013.
After advocating against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill since its first introduction in 2009, last October I found out that the infamous editor of Rolling Stone Tabloid, Giles Muhame, had given a talk to journalist students at the University of Victory, Kampala. I was incensed because Muhame’s form of journalism involved outing 100 gays next to the picture of a hang man’s noose, captioned by “HANG THEM”, causing prejudice and persecution and may also have served as the catalyst for the murder of Ugandan gay activist David Kato.
Seeing Muhame boast in his publication about the invite, as if to afford him some prestige, hit home, and so I wrote to the Chancellor of the University of Victoria in Uganda, David Young about the sordid invitation of his lecturer, Alan Geere head of the School of Journalism, and copied The Chancellor at the University of Buckingham, in the United Kingdom, which validates and provides its United Kingdom degrees to the Ugandan school. However I had a dual purpose and that was to draw attention to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill pending passage in the Ugandan parliament.
Dr. Young responded to my letter and hastily sought a remedy which he provided with a statement of apology from the school which I published in full here in a follow up article. (Both Articles are linked below.) However now it seems that the University in Uganda and the University supporting its degrees from the UK have severed their ties and the Ugandan press is attributing it directly to my advocacy.
My intent at the time of writing was not merely to OUT the University for its insensitive indiscretion in having this man lecture, but also to follow up on my own years of advocacy, where I have noted on many occasions the dangers of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and its impact on business and organizations functioning in Uganda. I have noted specifically that international corporations and employers, who advertize their diversity policies online to attract LGBT employees and who knowingly hire them, will face criminalization with prison terms, under the provisions of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, (AHB) if it passes in the Ugandan Parliament.
The AHB is set for possible passage when Uganda resumes this session on February 04, 2013. The Bill, otherwise known as the “Kill the Gays Bill” calls for the death penalty for so called “aggravated homosexuality,” and specifically states that anyone who fails to report a known homosexual within 24 hours will be guilty of a crime and subject to 3 years in prison. That would then extend to managers and employees. This will make it functionally impossible for corporations and institutions such as Barclays Bank, Google and the many more who operate in Uganda, all proudly displaying sexual orientation diversity as part of their hiring practices.
It seems that the University of Buckingham got the message and my advocacy has been cited as the direct cause for the UK University now pulling out of Uganda completely.
(Pic above shows Muhame and Geere and Students at university at time of Lecture)
Here is the report of the local Ugandan News Media, citing my Advocacy Company, Private Courts, as being the catalyst for this move:-
Pro-gay groups pressure multinationals in Uganda ,
By JOINT REPORT The EastAfricanPosted Saturday, January 19 2013 at 19:19
Western gay (r)ights lobbyists are targeting multinational organisations working in the country to speak out against a proposed law criminalising same sex relations
The fall out between Uganda’s Victoria University and one of its three UK partners, the University of Buckingham, which has resulted in the suspension of some programmes, is the result of a campaign by Western gay tights lobbyists to target multinational organisations working in the country to speak out against a proposed law criminalising same sex relations.
Victoria University — which on January 8 suspended its University of Buckingham accredited degree programmes because the two institutions could no longer sustain the collaboration “in a status of legal uncertainty and/or non-compliance” — is only the latest target of the pressure.
In November and December 2012, Barclays Bank and CITI Bank had to respond to an online petition asking them to publicly condemn the anti-gay Bill.
The suspension of programmes has left the fate of the tutors in these programmes uncertain.
And, should the university fall below its student numbers threshold, many more people would lose their jobs as Edulink Holdings, which owns VU, will be left with little option but to cut its losses and move to a country with a less cumbersome operating environment like Kenya, where they were already planning to set up sometime this year.
According to a statement from Dr David Young, VU’s acting vice-chancellor, “Under both UK and Ugandan law, discrimination on a variety of grounds is prohibited; however there are fundamental differences between the two nations’ respective laws regarding equality and diversity, which cannot be reconciled.”
The statement adds, “After seeking legal guidance from both UK and Ugandan lawyers, Victoria University and University of Buckingham have concluded that as the laws of Uganda and UK presently stand, Victoria University cannot comply with both sets of laws.”
The story began on October 8, 2012, when Alan Geere, a senior tutor in VU’s newly launched New Media, Communication and Journalism course, invited an editor of an online news site, Chimp Report, to speak to his handful of newly admitted students.
That editor had, before venturing into online media, tried his hand at publishing a tabloid that gained notoriety for waging a death campaign against what it identified as the top 100 gay people in Uganda.
In his talk to the students, the editor regretted his “past mistakes,” which he attributed to “the youthful adrenaline that overrode our reason.”
In retrospect, he noted, “It was not necessary to wage a campaign for the hanging of gays. I think we could have prepared a better story without jeopardising the safety of a minority group.”
Three days after the talk, Private Courts Inc, an LGBTI advocacy group based out of San Francisco in the US, wrote to the acting Victoria University vice chancellor protesting against the invitation of the editor on account of his background.
“We note you tout your university’s international standing. Unfortunately, this invitation has brought your university into international disrepute,” reads the e-mail, which The EastAfrican has seen.
The letter is copied to the Uganda Desk in the US State Department, and to Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, who has petitioned outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to deny the editor a US visa and to the Chancellor of the University of Buckingham.
“We are demanding an apology by Mr Greene [sic] and your university to the LGBTI and professional journalism community for this invitation, failing which we plan to start an online petition to disrupt funding and international recognition accorded your institution,” the e-mail adds.
This pressure, it is understood, forced the University of Buckingham to insist that Victoria University adopt equality and diversity obligations similar to its own in its statutes or policies or “otherwise, we may have to consider whether Victoria University remains an institution whose degrees we can continue to validate.”
VU failed to harmonise Buckingham’s equality and diversity obligations with Ugandan law and Buckingham decided against continuing their affiliation with them.
The Ugandan LGBTI activists are calling on the West to refrain from cutting AID to Uganda based on the AHB and for the West not to boycott Uganda, for fear of backlash and because they love their country so deeply that they do not want others, especially the poor, to suffer. However, the Ugandan LGBTI community may have that message but they will not be able to control the consequences of the Bill and the fact that the Bill poses such great risks to all employers, especially those with open diversity policies. Global corporations will be unable to remain in Uganda, regardless of what the activists want, only because of the very terms of the legislation itself, which will make it impossible for companies and learning institutions, such as we have seen here, to function safely in Uganda.
*Private Courts Inc., is the mediation and advocacy firm directed by Melanie Nathan, San Francisco.
Victoria University International School of Journalism Hosts Hang the Gays Muhame
Giles Muhame has called for the death and public lynching of gays and lesbians in his Rolling Stone Tabloid; and your University has provided its endorsement through its unconscionable invitation. Mr. Muhame’s self serving and disrespectful speech can be seen here:- http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2012/10/10/ugandan-hang-the-gays-giles-muhame-admits-wrong-and-regret/
What the world thinks of Muhame is summed up by U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, in her letter to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton where she asked for the denial of a U.S. Visa to Muhame, inter alia, as follows:: “Under Mr. Muhame’s editorship, Rolling Stone incited violence and murder against non-heterosexuals; calling for the public lynching of hundred of LGBT Ugandans, by publishing their names and faces, next to a hang man’s noose, saying “hang them. This hate filled man has fanned the flames with violence and intolerance, and is both a danger and a disgrace.”- See the letter at http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2012/07/11/congresswoman-requests-secretary-clinton-to-deny-us-entry-to-giles-muhame/
Ugandan University Invited Editor of Hang the Gays Article Now Issues Statement of Regret
Despite the first public retraction by Giles Muhame of his hang the gays campaign: “Had the Vice-Chancellor’s office known about this invitation and the background of the individual the invitation would have been withdrawn.”
San Francisco- October 20, 2012- Deputy Vice-chancellor Dr. David Young, of the University of Victoria, Kampala, Uganda, issued an apology this week, indicating the University’s regret at hosting Giles Muhame, the managing editor of the “Hang-the Gays” Tabloid, Rolling Stone.