News / Africa

    Uganda Says US Gay Penalties are 'Blackmail'

    FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni
    FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni
    VOA News
    A Ugandan government spokesman has accused the United States of "blackmail" after President Barack Obama's administration cut funding to Uganda and canceled a regional military exercise in response to a new law criminalizing homosexuality.
     
    Ofwono Opondo told VOA that as a sovereign country, Uganda would continue to make decisions in its best interest.
     
    Opondo said his government rejects the U.S. decision as blackmail.
     
    "We think it is simply a blackmail. We have said it before, homosexuality is not a fundamental human right. In our own constitution, it is not guaranteed as a fundamental right," said Opondo.
     
    On Thursday, the U.S. announced it had canceled plans for a U.S.-sponsored military exercise that was going to be held in Uganda. The Obama administration also cut funding to the country and barred Ugandans believed to be involved in human rights abuses from entering the United States.
     
    U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Uganda's legislation ran "counter to universal human rights."
     
    In February, President Yoweri Museveni signed the measure that criminalizes homosexuality with punishments of up to life in prison. The legislation drew widespread international condemnation.
     
    Opondo was asked if he believed U.S. opposition would jeopardize President Museveni's chances of being invited to a White House summit with African leaders in August.
     
    "The United States government should use that summit to engage with the president of Uganda through diplomatic channels rather than blackmail. Preventing him from attending the summit, that would not in any way cancel the validity of the law passed by Uganda. So, we think that continuous engagement is much better than blackmail,” said Opondo.
     
    Opondo also said the U.S. did not formally notify Uganda when it announced the new penalties on Thursday. He said the Ugandan government found out about the U.S. decision through media reports.
     
    Homosexuality is a crime in 38 African countries.

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    Comments
         
    by: Tony from: USA
    June 20, 2014 11:15 PM
    It is unfair and hypocritical to cut aid and assistance to Uganda when nothing is done to Saudi Arabia which has even tougher law against gays than it is in Uganda. Gays are killed in Saudi Arabia but the United States continues to send billions in assistance each year. Why pick on Africans when nothing is done to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Russia?

    by: Helen G Thomas
    June 20, 2014 9:05 PM
    Continue to stand, Uganda. America is no longer the standard of power it used to be.

    by: Curtboogie from: Ny
    June 20, 2014 3:46 PM
    Its funny to see Obama huff and puff and try to blow Uganda down, but apparently, Uganda built their house with bricks, and Obama will soon get dizzy from all his blowing. Better to keep blowing on those straw huts in the U.S.

    by: Odongo Moses from: Kampala
    June 20, 2014 3:17 PM
    We are keeping M23 Rebels in Uganda, We are corrupmen, We are opposing UNICC against Kenya, We Opposed NATO operations in Lybia.

    by: Robert Jackson
    June 20, 2014 9:12 AM
    The Ugandan government, they're a bunch of special people, weak minded and ignorant.

    by: socal1200r from: usa
    June 20, 2014 8:22 AM
    Just another example of the U.S. trying to impose it's twisted set of values on other countries. Good to see these other countries standing up to the LGBT mafia, keep it up!

    by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
    June 20, 2014 8:10 AM
    Homofascism: A way of organizing a society in which homosexualists impose their agenda with which no one is allowed to disagree or have any appeal to the contrary without being subjected to severe consequences of ridicule, slander, libel, fines, public demonstrations, distortions, denial of free speech rights, loss of employment and having the word “hate” attached to you in some form.

    by: Henry Mkalira from: Lilongwe, Malawi
    June 20, 2014 6:53 AM
    If US and other superpowers are fighting for Gay's right why are they not fighting for the poor people from Uganda and some African countries by allowing them to enter their countries. Abandon immigration laws and stop issuing VISAs.

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