Kutesa goes to Washington to present new government stance
Hardly two weeks have passed since President Museveni received awards at Kololo from religious groups in Uganda for signing into law the Anti-homosexuality Bill. Now his government is making a U-turn on banning some gay and lesbian practices in Uganda.
This week, allegedly to inform US officials of Uganda’s preparedness to tolerate gays in Uganda in exchange for more financial support.
Reliable sources have told The Sunrise that the government is bowing to pressure from the US and European countries by agreeing to relax its hard-line stance against gay issues, contrary to the spirit and letter of the recently passed Anti-Homosexuality Act as well as strong public opposition on the matter.
Sources say that Kutesa travelled to Washington DC not just to reiterate the need for mutual respect, but also with an envelope containing three sets of concessions. These include;
1) Gays and lesbians being allowed to receive medical services in Uganda.
2) Professionals who attend to gay people not to be prosecuted,
3) Government not pursuing consenting adult gays who do their thing in the privacy of their homes or behind closed doors.
The source however reveals that the government maintains it will not tolerate public exhibitions of homosexuality such as advertisements of shows as well as programmes meant to recruit young people into the practice.
The government’s decision to pull back from the populist stance comes after suffering serious cuts in Aid that threaten to affect service delivery and which might eventually cause more public anger against the already cash-strapped government. The United States is said to have suspended funding worth over US$100M. The World Bank, and the European Union, have also threatened to cut some portions of their aid to Uganda over the same law.
Apart from violating the law itself, which considers any form of homosexuality as illegal in Uganda, the government position is likely to attract ridicule and condemnation from the general public especially the clergy who have hailed the NRM government for taking a strong stand against what many consider as subversive western cultures.
The U-turn also appears to vindicate Pastor Moses Solomon Male of the Arising for Christ Ministries who launched a spirited campaign against the Anti-Homosexuality Act arguing that a new law was unnecessary because Uganda already had outlawed homosexuality in the Penal code.
In addition, Male argued, what Uganda needed was the political will to fight homosexuality and to clean up the judicial system that often fails to punish homosexuals who sodomize children.
“My argument was that the will to implement that law is not there. If they have decided to make those concessions, it shows that they do not have the will to fight the vice and that they were simply playing politics by exciting the public,” Male told The Sunrise.
He added: “My concern has always been on the need to protect children who get abused by homosexuals. Otherwise, there was no way the government was going to stop two consenting adults from engaging in homosexuality because they are protected by article 27 of the Constitution.”
Male cited the judicial precedent where two Uganda lesbians Victor Mukasa and Yvone Oyo defeated the Attorney General for breaching their privacy. The two lesbians had told court that they were caught performing homosexuality, but that they were doing it behind the walls. The government awarded the duo damages up to the tune of Ushs13m in addition to meeting the costs of the legal defenders.
Male worries that if the government has started to kneel before western governments over their decision to cut aid following the passage of the law, eventually homosexuality will be legalized.
“I say this. It was a blunder coming up with this law when we already had alternative laws on our books to fight this vice. What Uganda lacks are not laws but the will to implement them,” Male said.