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Ugandan Lawyer Who Challenged Anti-gay Law Speaks Out About Whats Next for LGBT Progress

Nicholas Opiyo, the lawyer who led the court challenge of Uganda's anti-gay law, has spoken to TIME about LGBT rights in the wake of last week's decision overturning the country's anti-gay law. 

Nicholas OpiyoSaid Opiyo:

Nothing has changed much. The deep sense of homophobia in Uganda remains unchanged. In any case, it’s only been made worse by this ruling, because the debate has been reopened in a more bitter and fierce manner than we’ve seen before. To be positive, certain incidental things that are good will happen because of the ruling. First, individuals and organizations that have been facing arrest, intimidation or investigation will now have all those cases against them dropped, because the very foundation for these cases has now been declared unlawful.

Opiyo also spoke about the growing influence of American evangelical ideology on Ugandan politics and the "moralization of the legislation process"

When asked when LGBT Ugandans will be completely safe, Opiyo responded "It's a long, long way to go"

The full interview is well worth a read HERE


Scott Lively Says He's 'Not Unhappy' Uganda's Anti-gay Law Was Overturned

Lively

Scott Lively, the American evangelical hatemonger who helped Uganda pass its brutal anti-gay law, has written a column claiming he's "not unhappy" the law was struck down in its present form and says he's now waiting for calls of apology from media outlets who "for years have insinuated (or outright insisted) that the Ugandans were merely my puppets in a nefarious scheme to persecute homosexuals there"

Writes Lively:

The maliciously deceitful attempt by the global “gay” movement and its media allies to paint Uganda as a pariah state filled with hateful bigots (as in the propaganda film “God Loves Uganda”), is simply a disgusting modern example of the same “blood libel” used against the Jews by the Nazis.

I am not unhappy that the Ugandan law as written has been nullified. I have always said it was too harsh and did not emphasize prevention and therapy for homosexual disorder. The law’s enactment and quick repeal conclusively demonstrate that Ugandans can think for themselves, are capable of self-governance, and do not need “enlightened” Marxists and homosexual militants from the West to shape their public policy and uphold the rule of law.

Lively, who is set to stand trial for "crimes against humanity" for his role in helping pass Uganda's bill, has been steadfast in his denial of having any role in drumming up anti-gay hysteria in Uganda...despite video showing Lively 'educating' Ugandan lawmakers on how gays are "evil," "serial killers" and "Nazis" 


Members Of Ugandan Parliament Sign Petition To Swiftly Reinstate Anti-Homosexuality Act

Members of the Ugandan parliament held a press conference yesterday to announce their plan to bypass rules of procedure in order to vote on and reinstate the anti-homosexuality act (struck down by the Ugandan constitutional court last Friday). Led by Latif Sebagala, the group of MPs stated that they were collecting signatures (pictured below, in a tweet from Parliament Watch) in order to build support and petition for a reconsideration of the law.

Petition1Sebagala seems to believe that House speaker Rebecca Kadaga should be able to suspend the rules of procedure, which would otherwise necessitate starting the legislative process over from the beginning. The court's decision last week was predicated on parliament's breaking of Ugandan law, though, so it is unclear just how viable an option Sebagala's plan would be. Supporters of the bill are conflicted about his risky strategy but are still adamant about the anti-homosexuality stance.

Buzzfeed reports:

A group of MPs led by Latif Sebagala said the petition for a re-vote had already collected 100 signatures from MPs. He said that by Friday he believed he would have signatures from a majority of parliament...

In a phone interview, the bill’s original sponsor, MP David Bahati, would not directly answer several questions about how soon he wanted to see the bill brought to the floor and whether it should be passed under rules of procedure...

“Any bill will pass through the procedure, and by the rules of procedure we will follow them and we will pass it,” Bahati said, adding, “We can suspend any of the rules if we think it is important.”

“Whether it’s tomorrow or a week or a month, we will take whatever time is required to make sure that the future of our children is protected, the family is protected, and the sovereignty nation of the protected,” Bahati said. “The issues of technicalities is not a big deal to anybody. But the big deal … is that homosexuality is not a human right here in Uganda.”

