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Ugandan Parliament Adjourns for the Year Without Passing Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Ugandan parliamentary member Latif Ssebaggala’s attempt at pushing through a revised version of the country’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill has stalled after running into significant political hurdles, Buzzfeed reports.

MuseveniEarlier this year Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni first signed into law an earlier version of the bill that mandated heavy jail time and fines for Ugandan citizens found engaging in homosexual acts. In August, the law was repealed due to a parliamentary technicality that invalidated its initial passing. Ssebaggala spearheaded the effort to reintroduce a revised version of the bill almost immediately.

"The draft is ready and we have strengthened the law, especially in areas of promotion and luring children,” he told Reuters in November. “Next week we expect to meet the speaker to fix a date for the re-tabling to parliament."

The roadblocks facing the revised bill are complex and larger than Uganda’s social views on homosexuality. In August, facing economic backlash from countries that provide aid to Uganda, President Museveni endeavored his cabinet to reconsider their positions on the bill. A revised version, it was suggested, should focus more on the protection of children and the disabled, rather than expressly criminalizing homosexuality.

Though Museveni called for the new bill to forego punishing consenting gay adults, Ssebaggala’s new bill more or less featured a more intense set of legal consequences for gay people. Though Ssebaggala insisted that a new bill would be passed in time for Christmas, it would appear as if Museveni’s personal political machinations are standing in the way.

In February, after the initial passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, foreign aid from the U.S. and the World Bank were suspended and drastically cut, severely wounding Uganda’s governmental finances. Museveni, who has been Uganda’s president for the past three decades, is up for election once again in 2016.

Historically Museveni has always poured massive amounts of Western money into projects meant to please voters in the months leading up to elections. In short, he can’t afford to lose Western aid in the near future for fear of risking his position, and wholeheartedly backing a new Anti-Homosexuality bill would do just that.


'Pearl of Africa' Delves Into The Life of a Transwoman Openly Transitioning in Uganda - WATCH

Screenshot 2014-12-09 01.44.17

Rough Studios, a Swedish production company, has released the first installment of Pearl of Africa, a docuseries following the life of Cleopatra Kambugu, the first transgender woman to openly transition while living in Uganda. Filmmaker Jonny von Wallström began working in Uganda shooting music videos for the country’s burgeoning hip-hop industry before turning his focus towards the its persecuted queer population.

“Growing up in Sweden where being gay is very common and accepted in many places I always liked teasing them about this, being a bit too touchy and so on,” he wrote in the documentary’s production blog. “At that time I didn’t realise how bad the situation actually was in Uganda, but because I’ve been aware of the situation and knew of the Anti-Homosexuality bill when it was introduced in 2009, which planted a seed that I should do a film on the subject.”

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” has played a crucial role in creating the openly hostile cultural environment that drove Cleo, Pearl of Africa’s central character, into hiding.

Often referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill, the Ugandan law criminalizes consensual acts of homosexuality within the country and threatens extradition and jail time to Ugandans suspected of being gay while living abroad. The bill was invalidated on a parliamentary technicality in August allowing for a mild resurfacing of Uganda’s LGBT culture within its capital city Kampala. Museveni’s cabinet, though, has expressed its intentions of reintroducing a revised version of the bill that its governing body is likely to pass. Von Wallström says that Cleo’s story, though unique in its particular details, is reflective of many queer Ugandans.

“While I was researching doing a project focused on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Kampala, I was introduced to Cleo through my partners at Unwanted Witness. At first she was very suspicious why this western man was interested in making a film about her, what’s the agenda? This is something that I think western journalism and documentaries are too blame for, where they go and tell their story in “Africa”.

They put themselves in the movie simply because some producer thinks they need to have a white male or whatever to relate to, because these black people they are too strange, it’s such bullshit which I get offended by every time I see it. It stigmatizes our society in a very dangerous way, something that really affects how we see the world, with us western people seeing ourselves as something greater than for instance Africans.”

Continue reading "'Pearl of Africa' Delves Into The Life of a Transwoman Openly Transitioning in Uganda - WATCH" »


Uganda Awarded 2017 World Cross Country Championships Despite Fears Of Harsh New Anti-Gay Law - VIDEO

MuseveniDespite its severe anti-gay laws, Uganda has become the latest country to be awarded a major sporting event, reports Pink News.

Uganda last year passed a draconian anti-gay law which was eventually deemed to be unconstitutional. However, the African nation is expected to introduce an even more severe version of the law as a “Christmas gift” to the nation.

Uganda beat Bahrain - another no-go zone for gay people - to host the 2017 IAFF World Cross Country Championships.

It is expected that 700 athletes and hundreds of journalists will attend the event on March 23, 2017.

Of the decision to award the event to Uganda, sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi said:

“[President Yoweri Museveni] is passionate about athletics. He does not only receive all athletes whenever they shine but has gone a step further to give them a monthly stipend to motivate them. Not even football players get that." IAFF

The sporting world is making a habit of awarding international events to anti-gay nations of late. The 2017 and 2022 soccer World Cup has been awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively, despite both countries having controversial anti-gay laws.

Watch a report on Uganda's bid for the 2017 event, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Uganda Awarded 2017 World Cross Country Championships Despite Fears Of Harsh New Anti-Gay Law - VIDEO" »


Uganda's New Homophobic Bill Is Even Worse Than Last Year's Anti-Homosexuality Act

A government committee in Uganda has drafted a new anti-gay law, one that has the potential to be even more draconian than the country's (now-invalidated) Anti-Homosexuality Act.

The Guardian reports:

According to a leaked copy of the new draft law, MPs have instead focused on outlawing the “promotion” of homosexuality – a potentially far more repressive and wide-reaching measure.

MugishaFrank Mugisha [pictured], a gay-rights activist, said: “People don’t realise that the ‘promotion’ part of it will affect everybody. If newspapers report about homosexuality it could be seen as promotion. My Twitter account could be seen as promotion. All human rights groups that include LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] rights defence in their activities could be accused of promotion.”

According to the draft, anyone convicted of “promoting” homosexuality would be liable to seven years in prison. “We have confirmed that the draft comes from the cabinet. Their plan is to present it to parliament as soon as possible, before the end of the year,” Mugisha said.

“They have just twisted the language but it is the same thing. It’s actually worse because the ‘promotion’ part is harsher and it will punish the funding of LGBT and human rights groups.”

In an editorial published earlier this month in Uganda's leading newspaper, president Yoweri Museveni warned that the country would be devastated by trade boycotts should lawmakers pursue additional anti-gay legislation. 

Check out the draft legislation below:


Trade Boycotts Force Ugandan President to Reconsider Anti-Gay Laws

President Yoweri Museveni

There's a special place in hell for Anita Bryant for helping to popularize the myth that the gays are after the world's children to recruit them to the cause, like some fabulously well-dressed militant regime. This fueled one of the cries - and lies - spread 'round the world that people and governments are anti-gay because they just want to protect the children. We've seen it in Russia, the U.S., and of course Uganda.

The "protecting the children" rational is a lie through and through, of course, and Uganda at least is proving it to be as such. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni claimed that he signed on to his country's viciously anti-gay laws to ostensibly protect children and prevent them from being "recruited" into the deviant homosexual lifestyle, but either he never really believed that or the "recruitment of children" isn't that big of a deal as Museveni is now backtracking on those laws.

Though the author of the anti-gay laws said that any international backlash would be "worth it", President Museveni is singing a different tune, saying that his country could endure aid cuts, but that trade boycotts would be devastating:

It is about us deciding what is best for our country in the realm of foreign trade, which is such an important stimulus for growth and transformation that it has no equal.

He still takes a chance to make a nasty stab at homosexuals and still blame them for his country's troubles, however:

It is now an issue of a snake in a clay cooking pot. We want to kill the snake, but we do not want to break the pot. We want to protect our children from homosexuality, but we do not want to kill our trade opportunities. That now forces us to disassemble this whole issue.

How about just leaving the snake alone, knowing that it always was and always will be a snake, and letting everyone live in peace?


Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Recommended For Asylum In The U.S. - VIDEO

John Abdallah Wambere

Immigration officials are recommending that the U.S. grant asylum to John Abdallah Wambere, a prominent gay rights activist in Uganda who lives in fear of death threats and repression at home, reports The Boston Globe.

Wambere arrived from Uganda on February 21 on a temporary visa, three days before Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed off on his country’s new law punishing gay sex and the “promotion of homosexuality” with life imprisonment.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a letter on September 11th recommending Wambere for asylum, although final approval is still pending a mandatory background check.

Wambere said he has been evicted, arrested three times, beaten unconscious and has received anonymous death threats, including in 2011, after gay rights leader David Kato was bludgeoned to death.

Although Uganda’s constitutional court in August overturned the country’s anti-gay laws on technical grounds, some lawmakers have vowed to refile the overturned bill.

According to Allison Wright, one of Wambere’s lawyers at GLAAD:

“The antigay sentiment has just been rising and rising over the years. Just because the act is gone doesn’t mean that hostility is not there. That hostility is very much still alive.”

In an interview earlier this week, Wambere hailed the decision and vowed to continue advocating for gay rights in Uganda from abroad.

“I’m so excited; I’m overwhelmed. I felt like standing on the streets and shouting out to the whole world.”

On adjusting to life in Massachusetts, he said he had been shocked at the sight of a gay couple openly holding hands on Boston Common:

“To me, it was amazing. Nobody cared about it. Even they themselves were not even freaking out.”

Watch an interview with Wambere and a report on the asylum case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Recommended For Asylum In The U.S. - VIDEO" »


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