News / Africa

Uganda Accuses US of Blackmail over Anti-Gay Law

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe, 36 km (22 miles) south west of capital Kampala February 24, 2014. Museveni signed into law on Monday an anti-gay bill that toughens already strict legisUganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe, 36 km (22 miles) south west of capital Kampala February 24, 2014. Museveni signed into law on Monday an anti-gay bill that toughens already strict legis
x
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe, 36 km (22 miles) south west of capital Kampala February 24, 2014. Museveni signed into law on Monday an anti-gay bill that toughens already strict legis
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe, 36 km (22 miles) south west of capital Kampala February 24, 2014. Museveni signed into law on Monday an anti-gay bill that toughens already strict legis
James Butty
A spokesman for the Ugandan government says his country will not be blackmailed into changing its anti-homosexual law.

Ofwono Opondo said Uganda is a sovereign country with an independent parliament and it should be allowed to make laws that are in the interest of its citizens.

This comes after the United States Thursday announced it would impose sanctions on Uganda for its anti-gay law.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Ugandan officials involved in human rights abuses, including against the gay community will be denied entry into the United States.

The US also cancels a scheduled military exercise with Uganda.

Signed by President Yoweri Museveni earlier this year, the anti-gay law says “repeat homosexuals” should be jailed for life. It also makes it illegal to promote homosexuality in Uganda.

Government spokesman Opondo said Uganda’s constitution does not recognize homosexuality as a human rights issue.
 
“Uganda cannot compel the United States to give us their money. We shall make do with the resources that we have. Uganda is a sovereign country; our parliament is a sovereign parliament and we should be allowed to make laws and make decisions that we think are in our interest,” he said.
 
Opondo said it was inappropriate for the US to first announce the sanctions in the media without first formally notifying the government of Uganda.
 
He said imposing sanctions on Uganda does not help protect what he calls the so-called human rights that the United States is seeking to protect.
 
“We have stated before that homosexuality is not a fundamental human rights in our own constitution,” Opondo said.
 
Opondo said even if homosexuality were protected under Ugandan law and the government was violating such right, there are democratic and legitimate platforms through which the United States government can engage the Ugandan government.
 
“They can engage the government of Uganda through the diplomatic channel and through the parliament of Uganda by requesting why the law should be repealed; they can support groups to challenge this law through our judicial system. We have a judicial system that can handle any issue, but we reject the blackmail by the United States government,” Opondo said.
 
He said if the US government believes in the rule of law, then it should be able to use the Ugandan parliamentary platform or its judicial system to challenge the anti-gay law.
 
Opondo said the anti-gay law is popular with Ugandans, and he challenged the US government to sponsor a referendum to test whether the US position is correct or not.
 
Uganda is one of about 50 African countries that are expected to attend the US-Africa summit to be hosted by President Barack Obama in August.
 
Some Africa analysts and human rights defenders say President Obama should exclude Uganda from the summit because of the country’s anti-gay law.
 
Opondo said Uganda believes continued engagement is much better than “blackmail”.
 
“We think there is no reason why the president of Uganda should not be able to attend. The United States government should use that summit to engage the president of Uganda through diplomatic channels rather than blackmail. Preventing President Museveni from attending the summit does not in any way cancel the validity of the law passed by the Ugandan parliament,” he said.
Butty interview with Opondo
Butty interview with Opondoi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs