The legislation would make “aggravated homosexuality” a crime punishable by life imprisonment. The bill also appears to require straight Ugandans to report “homosexual activities” to the police.
America’s Republican party, and our religious right, have heavy ties with the Ugandan right, and in the case of America’s very-white religious right, they’re the ones who are actually pulling the strings in Uganda.
The report in the Ugandan press claims that Museveni has blocked the legislation based on a technicality – the parliament did not have the necessary quorum present to pass the bill.
Of course, lest anyone think Museveni was doing a good deed, he then went off on a bizarre tangent about how gays are created in the West by “random breeding,” and how lesbians become lesbians “for mercenary reasons” – meaning, they don’t get married, then face “sexual starvation,” and apparently get so horny that they have to sleep with other women, or they’re heads will explode.
Museveni is also the one who told Christiane Amanpour a while back that Uganda didn’t have any gays until those evil white queer westerners showed up.
“Before we came in touch with the Europeans, we had some few homosexuals…. Africans are by nature discreet people… We never exhibit our sexual acts in public. I have for instance never kissed my wife in public… The problem is exhibitionism… The second problem is trying to lure young children into homosexuality… Nobody has been killed in Uganda for being gay.”
Having said that, it’s also entirely possibly that Museveni saw the writing on the wall, saw that this legislation was cause big problem with major donors like the UK and the US (and Sweden, among others), yet wanted to minimize any backlash against him for killing the legislation. So he blocked the bill, then blasted the gays. (It’s also entirely possibly that Museveni simply hates us.)
And one final note: Jim Burroway, who is an expert on the Ugandan issue, says some caution is in order:
Caution may be in order. According to Daily Monitor, the letter was dated December 28. Multiple news reports since the start of the new year have Museveni saying that he will bring the Anti-Homosexuality Bill before the entire ruling party caucus before deciding whether to give his assent or send it back to Parliament. But this report has him sending it back before bringing it before the caucus. Now that doesn’t mean he hasn’t sent it back. But if he did, it changes the character and possible outcomes for the party caucus. I think more clarification and confirmation is in order before we celebrate.
Be sure to check out our Uganda archives.