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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid