Uganda anti-gay law would put to death any who criticize it

You’ve really entered Nazi territory, or Idi Amin territory as the geography may be (this is Uganda, after all), when you’re so paranoid and hateful that you don’t simply attempt to pass a law putting gays to death, but you put to death anyone who criticizes the law putting gays to death.

We’d reported on this legislation before. It’s been around for a number of years, but only recently starting moving ahead in Uganda’s parliament.

To the dismay of gay rights activist worldwide, the mainstream media, including the Associated Press and the BBC, keep falling for the lies of Ugandan officials who tell them the “death for gays” provision has been dropped, only to find out later that it hasn’t. It’s happened at least fifteen times now over the past three years (it’s gone, no it’s not). AP is the latest to fall for this lie, unquestioned.

The provision is very much still in the legislation, and it’s so onerous that it would not only sentence you to death for being gay, it would sentence you to death for publicly disagreeing with the legislation, or the sentence.

uganda on map

Uganda via Shutterstock

“If the law is passed the way it is right now, I would go to jail, and I would be killed,” said Ugandan gay activist Frank Mugisha, speaking from Kampala last week, regarding the newly-revived bill known as the “kill the gays” bill, which could punish homosexuality, which is already illegal in Uganda, with life in prison or death. “The bill says anyone who commits the offense [and speaks out] against this legislation more than once is a serial offender. And the fact that I’ve already said in Uganda that I’m gay, and that I’m an advocate for LGBT rights, that means I’m promoting homosexuality in Uganda, according to this bill. This legislation, if passed into law, it would automatically make me a serial offender and I would be sentenced to death.”

The Germans have pulled a substantial amount of aid to Uganda for the next three years.  Mostly due to corruption issues, but the Germans also mentioned the gay controversy in their announcement.

Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin says other governments have also cut back direct aid to Uganda after it was found that the government of Uganda was involved in a massive conspiracy to defraud foreign lenders.

UGANDAN officials across four government and state departments colluded in a sophisticated and elaborate fraud to siphon off €12m of aid money, auditors have disclosed.

The scandal has been traced to staff from the prime minister’s office, the finance department, including the treasury, and the Bank of Uganda.

Britain, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden have previously announced that they were cutting direct aid to the Ugandan government after learning that much of it went into the personal bank account of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. Britain then followed with another announcement that it had gone further by freezing all bilateral aid, including aid to NGO’s and Ugandan financial institutions as well. Total bilateral aid for this year was set for £98.9 million (US$157 million), but it’s not known how much of that aid was already disbursed.

And even the EU and the World Bank are now withholding funds:

“The EU, the World Bank, the UK and a number of other donor countries are now withholding a total of USD 285 million (approximately NOK 1.6 billion) in aid to Uganda. This is an embarrassment for the Ugandan Government and unfortunately it is the country’s poor that will be affected. But we cannot provide any more funding if it is simply being pocketed by corrupt officials,” [Norwegian State Secretary Arvinn Eikeland] Gadgil stressed.

The US has given Uganda around $16bn over the past two decades, and is currently providing nearly half a billion annually.  And millions each year goes form the US to the Ugandan military – I wonder how they’d feel about the military money being cut off because their leaders are attempting to become modern-day Idi Amins?

A little more on the disaster that is supposedly our top ally in the region, from Helen Epstein writing in the NY Review of Books:

When I toured the country last summer, I saw ruling party candidates passing out Uganda shilling notes hand over fist. Some even used donated medicine to win over voters. Most of this money came directly from the Treasury and foreign aid programs, but when journalists and civil society activists launched a “Return Our Money” campaign in protest, the police warned them to stop or they’d be charged with treason. Days before the election, enormous tanks, fighter jets and anti-riot vehicles roared through the countryside, warning voters of what would happen if the elections didn’t go Museveni’s way. On election day itself, soldiers reportedly advised people to vote NRM if they wanted to avoid a war. There were also reports of army involvement in ballot stuffing, multiple voting, and theft of ballot boxes. As expected, Museveni’s party won by a landslide. However, opposition leaders claim that the votes announced at many of the polling stations, in the presence of both opposition and ruling party observers, didn’t match up with those announced by Museveni’s Electoral Commission.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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