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.
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

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs