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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs