Ugandan speaker of parliament urges the West to back off

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Ugandan speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga has told Western countries to stop “bullying” them about their homosexuality laws.

During a meeting abroad with Ugandan ambassadors on January 9, Kadaga responded to reports that some ambassadors had faced harassment over a bill passed on December 20, 2013, which sets life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for the new offense of “aggravated homosexuality.”

Although the bill initially included the death penalty, it was removed from the revised version passed by parliament.

Kadaga claimed that it wasn’t fair for Uganda to receive such harassment from western countries when other African countries with similar laws have been left alone.

“Mr. Obama visited Senegal last year and tried to speak about gays’ rights. President Macky Sall told him off and he kept quiet throughout his tour. Mr. Branson, who has been making noise about the bill, is the biggest investor in Nigeria, which has a similar law. Why didn’t he taunt them? Why are standards different for Uganda? This is bullying,” she said.

She went on, “This is about Uganda and what its people want. If these are the conditions for aid and loans…loans we pay with interest. Who is giving us free money? We pay. So I want to appeal to you the ambassadors, be strong and tell them off directly. Soon they will tell us that bestiality is fine and a foreign policy issue. Will you agree?”

At the moment, Uganda and a variety of other countries blame the West for introducing homosexuality to Africa. However, Ugandan gay rights activists adamantly dispute this, saying that American evangelicals such as Massachusetts evangelical Scott Lively have largely influenced Ugandan political and religious leaders.

Ugandan President Museveni has yet to sign off on the bill, stating that he needed time to review it before making a decision.

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi attempted to block the passing of the bill, and has said that the new law will be discussed in the ruling party’s caucus.

429Magazine

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