News / Africa

    Uganda Moves Forward on Anti-Gay Bill

    People protest against Uganda's proposed anti-homosexuality bill in New York on Nov 19, 2009.
    People protest against Uganda's proposed anti-homosexuality bill in New York on Nov 19, 2009.
    Andrew Green
    Uganda’s speaker of parliament has promised a controversial anti-homosexuality bill will pass by the end of the year. A new coalition led by the former state minister for ethics says the country is prepared to deal with any international fallout.

    The Coalition for Advancement of Moral Values does not officially launch until next week. But last Friday, the group of religious and civil society leaders organized a meeting with more than one-third of Uganda’s members of parliament. There they pushed for the reintroduction of a bill that would broaden rationalization of homosexuality.

    Before the meeting ended, Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of parliament, promised the bill would pass before the end of the year. James Nsaba Buturo, the former ethics minister and a coalition leader, says the measure’s widespread popularity will speed its approval.

    “I can tell you it has 99 percent chance. It will pass. No question about it," Buturo said. "If there was any leader in this country who sympathizes with homosexuality, he will not say it in public. Because he knows that Ugandans, by and large, do not support that way of life.”

    The bill was originally introduced in 2009. The initial version included the death penalty for some actions, like engaging in sexual activity with people under 18. Buturo says the death penalty language has now been stripped from the legislation and replaced with shorter prison sentences.

    But the proposal has still drawn widespread international criticism. U.S. President Barack Obama calls it “odious” and some international donors threaten to cut off aid if the bill is signed into law.

    Buturo says outsiders who criticize the bill are engaging in a “culture war” with Uganda. He says the bill’s re-introduction after being shelved by the last parliament shows his country will not be deterred by threats of aid cuts.

    “We are saying to the world and to those who are supporting this way of life of theirs, ‘Come what may.’ They have no right whatsoever to impose their preference on this nation," he insists.

    Clare Byarugaba, the co-coordinator of the Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law says gay rights activists are pessimistic.

    “The time that we have from now until Christmas, is a very short time for a bill to be tabled and then debated and then passed," Byarugaba says. "But, of course, there’s fear that it can actually happen.”

    Because the bill’s proponents are framing the debate as a culture war between Ugandan and Western cultures, Byarugaba says her coalition is looking to activate local human rights groups to speak out in opposition.

    “We call upon the international community not to speak out in the media about these issues. Whatever actions that are going to be done, should be done diplomatically, with the relevant stakeholders of this country," she says. "And, let the Ugandan community and the Ugandan human rights organizations and allies to do the groundwork.”

    They are also preparing to raise constitutional challenges to the bill, if it does pass.

    Parliament’s Legal and Parliament Affairs Committee is considering the bill before it can be tabled in front of the whole house.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Maria from: Uganda
    December 07, 2012 7:44 AM
    For all the gay activists in America and the entire world your criticizing of the bill is just making it porpular in my country where it was never going to be passed in the first place it had been dismissed but this business of you people showing off how you are helping us greatly with your aid which in actual sense is enjoyed by top government officials is making Ugandans angry because you think we can't survive without your help and most importantly it is being viewed in my country as imposing western culture on our African culture and because of this that bill may pass just to show you people that we can never be intimidated by your funny threats. So you may think your helping but actually your not if you had ignored this whole thing deep down i know it would never have coz it was harsh in the first place but now it has been revised and the death penalty removed and i do believe the speaker is also in support because the Canadian prime minister tried to threaten her. But now it's too late and there is nothing that can be done. FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.

    by: Nicole H from: usa
    November 17, 2012 8:34 AM
    Stop foreign aid to this country until they show some objective measures of improvement in human rights. The ignorance and hate will abruptly stop when the foreign money stops.
    The people who quote Leviticus to support this bigoted and hateful barabric view are absolutely ignorant with a 3rd grade knowledge of basic theology. Funny how they ignore the other laws about stoning a disobedient child or someone who works on the Sabbath. Or planting two different crops in the same field as an abomination just as eating shrimp or lobster...lol.
    Rather than trying to understand the Bible as a book written in a patriarchal culture with minimal scientific understanding of the world, they choose to select passages to interpret literally to affirm their prejudice. It is anything but Christ like.
    In Response

    by: Maria from: Uganda
    December 07, 2012 7:29 AM
    and you think cutting off foreign aid is going to achieve what exactly you people forget we are mainly an agricultural country so people can not really starve because they actually grow their own food plus in case you did not know the money that is sent as aid is used by top government officials to satisfy their own selfish needs so basically that money has not been put proper use anyway so nothing will change I pray with all my heart that bill is passed just to show all of you people that we can actually survive without your so called help.

    by: John from: California
    November 16, 2012 5:12 PM
    I will support economic sanctions. If Uganda wants to do without our values, they can also do without our money, medicines, products...we do not support Barbarians

    by: ljrich from: US
    November 16, 2012 3:19 PM
    Africa will forever be considered a 3rd world country if it cannot move past its violent history.

    by: sweetza Richard from: Kampala
    November 16, 2012 11:03 AM
    Uganda is a funny country with brain-washed 'believers in the Bible' How can we again be slaves to something else? Are we not slaves of religion? Why should u kill innocent people in the name of religion?
    In Response

    by: Marty from: Sulphur, Oklahoma
    November 16, 2012 7:55 PM
    The country of Uganda probably based their law on Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13, and GOD will bless them for it because they stand for Biblical truth.

    by: Marty Butler from: Sulphur, OK
    November 14, 2012 12:13 PM
    GOD will richly bless Uganda for their Biblical stance on this abominable sin.
    In Response

    by: Marty from: Sulphur, Oklahoma
    November 16, 2012 7:50 PM
    You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable. Leviticus 18:22 HCSB
    If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death; their blood is on their own hands. Leviticus 20:13 That is Uganda's law is based out of, the Roman empire violated this Bibliical principles, and they fell.
    In Response

    by: John D'Ambra from: Butler, NJ
    November 16, 2012 4:07 PM
    And may that GOD punish "your kind" who put Hate/Violence mongering Bigotry before Human Equality...
    In Response

    by: leslie
    November 16, 2012 10:12 AM
    if this passes i want to invade them, let us do what we do best.
    In Response

    by: jack
    November 15, 2012 6:28 AM
    We reserve the right to assemble and protest en masse in front of their embassies/consulates worldwide.
    In Response

    by: jomutenga from: uganda
    November 15, 2012 1:53 AM
    It appears many forget the first commandments of being fruitful and multiplying. So when it was not good for man to be alone, was another man was created!!!!
    In Response

    by: Mike from: Japan
    November 14, 2012 8:10 PM
    Absolutely. Because I believe the commandment was "imprison and spread hatred of your neighbors" right?

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora