“A dark cloud has fallen over my beautiful country, I cannot hold my tears!”
By Melanie Nathan, February 24, 2014.
On Monday February 24, 2014, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the Kill the Gays Bill, despite pleas around the Globe asking him to refrain. The media was notified with individual calls from the Sate House, indicating the President wanted to make his epic signing a big show for the World. In doing so he has thumbed his nose at the World, and told all to go to hell, as many have expressed their horror at the Bill, including President Obama, who has described it as ‘odious.’
And you are probably wondering why I am still calling the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, ‘The Kill the Gays Bill’, since the death penalty has apparently been removed. To my way of thinking it is still a bill that is tantamount to death for Ugandan gays.
For many Ugandan LGBT people a life in prison term is the equivalent of a death penalty! Many of the Ugandan Kuchus have and will continue to experience being shamed and forced out by family, driven out by village elders, evicted by landlords, fired from jobs, chased by mobs, assaulted, raped, blackmailed – Is that the way to live a life? Being driven underground without HIV/AIDS resources and services which otherwise may be perceived as “promoting” homosexuality – surely all tantamount to the death sentence. And most of all, the greatest penalty is not being able to live authentically and freely, with the very basic human right to one’s sexuality. To have one’s love criminalized is death!
One Ugandan, currently in hiding, told me, “A dark cloud has fallen over my beautiful country, I cannot hold my tears!”
Until now we had not seen the final Bill as passed and now signed by the President the full text is available, see the link below. Still in the bill is the outlawing of the so called “promotion of homosexuality” – a nebulous and ill-defined term, which can essentially mean jail for anyone even seen to be helping a gay person. It includes life in prison for repeated ‘acts of homosexuality. The law punishes first-time offenders with 14 years in jail.
This Bill goes far beyond the existing Penal Code and in essence has started to send LGBTI people scurrying for hiding or trying to find countries who will take them in.
On December 20, when the Bill passed, there was no quorum as is required, and the Bill came for a vote without being placed on the Parliamentary Order papers. Even President Museveni wrote to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and reprimanded her for this shoddy work. Yet he still signed the Bill. The Bill is also said to be unconstitutional and it is believed that human rights defenders will seek to immediately challenge it in the courts. It is also contrary to several of Uganda’s international treaties as well as against The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
One Ugandan activist noted: “Justice will be served, we are going to seek an injunction against the enforcement of this law- we have the Constitution to back us up. We are going to seek redress from the courts of law and we are going hard! Don’t Fret, don’t despair, on the road to freedom, we face challenges, and those challenges are not supposed to break us, but to make us stronger.
We MUST keep strong, we have nothing left except our inner strength.- That they cant take away.”
Full text of the Bill and amendments can be seen here.
President Obama informed Museveni that if the Bill became law, the USA’s relationship with Uganda would become complicated. LGBT activists are calling for the recall of the US Ambassador to Uganda and some are calling for the expulsion of the Ugandan Ambassador from the US. Museveni said he did not care and that he would not be blackmailed saying he was willing to go to war with the World’s gays. And war it shall now be…, stay tuned!
This is what Museveni said at the Press Conference during the public signing of the Bill into law at State House Entebbe.:
“Homosexuals are nurtured but not natured. No study has shown that one can be a homosexual purely by nature. Since nurture is the cause, that is why I have agreed to sign the Bill into law,”
Flanked by ministers, MPs and senior health practitioners, the President said there are mercenaries recruiting young people into gay activities to get money.
“That is why those mercenaries must be punished and those recruiting them. I have failed to understand that you can fail to be attracted to all these beautiful women and be attracted to a man,” Museveni said.
“That is a really serious matter. There is something really wrong with you,” he said.
“Homosexuals are actually mercenaries. They are heterosexual people but because of money they say they are homosexuals. These are prostitutes because of money,” he said, asserting that he had taken the time to get scientific advice before signing off on the law.
“No study has shown you can be homosexual by nature,” he said. “That man can choose to love a man… is a matter of choice. After listening to the scientists, I got the facts.
“Can somebody be homosexual simply by nature? The answer is no.”
The president said he had a particular problem with oral sex.
“One of the cultures that we detest is oral sex. The mouth is for picking food, not for sex. We know the address for sex. That address (the mouth) is not for sex,” he said. “The mouth is for eating not for sex. The mouth is engineered for kissing.”As for gay oral sex, he said the health risks were appalling.
“It is not healthy. You can contract STD (sexually transmitted diseases). You push the mouth there, you can come back with worms and they enter your stomach because that is a wrong address. You can also contract Hepatitis B,” he said.
He said homosexuality in Uganda has been “provoked by the arrogant and careless Western groups that are coming in our schools and recruiting homosexuals into homosexuality and lesbianism”.
“Initially I have not paid attention to it because I was busy with the immediate issues of defence, security, electricity, the roads,” the president said.
“When finally, when I concentrated my mind on it, I distilled three problems: number one, those who are promoting homosexuality and recruiting normal people to it. Secondly, as a consequence of number one, many of those recruited, are doing so for mercenary reasons. To get money. In effect, homosexual prostitutes. These mercenary homosexual prostitutes have to be punished. Just like those who are recruiting them,” he explained.
“Number three, homosexuals exhibiting themselves. Exhibition of homosexuals, advertising yourself that you are homosexual.”
Museveni warned critics of the law not to push Uganda on the matter.
“I advise friends from the West not to make this an issue because if they make it an issue the more they will lose,” he said. “This is social imperialism. To impose social values of one group on our society.
“I would advise Western countries, this is a no-go area,” he said. “I don’t mind being in a collision course with the West. I am prepared.”
Please contribute to Rescue Fund to help LGBt Ugandans with asylum and safe housing
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