Gen. Museveni. Odious pen used to sign odious bill
On Monday, after months of speculation, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill toughening punishment for homosexual people.
A death penalty clause has been removed as has the clause criminalizing those who do not report homosexuals. The new law defines homosexuality to include touching another person “with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality”.
Uganda’s anti-homosexuality act provides for: Life imprisonment for gay sex, including oral sex; life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality”, including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive; life imprisonment for living in a same-sex marriage; seven years for “attempting to commit homosexuality”; and, between five and seven years in jail or a $40,700 fine or both for the “promotion” of homosexuality.
Businesses or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) found guilty of the “promotion” of homosexuality would have their certificates of registration cancelled and directors could face seven years in jail.
It is reported that government officials clapped when the president signed the bill, and according to some jubilant Ugandans, after days of hot dry weather, the heavens opened up in downpour as a sign of approval at the president’s stance on homosexuality.
The law has evoked passionate discussion on social media sites. There have been angry debates both for and against the new law, with friends, lovers and family turning on each other. Opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists, indeed the passion is the measure of the holder’s lack of rational conviction as Bertrand Russell taught the world.
Many Ugandans have again been hoodwinked by Gen. Museveni. He has managed to divert the attention of many people from the real issues that are affecting the populace. These include: lack of public service delivery and other immoral acts; theft of millions of dollars in public funds, including those sent as foreign aid from the U.K., the U.S., and the Nordic countries; lack of basic scholastic materials in schools; lack of medicines and beds in hospitals; epidemic of rape of women and infant girls; domestic violence; potholes on most major roads; infrastructure collapse; high joblessness, with youth unemployment estimated at between 70% to 80%; and, the regime’s refusal to undertake electoral reform heading to the 2016 presidential vote.
These are the national pressing issues but Gen. Museveni, ever the schemer, has politicized an issue he knows can hijack people’s attention and rational judgment.
How does my neighbor being a homosexual affect my life and my livelihood? Have we confused homosexuality with pedophilia? Homosexuality versus rape? Homosexuality and harassment?
I am not homosexual but I must say I have been very fortunate to have been propositioned by very stunning women. There is a global debate whether homosexuality is pre-determined by birth or a choice. Nevertheless, no one has the right to advocate punishment for consenting adults.
If a homosexual man coerces another man or an under aged boy into sexual activity, then the crime is that of rape, as it would be for a male forcing sex upon a female. Similarly if a homosexual harasses a heterosexual man with unwanted attention, the crime is that of harassment and again the pestering would be punished to the full extent of the law.
I personally don’t understand homosexuality but it’s not for me to judge, condone or advocate violence against homosexuals; or that their liberty be taken away from them. They are human beings whatever else we think of them.
Those who quote the Bible and Quran only refer to texts that suit their biases because they too are not completely blameless; their own sins may just be different or more acceptable to society. Take rapes of girls, including children, for example, which is prevalent in Uganda and referred to as “defilement”; where is the similar outrage? This abominable crime, which is covered frequently in the Ugandan newspapers, does not seem to horrify Uganda’s president in the same manner in which he’s affected by the presence of homosexuals in the mist. Is this the sign of a sincere man confronting sexual “deviancy”? This says much about his definition of what’s within “normalcy.”
And now that wearing mini-skirts have been banned and mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and aunts have been undressed by mobs in public — the irony, for dressing in an alleged sexually “provocative” manner the solution is to strip them naked– this is also within Gen. Museveni’s range of “normalcy”?
But Gen. Museveni is a master of inciting hatred towards the group that he wants to place on his cross-hairs at any given time for political capital. It was not very long ago this same president’s acolytes referred to Acholis, from the northern part of Uganda as “biological substances.” At that time, he wanted to marshal hatred of Acholis from people in the Western part of Uganda; and he was successful.
I am personally Acholi; who stood up for me then? Who said “no,” when innocent Acholis were herded like cattle into so-called “protective camps” where possibly millions perished over a 25-year period of planned neglect; through starvation, dehydration, diseases, and brutalization by Gen. Museveni’s soldiers. Who stood up when innocent Acholis were raped and males sodomized in front of their wives by Gen. Museveni’s soldiers in their scorched earth military operations, allegedly searching for Joseph Kony of the LRA, but conveniently having time to loot the cattle and granaries of villagers in Acholi?
Then later, he turned his devious divide-and-rule strategy against the Baganda, and other people from different parts of Uganda.
But now that his tragedy has been visited upon all of Uganda’s regions and its people, Gen. Museveni, who can only rule by hate, is targeting homosexuals. How convenient because he can now take this witch hunt across the entire country and divide all Ugandans once again. It is up to the people to reject this ploy.
Many have allowed their attention to be diverted from pertinent questions such as: what are Ugandan soldiers doing in South Sudan?; who is looking after the welfare of their families?; is compensation in place should a soldier perish at war as many reportedly have?
Gen. Museveni’s propaganda machine has convinced many Ugandans that the West is trying to impose its homosexual beliefs, and oral sex, upon the country. Is it really the West that introduced homosexuality to Uganda? Is there any evidence to support its non-existence before the White man’s arrival? Do only homosexuals engage in oral and anal sex?
We are all entitled to our opinions but let it be informed opinion. And we must educate ourselves in matters of tolerance and respect for all, especially those with whom we disagree.
I love Uganda. My heart beats for Uganda; but I am ashamed to be Ugandan because of the law signed by Gen. Museveni.
The Anti Homosexuality Bill; not in my name.