News / Africa

Uganda Anti-Gays Bill Stirs Calls for Sanctions

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to sign a bill punishing homosexuals with 14 years to life in prison. He is shown at the 2012 summit of the East African Community Heads of State in Nairobi.
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to sign a bill punishing homosexuals with 14 years to life in prison. He is shown at the 2012 summit of the East African Community Heads of State in Nairobi.
TEXT SIZE - +
James Butty
The leader of Uganda’s newly formed political organization -- the Freedom and Unity Front  – said it is time for the United States to impose sanctions on the government of President Yoweri Museveni.  

Professor Amii Omara-Otunu said President Obama should also remove Uganda from the list of countries invited to an August White House summit with African leaders. Omara-Otunu is a Uganda scholar and associate professor of human rights at the University of Connecticut.

President Obama's remarks come after President Museveni said he is ready to sign into law an anti-homosexuality bill passed by parliament last December because there is “no scientific proof yet that people are homosexuals by genetics.” 

President Museveni said he was ready for “battle” with “outside groups” sympathetic to homosexuals.  

Obama Sunday said he was "deeply disappointed" Uganda is about to enact the legislation. In a statement, Obama said Uganda's anti-homosexuality law would be a "step backward” and reflects poorly on the country’s "commitment to protecting the human rights of its people.

Amara-Otunu said President Museveni should focus on meeting the basic needs of Ugandans and not exclude others because of their sexuality.

“I think President Obama should be more than disappointed. This is the time when the United States should really apply sanctions against Uganda, particularly because, in Uganda at the moment, there are lots of people dying without medication, lots of people going without proper schooling. And, we should be focusing our attention on the most vital issues that affect the welfare of the Ugandan people,” he said.

Uganda is one of 47 countries invited by Obama to a US-Africa summit in August in a bid to strengthen trade and investment ties with the continent.  

Gambian-born Sulayman Nyang, senior professor and former chair of the African Studies Department at Howard University in Washington, said Obama must insist that those African leaders being invited demonstrate accountability to their citizens in terms of protecting human rights and fighting corruption.

Omara-Otunu said President Museveni should be removed from the list of invited African leaders because of his human rights record.

“I think this will betray the fundamental values of the United States to invite someone who has, throughout his presidency, exported conflict all over the Great Lakes Region of Africa and now has actually enacted this bill, which actually persecutes a particular group of people who may be engaged in an act not of their choice.  

"By inviting him here it only sends a signal that whatever we say we don’t mean to say,” Omara-Otunu said.

President Museveni, who last month said he was against the anti-gay bill, said last week he would sign it because there is “no scientific proof yet that people are homosexuals by genetics.”

The Ugandan leader also said he was ready for “battle” with “outside groups” sympathetic to homosexuals.

Omara-Otunu said Museveni and parliament should not be denying other Ugandans their rights to do what they want to do, especially when they do not harm other people.

It’s estimated that 39 out of 54 African countries have passed, or are in the process enacting anti-gay laws and, in most countries, the popular sentiment is also not favorable.

Omara-Otunu said African leaders must take the lead in educating their citizens that people should not be penalized or made into criminals because of their sexual orientation.

“Most Africans do not like homosexual behavior in Africa.  But, our leaders should lead by example, should tell people that in fact people should not be penalized merely because they happen to belong to a particular category of people,” he said.

He said, years ago people in Africa used to be against people with polio and leprosy. "But African leaders should have taken the lead in educating their citizens that prejudice of any kind is unacceptable,” Omara-Otunu said.
Butty interview with Otunu
Butty interview with Otunui
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: le véritablecongolais from: UK
February 19, 2014 10:34 PM
US shouldn't use its power to force Africans to change theirs cultures, not by any means .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid