Gen. Yoweri Museveni
Uganda’s dictator of 28 years Gen. Yoweri Museveni has weaved so many tales that he’s now being trapped in his own web of concoctions as he now pushes for his foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa to become President of the United Nations General Assembly.
Evidently, two years ago, Gen. Museveni was certain that there were Gay people in Africa before Europeans arrived.
Yet, in an interview with CNN shortly after he signed Uganda’s discriminatory Anti-Homosexuality Act on February 24 this year, Gen. Museveni claimed he’d only recently found out about Gay people and what they actually did; and, they were “disgusting.”
The Ugandan general was putting on a show for multiple constituencies:
For Ugandans, who are in general conservative, especially the majority of the population who dwell in rural areas, Museveni wanted to appear as a “strong” African leader. He would never bow to pressure from the United States, Britain and other Western countries.
He would stand up for Uganda and Africa by protecting the continents “culture” and mores against an onslaught from “sodomites” promoted by the decadent West.
Indeed, 96% of respondents in Uganda said “no” when asked whether society should accept homosexuality, according to a Pew Poll.
So, in February this year when the CNN interviewer asked Gen. Museveni what message he had for Western human rights organizations and President Obama, who had called the anti-Gay law “odious” while it was being debated in Uganda’s Parliament, he wrapped himself in the mantle of Pan-Africanism, and said: “Respect our culture. Respect African societies and their values. If you don’t agree you just keep quiet. We just manage our society the way we see it. If we are wrong, we shall find out by ourselves. Just the way we don’t interfere with yours.”
Sounds reasonable enough, right?
When asked whether he personally disliked homosexuals, the general dishes out some of his best lines. “Of course! They are disgusting. What sort of people are they? How can you go — I never knew what they were doing,” he said, with a facial expression of utter disgust, to suggest the physical discomfort he felt by the thought of same-sex intercourse. “Just, I’ve been told recently that what they are doing is terrible, disgusting.”
“But I was ready to ignore that if there was proof that’s that’s how he’s born; abnormal. But now the proof is not there,” the general added, sounding like a man who had tried his best to be reasonable.
He claims “since time immemorial” Africans had never tolerated homosexuality.
Okay so this is Gen. Museveni in February, 2014, when he signed the anti-Gay bill.
Was it just one of many acts of media manipulation by a man who believes he can bamboozle any Western journalist? (As for Ugandan journalists he can just lock them up or shut down the newspaper).
Well let’s let Gen. Museveni answer that question himself. He was very forthcoming when he spoke to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, two years earlier about homosexuality.
On that occasion, Amanpour asked how he felt about Gay people and Gen. Museveni responded in a calm, fatherly manner: “Before we came in touch with Europeans, we had some few homosexuals. I want to inform the world that those homosexuals were not killed as some people are claiming. They were not persecuted and they were not discriminated against.”
This was the same man who only found out recently about these “disgusting” Gays, and the awful things they did, before he signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act. Don’t CNN producers and journalists check the archives before doing fresh interviews? Perhaps Museveni knows that too?
Museveni wanted to place things in context for Amanpour and Western viewers watching two years ago, so, he added: “However, Africans are by nature discrete people, even for heterosexuals. We never exhibit our sex acts in public. I have for instance never kissed my wife in public — we’ve been married for 38 years.”
Brilliant manipulator that he is, Museveni knew what impact his “cute” comment would have on Amanpour, as one can see at the 3:34 minute mark of the tape, when the “tough” former war correspondent surrenders a smile.
“Therefore,” Gen. Museveni added, “the problem is exhibitionism and the second problem would be trying to lure young children into homosexuality. That would be another unacceptable aspect.” (For the record court cases in Uganda show that nearly all sexual attacks on children, including babies, are done by straight men).
Museveni then goes on to deny that David Kato, a prominent Ugandan activist killed in 2011 was murdered because he was gay even though he confessed that he doesn’t know the actual reason why he was killed because he had not yet spoken to police; the interview with Amanpour was in 2012.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kutesa the foreign minister should make up his mind as he yearns for the UN job. Which Museveni does he believe? The Museveni who said there were Gays in Africa before Europeans arrived and that they were accepted? The Museveni who just recently found out about these “disgusting” gays?
Museveni, as I pointed out in a column in The New York Daily News in February decided to incite hatred towards the LGBT community this year to rally voters behind him as he now fears that with a united political opposition in Uganda he may not be able to rig the 2016 elections. He did the same thing in 2009, two years before the 2011 elections; he doesn’t care about the consequences on the LGBT community, even as The Guardian reports that attacks have increased 20-fold.
If Secretary of State John Kerry denies a visa to Mr. Kutesa, not only would be block him from the UN post but he will also send a message to both the foreign minister and his boss Gen. Museveni that they can’t fool all the people all the time.