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

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
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 Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs