News / Africa

Uganda President Indicates Foreign Objections May Signal Downfall of Homosexuality Legislation

Uganda
Uganda

Multimedia

Audio

A controversial bill under consideration in Uganda’s parliament is being challenged by President Yoweri Museveni on foreign policy grounds.  The 23-year incumbent says the measure, which would make some homosexual acts punishable by death and others by life imprisonment, would discourage foreign investment and might infringe on obligations to protect human rights defenders and medical personnel who treat Ugandan HIV and AIDS patients. 
 

Yoweri Museveni, whose third term is due to expire in 2011, is raising questions about Uganda's international position if parliament imposes the death penalty for homosexual behavior.
Yoweri Museveni, whose third term is due to expire in 2011, is raising questions about Uganda's international position if parliament imposes the death penalty for homosexual behavior.
 

  
Msia Clark is professor of Pan-African studies at Cal State University in Los Angeles. California, and serves as Uganda country specialist for Amnesty International in the United States.  She points out that the bill resonates with many Ugandans for its traditional values, and that lawmaker David Bahati, who introduced it with backing from American  evangelical groups, is determined not to back down on its criminal provisions.
   
“Clearly, he’s really trying to make a name for himself, politically and socially within Uganda.  He also does come from an increasingly vocal community in Uganda that is increasingly anti-gay, increasingly in support of the stripping of the rights of the LGBT community that says that they feel homosexuality is a threat to their way of life, is a threat to Ugandan society.  And so the rhetoric that he’s putting out there is that he’s trying to save the Ugandan family.  He’s trying to save children from being abused by gay men,” said Clark.

In Uganda, six percent of the population is HIV positive
In Uganda, six percent of the population is HIV positive

But President Museveni and others say the measure goes too far and would work to the country’s disadvantage in the international community. Professor Clark notes that though Mr. Museveni is not an ardent advocate of gay rights, he clearly understands the consequences of passing such a law.
   
“On one hand, Museveni doesn’t want to lose his support of western countries, especially the United States.  Members of Congress have come out in opposition to the bill.  President Obama has also mentioned concerns which some of the drastic measures of the bill take.  On the other hand, there is an election coming up.  And if Museveni appears to be in support of the gay rights activists, then he could also have problems next year when he possibly runs for reelection,” she explains.
   
Clark recognizes it would also likely discourage Uganda’s foreign investors. 
 

Uganda
Uganda
 

  
“One of the things that recently came out is the link between Christian evangelists and Uganda, where there has been money that has poured into Uganda from the American evangelical community in support of the Christian community there, where this bill originated from.  But then, there’s the other aspect, where western donors are saying that if this bill passes, then they will pull up on donations of foreign funding into Uganda.  And of course, the money coming in from foreign governments is much more substantial than that coming in from the conservative Christian community in America,” she acknowledged.
   
Over the Museveni years, Uganda has won accolades among African and foreign leaders for its public commitment in reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS.  Professor Clark says that it is unlikely the country’s citizens will permit parliament to forsake this leadership role by passing the anti-gay legislation with what she calls the harsh criminal penalties of its current draft form.

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs