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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

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

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.