“President Museveni pledged to reject the bill as currently drafted, calling the legislation ‘fascist.’”
By Cathy Kristofferson, January 18, 2014
The Robert F. Kennedy Center For Justice & Human Rights has posted a press release (below) saying they have met with Ugandan President Museveni today and he “pledged to reject” the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB).
Museveni reportedly called the AHB “fascist” saying he would introduce new legislation “aimed at protecting minors from being coerced into sexual activity.”
Museveni’s twisted view of homosexuality as “abnormal” continues to be problematic. Two days ago he sent a seven page rambling letter to Speaker Kadaga in which he claimed gay men can be “cured” through “economic empowerment”. He also claimed lesbians are “sexually starved” “mercenaries” due to their failure to marry. That is a very reckless claim sure to result in attempted “cures” via “corrective rape”.
I’m quite sure he is NOT the right person to craft a Putin-like “protect the children” anti-gay bill. Nonetheless, rejecting the current AHB awaiting his signature continues to be a good first step.
RFK Center Notes as follows:
President Museveni will Reject “Fascist” Anti-Gay Bill;
Plans to Introduce New Legislation
(18 January 2014 | Kampala) A delegation from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) met with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni today at State House in Entebbe, Uganda to discuss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Uganda’s parliament on December 20, 2013. Last month Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFK Center, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote to the President to express their concern over the bill, requesting further discussion on the matter.
The delegation – comprised of Ms. Kennedy, Santiago A. Canton, Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights, and Wade McMullen, Staff Attorney for the RFK Center – expressed their grave concern over the legislation that would further criminalize homosexual conduct, censor freedom of expression, and ban civil society organizations working on LGBTI issues in Uganda. Archbishop Desmond Tutu who joined the conversation via telephone similarly expressed his concern, stating the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was reminiscent of oppressive laws passed under apartheid in South Africa.
President Museveni pledged to reject the bill as currently drafted, calling the legislation “fascist.” The President stated that he will consult with his party and plans to introduce a new piece of legislation aimed at protecting minors from being coerced into sexual activity.
The RFK Center reiterated that the government should focus on enforcing the Ugandan Penal Code provisions that already outlaw both opposite-sex and same-sex sexual abuse of minors. Should new legislation be introduced along the lines of the President’s suggestion, the RFK Center strongly advised that any bill should only focus on strengthening current child protection measures, may not discriminate against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and must fully respect the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.
“I welcome President Museveni’s decision to reject this hateful bill,” said Archbishop Tutu. “It is time for our African brothers and sisters to move past the antiquated notion that someone could be a criminal for who they love.”
In a March 2013 meeting at the President’s personal residence in Rwakitura, President Museveni promised the RFK Center that he would not sign any bill that discriminates against any individual.
“I am pleased that President Museveni has upheld his promise to reject any piece of discriminatory legislation,” said Ms. Kennedy. “While we are concerned with plans to move forward with a new bill, we urge the President to ensure it will not discriminate against LGBTI people nor imperil the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the country.”
The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (RFK Center) was founded in 1968 by Robert Kennedy’s family and friends as a living memorial to carry forward his vision of a more just and peaceful world. RFK Partners for Human Rights engages in strategic long-term partnerships with RFK Human Rights Award Laureates, augmenting the effectiveness of grassroots leaders to support sustainable social justice movements.
Publisher’s Note: The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is a Private member Bill introduced by David Bahati. It has the support of the majority of Uganda’s Parliament. President Museveni will have to use a lot of muscle to prevent what could still be a defiant two third majority vote which could keep the Bill in play and result in passage. This Bill is turning into a political power play between the President (perceived by some as a dictator – 25 years plus in power with suppression of opposition) and Bahati and Speaker Kadaga with political aspirations of their own. However at the caucus with NRM PArty members, the President may well pull off the death of the Bill through curbing the 2/3rd majority support. Then again the Bill in its current form could still pass. Melanie Nathan.