Whether or not the bill can be passed quickly, Ugandan officials risk increased tensions and financial restrictions with the United States and other global organizations. Still, the vehemence of Sebagala and the other MP's is disturbing: not only did they share news of the petition at the press conference, they also reportedly broke into song:

Petition2


Obama Welcomes Ugandan President to the White House

Obama_museveni

President Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama welcomed Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to the White House on Tuesday as part of the U.S.-Africa leaders summit this week.

Despite announcements in June from the State Department that it would "take measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals" the man responsible for signing Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act (which this week was struck down by that nation's high court on a technicality) into law was not blocked from attending the summit in the nation's capital.

Human and gay rights activists have called on Obama to discuss anti-LGBT discrimination at this week's summit.

Ugandan media reports:

The business forum is part of an unprecedented three-day summit underway in Washington, with nearly 50 African heads of state in attendance including President Yoweri Museveni. Obama was hosting the leaders at a White House dinner Tuesday night.
 
At the meeting, U.S. companies announced $14 billion in investments for Africa. Among them: a $5 billion investment from Coca-Cola to fund manufacturing lines and production equipment; $2 billion investment from GE by 2018; $200 million in investments across Africa by Marriott, and a $66 million commitment by IBM to provide technology services to Ghana’s Fidelity Bank.
 
Obama said with the new financial commitments, he was boosting that goal to 60 million homes and businesses.
 
He also announced $7 billion in new government financing to promote U.S. exports to and investments in Africa. That includes $3 billion in financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank aimed at supporting American exports to Africa over the next two years.


Ugandan President Says Foreign Pressure Had 'Nothing To Do' With Striking Down Of Anti-Gay Law

MuseveniPresident Yoweri Museveni has denied that the recent court decision to scrap Uganda’s draconian anti-gay law had anything to do with the U.S.-Africa Summit taking place this week, reports the Mail & Guardian.

In the lead-up to this week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, human rights groups had urged President Obama to discuss anti-gay discrimination in Uganda and other African countries. Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act last February, which penalizes same-sex relations with life imprisonment.

Museveni has said that the decision by Uganda’s constitutional court to overturn the country’s anti-gay legislation last Friday had “nothing to do” with the summit or with the sanctions placed on the country by the U.S.

However, saying he intends to take the issue to the country's Supreme Court, Christian evangelical pastor Martin Ssempa, who has campaigned to “kick sodomy out of Uganda”, described the court’s decision as a “judicial abortion” designed to polish Uganda’s reputation before the summit.

Under earlier legislation which is expected to return following the court’s decision, homosexuality in Uganda remains illegal and punishable by jail sentences.

 


Ugandan Court Tosses Out Country's Anti-Homosexuality Act

Ugandan court

A Ugandan court has invalidated the country's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, declaring it illegal because it was passed by parliament without quorum.

The AP reports:

The panel of five judges on the East African country's Constitutional Court said the speaker of parliament acted illegally when she allowed a vote on the measure despite at least three objections — including from the country's prime minister — over a lack of a quorum when the bill was passed on Dec. 20.

"The speaker was obliged to ensure that there was a quorum," the court said in its ruling. "We come to the conclusion that she acted illegally."

The ruling was made before a courtroom packed with Ugandans opposing or supporting the measure. Activists erupted in loud cheers after the court ruled the law is now "null and void."

With the procedural nature of the ruling, activists and petitioners were not able to argue that the anti-gay measure discriminated against LGBT Ugandans in violation of the country's constitution.

The AP adds:

Nicholas Opiyo, a Ugandan lawyer who was among the petitioners, welcomed the ruling but said there is still a missed opportunity to debate the substance of the law. "The ideal situation would have been to deal with the other issues of the law, to sort out this thing once and for all," Opiyo said.

A colonial-era law that criminalizes sex acts "against the order of nature," still remains in effect in Uganda, allowing for the continued arrests of alleged homosexual offenders, Opiyo said.

Opiyo also said he expects lawmakers will likely try to reintroduce a new anti-gay measure sometime in the future.


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