AND WHERE IS THE U.S.A.
All roads are pointing to the likelihood of President Yoweri Museveni signing the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 (AHA 2023), imminently, as it is before him now for assent. The new ACT, otherwise known as the Kill the Gays Bill 2023, passed parliament in March of this year with a huge majority margin of at least 98%. The dictatorial President, clinging to office, despite the opposition that he strives to suppress, continues to think he can hold onto office at the expense of scapegoating Uganda’s LGBTQI+ community, with impunity. Much of that which underpins this legislation is false.
Museveni is no stranger to signing a “Kill the Gays” Act . He did it back in 2014. At that time, I was aware of his more measured approach. However, given his recent public lashings at the LGBTQI community, such as the call to ‘ALL OF AFRICA’ to “get rid of homosexuality”, his outward stance reflects a new and more bold approach. It is as if he is giving the finger to the United States, Canada, and the European Union and to all who have spoken out against Uganda’s passage of this horrific legislation.
Between 2014 to 2023, in the almost ten years that it has taken to bring back this Bill, there seems to have been an uptick in Museveni’s confidence around assenting to this legislation, evidenced by his heightened rhetoric. In August 2014, the AHA 2014 was nullified by the Ugandan Constitutional Court due to a technicality, a failed quorum in Parliament. This is a Private Member’s Bill, which requires a quorum for passage which its current sponsors PM Basalirwa Asuman, ensured when it passed this March, 2023.
Now it is up to Museveni to either assent to the Bill or return it to Parliament with further comment for amendment, still holding it open to a process that leads to passage. Whether he keeps the Death penalty for so called "aggravated homosexuality" remains to be seen. The Bill includes 10 years to life in prison, and even a 3 year sentence for children who are caught in a homosexual act. Yup, children who cannot even legally consent to to sex.
We have heard that today the Act is in the hands of Museveni pending signature and that it is his plan to 'hold court' with his PM’s for the splash of signature. We can expect fanfare - fanfare and fear - a persecutory and lethal mix!
The last time Museveni signed, in 2014, the country went wild with delight, parading down the streets calling for the eradication of gays. Thirty thousand people, led in procession by religious leaders from every denomination, Archbishops to Priests, leading the anti-Homosexuality parade with a rally in the Mandela Stadium, where Museveni graphically portrayed his disgust at same-sex love.
PIC 2014 Guardian: Pastor Martin Sempa notorious anti gay pastor from Uganda - Pastors in Uganda march against gays in 2014, thanking Parliament for Kill the Gays Bill : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/02/uganda-celebrates-anti-gay-law
Portrayed as criminals because of who they love, demonized because of religious intolerance and extremism, as influenced by American Evangelicals, Uganda’s gay community is in panic mode. They are being hunted, violated and even killed and this has increased since the passage of the Act. Once signed into law, this will be worse. There are few paths out....
It is a human right to love whoever you want and to have intimate relationships with whom one is attracted as long as of age and consensual. And in this regard same-sex relations are no different to heterosexual relations, yet are criminalized. It makes no sense. It is a misuse of power of a Parliament and a President to sidetrack the country from oppression, poverty, corruption- the perfect scapegoats.
The United Nations (UN) and human rights bodies have condemned the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023, with calls to President Museveni not to sign the Bill into law. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/un-rights-chief-calls-uganda-anti-gay-bill-deeply-troubling
We have not heard much from the United States on any action they plan to take if the Act is signed into law. The response feels muted to those waiting and terrified. We understand that this must be measured for fear of repercussion against Uganda’s LGBTQI+ community. However, the community itself is calling for action, while noting that they do not want their fellow Ugandans to suffer hardship because of them. This is an unselfish act of balance because their very lives are in the hands of the people they care so deeply about.
I am wondering if Museveni’s increase in boldness over the ten year period relates to a snub against the USA, EU and Canada, no longer as strong a player when the Chinese, Russians and Israelis are Uganda’s new formidable funding allies. He is calling on AFRICA to "save the world from homosexuality." And believe me many a country may take heed. This is a crisis of epic proportion.
Why is the U.S. not taking action now or are they? Why is the U.S. Embassy seemingly so embattled or still so allied to Museveni? So quiet? Who is representing the U.S. interests in this? Why have we not heard from the White House envoy for LGBTQI+ interests. Where is the special rapporteur to the UN? I can only assume it is all happening “behind the scenes”. None have contacted African Human rights Coalition, the one organization so deeply entrenched with support for those fleeing. The one knowing ahead where people are headed?
Is silence or behind the scene - speaking to a select few- serve anything at this point, because frankly, we know he is going to sign! So isn’t a massive outcry worthwhile?
Why are our activists not knocking down the doors of the Ugandan Embassy in DC?
PIC: Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday described gay people as "deviants" and called for an investigation into homosexuality as lawmakers in the conservative East African nation prepare to vote on an anti-LGBT bill. The bill, introduced earlier this month, proposes tough new penalties for same-sex relations in a country where homosexuality is already illegal, sparking criticism from human rights groups.
In a state of the nation address before lawmakers, Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986, called gay people deviants as MPs urged him to comment on the new legislation.
"The homosexuals are deviations from normal. Why? Is it by nature or nurture. We need to answer these questions," the 78-year-old said. https://www.africanews.com/2023/03/16/uganda-museveni-calls-gay-people-deviants-as-anti-lgbt-bill-advances//
From our perspective here at African Human Rights Coalition we are asking for preparation. We are asking for a path out for Uganda’s LGBTQI+ community. We are asking for funding to support safe shelters and routes. The world must creates a path as if each and every person is in fact Ann Frank circa Holocaust waiting to die. Yes, it is that bad. The legislation proscribes the Death penalty and life in prison, - it is THAT BAD!
PICTURE: Museveni and Parliamentarians have unjustly accused all gays and based the AHA 2023 legislation on harm to children. See tweet below: https://twitter.com/StateHouseUg/status/1643576727854018562 This is a false premise. "To harmonize on it" - ? The underlying rhetoric here is that gays in Uganda are hurting children. By sheer numbers heterosexuals are hurting children. It is an outrageous contention and an excuse to scapegoat.
PIC PROTESTS: South Africa and Canada