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.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs