These LGBT Americans are totally tone deaf! 5

If there is anything you eventually learn about far left or right leaning ideologues, it is that there is little point in talking to them. They have already made up their minds that they are correct, it is their God-given will to save the world, and no amount of talk will sway them from their divine mission.

And so it is, it seems, with the brigade of condescending American LGBT do-gooders who have elected themselves to fight Uganda’s (and Africa’s) gay battles whether we want them to or not.

It doesn’t matter if it is a gay African activist, someone on the ground living the gay life or angels from heaven blowing bugles beseeching them to shelve their cordite. These people will act as they please, damn it.

Their latest reckless salvo is aimed at Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni who is due in Texas around now. Reports suggest that his host hotel has canceled his reservation “over gay rights abuses.”

Really? Which gay rights abuses do they attribute to Yoweri Museveni, one would like to ask these [usually faceless] people? This gay man lives in Uganda and really doesn’t know of any.

To aim this sort of action at Uganda’s Museveni is pointless, militantly foolish, over-the-top and, totally counter-productive since, whether you believe it or not and his motivations notwithstanding, Museveni has been a godsend to the gay community in Uganda over the past 4 or so years. For starters, Museveni did NOT pass the anti-gay bill, Parliament did! Neither did he re-introduce it in Parliament after the courts annulled it!

This sort of ill-advised, patronizing, unilateral action (I bet you hard cash the gay community in Uganda didn’t sanction it) will simply play into the cynical politics of Uganda and Museveni can return home to show how ‘colonial’ Americans disrespected him over gays in Uganda, something the anti-gay chorus in Uganda will lap up as they strain at the lead in trying to pass the anti-gay bill again. This is thus a replay of the needless interference that Canada’s John Baird indulged in in 2012 which, likely, led to the signing of the bill after a four year chill.

There is thus nothing for it but for one to ask the Dallas Voice which seems to have started all this:

Which genocidal gay rights abuses, pray, do you attribute to Uganda’s Yoweri Kaguta Museveni?

This gay man living in Uganda doesn’t know of any.

Over to you Dallas Voice. Or anyone with evidence of it.

Is that a deathly silence one hears?

Gay Uganda calls the political tune 1

Museveni: after signing away his legacy

A dour-looking Museveni: after signing away a huge chunk of his campaign funding on February 24th 2014

Most of his supporters won’t get it just yet, but Yoweri Kaguta Museveni lost a huge chunk of his political credibility February 24, 2014.

In the same week that Museveni invited journalists and diplomats to his palatial State House to sign a bill he had lambasted and ridiculed in equal measure, 24-year-old Herbert Mpiima succumbed to a rare bone cancer which could have been caught and checked – had the president and Uganda’s Parliament had the presence of mind to focus their energies on Uganda’s moribund health care system as they did on fighting with themselves over the Bahati anti-gay bill, now a nullified law.

Ssemusota guli mu ntamu ... If you don't remove the snake gingerly, you break the pot. But if you don't break the pot, you won't remove the snake

Ssemusota guli mu ntamu … If you don’t remove the snake very gingerly, you break the pot.

The intellectual confusion, the naked politicking, the chasing of shadows and the shifting sands continue unabated – nearly seven months since the president signed the Anti-Gay-Bill into law. At this rate, one can be forgiven for assuming that homosexuals make up 32,670,000 souls of Uganda’s 34,000,000 people. Estimates however put the gay population at just 500,000 (1%) of Uganda’s population.

The latest public hand-wringing came two days ago when Uganda’s legislators were again summoned into the President’s presence to be lectured about the law recently killed by Uganda’s Constitution Court. Knowing that his previous tactics of bullying and arm-twisting wouldn’t do, the president this time opted for local wisdom, telling his Parliamentarians that legislating in haste against homosexuality had become like a snake in a clay cooking pot – if you clumsily tried to remove it, you would break the pot.

Ssemusota guli mu ntamu is a well-known adage from Buganda, the richest, largest, most populous part of the country, and it is used widely to refer to matters that are extremely delicate, which need to be handled very carefully.

Really? 99% of a people whose country is independent and proud have to walk on egg shells over a matter that concerns just 1% of the entire population?!

Frank Mugisha & Kasha Nabagesera

Frank Mugisha & Kasha Nabagesera

That’s where Jacqueline Kasha Nabagesera and Frank Mugisha come in.

Yes, there have been others but Nabagesera and Mugisha are really the face of an international campaign so successful that Yoweri Museveni’s political fortunes are now the focus, rather than homosexuals or the Anti Homosexuality Bill/Law for that matter.

Can the president sign a law he already knows is foolish, formed in bad faith, enacted without a quorum, impossible to police and get away with it? The answer to that one has already been shown to be … no!

Can the president who is on record rubbishing an anti-gay bill, and chiding his own people for their blindness to the fact that homosexuality and homosexuals have always been an integral part of the African fabric, also turn around and tell homosexuals that they have lost the argument? The answer to that one is clearly … no!

Can a president who depends so heavily on western donor money for his political survival thumb his nose at those same donors in order to curry favor with his rebellious Parliamentary caucus? The answer to that has also already been answered in the negative.

So what is the president of this independent country that will not be dictated to by America or Britain to do? Well, it seems he will have to return to the donors, ask for Aid money not to be turned off while at the same time letting his minions argue that the country doesn’t need Aid money. Once the Aid money is turned back on, it can then be used to buy off Parliamentarians most of whom are deeply in debt to loan sharks who have the president’s phone number on speed dial.

Hopefully, pouring donor money at the problem will do the trick. If it doesn’t, Museveni’s political plans could be torn to tatters by the movement Nabagesera and Mugisha started. If it does, Nabagesera and Mugisha will have helped Museveni extend his stay in power.

They likely don’t know it yet, but Nabagesera and Mugisha have Yoweri Museveni’s political destiny and legacy in their hands – whichever way the homosexuality question is settled … with a little help from very influential friends abroad of course.

Where does all this leave Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law?

What anti-homosexuality law?

Uganda’s Constitutional Court nullifies anti-gay law 4

It’s going to have to be back to the drawing board for Uganda’s reliably dim legislators.

In a unanimous decision, the Constitutional Court of Uganda has nullified the anti-gay law passed by Parliament in December 2013 and signed into law February 2014.

Asked by petitioners to nullify the law because Parliament passed it without a quorum, the court agreed that it was passed without the required number of legislators in attendance and so couldn’t stand. The result today represents, yet again, a wonderful insight into the independence of Uganda’s judiciary.

This is the fourth time, in my recollection, the legal process in Uganda has favored the pro-gay side in the last 6 or so years. I am aware of only one ruling that has gone the side of the anti-gay side, recently when Minister Lokodo was sued for stopping a gay workshop. 4-1 is, however, a very healthy record that, no doubt, the pro-gay lobby in Uganda should relish.

What does it all really mean?

It was a very brave panel to scupper the proceedings at this stage, something I must admit I didn’t think the judges would do.

Why so?

This case is really about whether Parliament can single out a section of the population [gay people] to criminalize and stigmatize while implicitly and explicitly overlooking every other member of society [straight people] who are capable of committing the same actions the pilloried members of society have been criminalized for. That would be a violation of the constitutional right to equal protection and that is the area that the judges must eventually pronounce themselves on to kill off this law for good.

While that decision has now been put off, the judges must be doubly applauded because it cannot have been lost on them that the political implications of their decisions were stark. They have nonetheless throttled the law passed based on the flouting of Parliamentary rules, leaving Uganda’s Parliamentarians looking like the foolish, impetuous, thoughtless turncoats they have made a habit of being.

Rebecca Kadaga, the wannabe president of Uganda, who tried to use the Nazi bill to get one up on her rival for the presidency, Amama Mbabazi, has ended up with egg on her face, especially since she is a lawyer and has been embarrassed for her lack of legal acumen when she let the Nazi anti-gay bill through Parliament on her watch.

The president, Yoweri Museveni, will now argue that the law has been killed because of what he referred to in January as ‘abnormal, spinster’ Kadaga’s failure to cross her tees and dot her eyes. He gets to come out looking clean even though it will not be lost on perceptive minds that he excoriated Parliament for passing the bill without a quorum and then he went ahead to sign it anyway.

This Constitutional decision, however, does keep the door open for a new bill to be drafted and re-presented to Parliament so it doesn’t necessarily mean that the war has been won. No, it now remains to be seen if the losing side can regroup to fight another day. The odds for them, however, are getting longer and longer, with every legal defeat and they would know it if they were astute enough.

They likely are not, sadly.

If I were to put in my two pennies’ worth, lawyers now need to trawl through all the laws that have been passed without a quorum and lodge them with the Constitutional Court. By the time the learned judges got through all those, Uganda’s parliament would have no laws left on the books. And then we should see how important they feel their Nazi anti-gay crusade really is to their existence and that of the country that they would attempt to bring another kill-the-gays bill back in haste.

For now, it’s bottoms up possums. Your truly needs a chandelier to hang on to while singing “I am what I am …”

Africa can’t hide its intellectual incoherence 1

One of the presidents who deserves to go down in the annals of history as Africa’s most principled post-independence black leaders of all time is … drum roll please … Robert Mugabe!!

After more than 30 years in office, Mugabe is an ogre to his enemies and a shining light to Zimbabweans who keep on re-electing the 90-year-old relic who inherited a bread basket  and ran it into the ground in the guise of giving land back to dispossessed black citizens. Today, Zimbabwe boasts as the only country on the African continent (perhaps in the world) using more than five official currencies, none of them its own. The economy remains on its knees, Zimbabwe is a net importer of food and keeping the lights on, even in hospitals, is a lottery.

Mugabe, Biya, Museveni

Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Biya (Cameroon), Museveni (Uganda)

Despite all that, Mugabe stands tall when set against current and past African leaders, all of them men, due to one simple reason: his enemies and friends all know exactly what Mugabe means when he says and/or does it. Even when he crippled his country with ill-thought-out policies, leading to staggering rates of inflation, Mugabe remained defiant – lambasting white people and painting himself as a put-upon Shaka Zulu who would rise and rise with his black followers. But he was also astute enough to seek a local remedy for his political survival – which came in the form of the uninspiring, dull, clueless, politically inept and uncharismatic opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

The zeal with which Mugabe has driven  his land repossession policy and the astuteness with which he has outmaneuvered his political opponents are now stuff for legend. Uncle Bob is going to go to his grave in the way he has lived his presidency – without kowtowing to anyone, and with his views on everything he has bothered to take an interest in very clear. In comparison, literally every other leader of Mugabe’s generation is a lightweight pretend-pugilist, spending excessive amounts of time looking at themselves in the mirror when they are not speaking through both sides of their mouth.

The emperor's new clothes

The emperor’s new clothes

One might spend time analyzing all the other leaders in Africa if they wish. Other than Mugabe, they are all totally alike: spineless, incompetent ditherers whose thinking follows their actions.

Some examples:

Kenya’s Kenyatta cannot rid himself of his demons where the issue of Somali terrorists is concerned. Is he for deporting all Somalis, going after a select few, shutting down their base in the heart of Kenya’s capital, or what? His own people don’t know – how could they when their decider-in-chief  makes a different decision for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

His supporters will not admit it openly but Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni’s intellectual confusion has been most cruelly exposed by the homosexuality issue. He has, variously, been against homosexuality as he has been in support of gay men and women being left to their private business because homosexuality has always been a part of African culture. In 2010 he decided that homosexuality was a foreign policy matter (oh, not a cultural or religious one, after all?) that only he handled. He forced Parliament not to debate it on the floor of the House. By close of 2012, he was as against the Bahati Nazi homosexuality bill as he was for it. After the passing of the bill by Parliament late in 2013, Museveni angrily, and publicly lambasted the Speaker of the House as an abnormal childless spinster who perhaps also deserved to be jailed because of her own shortcomings.

Alas the vintage Mugabe-like bravado didn’t last because Museveni hadn’t reckoned with a critical piece of the political jigsaw – his own NRM party. Once his own people threatened to unseat him, Museveni changed his mind … then again, and then again till one’s head spun. Even on the day of signing the bill, one was still wondering whether the president was coming or going since he had asked for further advice from American scientists (his own scientists had told him that homosexuality was no different from heterosexuality) just days before, which advice he hadn’t yet received. The anti-homosexuality bill is now law in Uganda but the political writhing continues.

Clarifying yet another clarification

Clarifying yet another clarification

Homosexuals have lost the argument (Museveni, February 24 2014). Uganda can do without foreign aid (Museveni, February 2014). Uganda will instead seek foreign support from Russia and China who don’t meddle in other countries’ affairs (Museveni, February 2014). America and Obama can go hang with their aid dollars (June 2014). Uganda didn’t really intend to snub anyone, least of all its international aid partners with the signing of the anti-homosexuality bill after all (Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs July 2014).

We didn't mean to hurt you, Uganda now argues

We didn’t mean to hurt you, Uganda now argues

You have to catch your breath a couple of times while ploughing through the morass. Did the homosexuals lose the argument? If so, why keep on revisiting the subject? What has happened to Russia and China coming in to plug the holes left after Western donors withdrew their support? But didn’t you say Uganda could go it alone? If so, why even mention China or Russia as alternative avenues to go begging to?

And why should such an independent country hellbent on protecting its inviolable family and religious purity bother to keep explaining itself repeatedly over an issue that’s been settled, with the homosexuals losing the argument? It would seem then that when Uganda signed the anti-homosexuality bill in February 2014 to protect its independence as well as cultural and moral values, it didn’t really mean to do that. What did it mean to do then?

To ensure equal protection of all citizens.

Even those who would be pilloried, ostracized and arrested simply because of who they were? How would that ensure equal protection?

To stop the promotion and exhibition of homosexual practices of course!

Oh, but where exactly had these practices been exhibited and promoted? By crusading pastors perhaps? Or in church to stunned congregants? Is that a deafening silence one hears?

If this is all about Africa’s, rudderless, indecisive, opaque, but nonetheless bombastic leaders, why would anyone tar the entire Africa as intellectually incoherent? Quite simple really. Africa: you keep on electing and re-electing these people You are thus getting leaders who are a reflection of your own thinking …. or lack thereof.

Leaders you deserve!

America’s anti-gay “sanctions” have arrived – Uganda deal with it!

The United States of America has announced punitive measures in response to the signing of the Nazi anti-gay law by Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, February 24 2014.

Among the sanctions to be imposed are visa bans on those deemed responsible for human rights violations in Uganda, relocation of a health conference to South Africa, redirection of development funds from the government to non-governmental organizations and so on and so forth.

From a purely symbolic point of view, the steps America has taken are highly significant. It is America’s money to do as she pleases, but to come out and declare that a foreign government’s law is so heinous as to call for a public slap on the wrist is extremely embarrassing – for Uganda.

Ugandan officials will, of course, try to put a brave face on it, pretend that it doesn’t matter what America does. They will wax lyrical about Uganda turning to Russia or China, and how they must keep their culture and religious beliefs. It will be the usual piffle that ignores the fact that all Uganda’s major religions are foreign, and that, as Yoweri Museveni has repeatedly informed the people he leads, Ugandan tribes actually tolerated homosexuality before Biblical lore was imposed on them. But Uganda’s government has nonetheless been stung by the public dressing down from the United States which is part of the point of the sanctions. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t have lashed out in the manner that their spokesman, Ofwono Opondo did as soon as the punishment was announced.

Gaddafi intervened heavily in the NRA war that removed Obote from power

Libya’s Gaddafi intervened heavily in the NRA war that removed Obote from power

The United States is bluntly telling Uganda that it is a basket case which is free to reject American money if it wishes. As long as Uganda accepts US tax dollars, he who pays the piper will call the tune.  It’s not lost on anyone with a modicum of intelligence that Uganda’s administration is merely about hanging on for grim death and that its leader will sign anything, say anything, do anything however contradictory to stay at the helm of his party and, by extension, country. That’s why he signed the Nazi anti-gay bill that he had consistently spoken out against and had blocked from even being debated for three years. It was purely to stave off insurrection from his own ruling National Resistance Movement.

The French Revolution brought about permanent change to France

The French Revolution brought about permanent change to France

Revolutions tend to be permanent when they are fomented from within. For some examples, think of the French Revolution – a bloody series of events in 1789 that ousted the monarchy and gave rise to the French Republic. Then there is the American revolution that ousted British colonialism. Closer to home, there is the Mau Mau rebellion, a completely local internecine struggle that toppled British rule in Kenya.

On the other side of the coin, the Falklands Islands are still a property of Britain, thanks to a lot of help from Ronald Reagan to Margaret Thatcher in 1982. She asked for and got American logistical support to win that war. Uganda’s Idi Amin would have lasted longer than 1979 had it not been for a lot of help from Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere and his Chama Cha Mapinduzi fighters. Indeed, we now also know that Museveni’s 1981-85 bush war which eventually got rid of Milton Obote was funded heavily by Gadhafi’s Libya.

So, contrary to what those who are ignorant about history might have you believe, there is a rich track record of revolutions that have been won, thanks to outside interference in other countries’ affairs, usually by invitation.

Nyerere (RIP) knew all too well about Uganda's begging ways

Nyerere (RIP) knew all too well about Uganda’s begging ways

Yours truly is of the view that the gay struggle in Uganda is one such struggle that must ask for and receive outside help. Here is a put-upon minority which would mind its own business if it were not for a pernicious, malicious cabal of religious and political leaders who are hellbent on using the lives of their fellow citizens to enrich themselves, if not to further their careers. They are cynically and blatantly feeding a poorly educated, ignorant, pliable populace with garbage and outrageous lies. Based on these lies, laws have been enacted to subjugate and even imprison for life citizens who have done nothing wrong other than be who they are.

The sanctions the United States has imposed  have been requested by the gay representatives living in Uganda. They are thus neither an imposition nor needless interference in Uganda’s politics as Ofwono Opondo is pretending; the gay community has asked for them and a sympathetic foreign government has, as Nyerere’s did in the 1970s, come to their aid.

It is thus right that Museveni’s government should be clipped around the ear like a recalcitrant child because, of course, Museveni’s government is nothing if not childish – relying on foreign handouts and then turning around and petulantly claiming that it doesn’t need America’s money even as it secretly lobbies for it not to be cut off.

Well, Uganda: America has laid down the gauntlet. If you don’t want American taxpayers dollars, fine. Reject the money or, better still, return, too, what has been given. As long as America’s policy is to help the downtrodden in countries which receive more money from America than they give, Barack Obama can decide to help the Ugandan gay community in any way they ask.

Over to you Mr. Yoweri Museveni. America under Barack Obama will not tolerate a banana republic, whose leadership relies on American money to stay in power, treating its gay citizens like vermin because American aid money is contributed by all Americans, including gay men and women.

You cannot thus have your cake and eat it, too; accepting money contributed by gay Americans among others, and then turning around and signing laws intended to maltreat your own gay people. Reject the aid. Even better, return what you have been given if you’re so righteous. Then go begging to your newly found friends in Russia and China who have such a wonderful track record of not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.

America has exercised its choices. Feel free to do the same, too.

Sam Kuteesa as 69th UN President: a tempest in a tea cup 1

Milton Allimadi has penned a caustic anti-Kuteesa incendiary in the Huffington Post. So has the Times of England.

Egged on, no doubt, by the usual human rights hand-wringing fraternity, there is a groundswell of opinion trying to lobby for Sam Kuteesa, Uganda’s minister of Foreign Affairs, not to be made president of the UN General Assembly despite being nominated by the African Union.

Allimadi, The Times and all those crying into their handkerchiefs should be listened to respectfully, and then Kuteesa should be slotted into the post.

Why?

Sam Kuteesa, Uganda's Minister of Foreign Affairs

Sam Kuteesa, Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

Kuteesa is a cabinet member in a government that is on record opposing the passing of the Bahati Bill, now a law. There were ministers who publicly supported the jailing of homosexuals – mostly foolish, boorish men who are easily seen for what they are when they open their mouths. Kuteesa has never been one of them.

The Bahati bill was eventually made law in a bid for Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to hang on to power come 2016 – it had nothing to do with what was right or what Museveni believed in since he had consistently spoken out against the bill and blocked it for years until his presidency was threatened by his own party.

Sam Kuteesa supported Parliament’s right to pass laws such as this one and he is right about that; Parliaments have a right to pass laws since that’s what they are there for. That some of the laws might be foolish and ridiculous (such as the anti-gay one) is beside the point. No one will cite any instance where Kuteesa has said that he personally supports the anti-gay law. Even if he did, that wouldn’t be enough to bar him from being President of the UN General Assembly.

The presidency of the UN General Assembly isn’t really as important as the naysayers are trying to portray it. The decisions that matter are made elsewhere by the USA, the UK, China, France and Russia. If this post was even symbolically significant (it isn’t)  Qatar and Libya shouldn’t have held it in 2011 and 2009 respectively. The human rights records of those countries could hardly be held up as paragons of virtue then or today.

Kuteesa should thus be allowed to be the school prefect of the UN General Assembly; the headmasters will not lose any sleep over it and neither will the world. The time away from Uganda might actually help Kuteesa learn something about standing up for one’s views regardless of the consequences, something his office has prevented him from being able to do freely. Who knows, by the time he returns to Uganda, he might have learned a thing or two about dissenting publicly and might very well have gotten the courage to join the presidential fray for 2016.

And then his personal and political record can be scrutinized properly – at home where it really matters. Right now he is too much of an unknown quantity for his tenure at the UN to matter much.

Museveni’s Nazi Anti-Gay law leads to an online gay dating clamor 5

gaydar messgeThere is something remarkable happening to the “invisible” gay population of Uganda that will have the framers of the Bahati Nazi Gay Bill (now, Museveni Nazi Gay Law) choking on their breakfasts.

Thanks to the law signed February 24, 2014 in a blaze of publicity, there has been a commensurate and, dare one say it, encouraging stampede to join gay dating sites by Ugandans.

Museveni's Nazi law ignites online gay dating

Museveni’s Nazi law fuels online gay dating

Yours truly hasn’t been keeping track but here is some interesting tidbits he has noticed. In the past, you were lucky to find more than a handful of men on any gay dating site admitting to being Ugandan, over 30 or married .A cursory check on the three most visited sites now shows it littered with men admitting to being in their 30s and 40s, being bisexual, discreet (read ‘unhappily married to a woman’) and looking for anything from a one on one relationship to group sex.

While it is still early days to assess fully the impact of the passing of the Museveni Nazi Anti-Gay Law, February 24, 2014 will likely be looked back on by historians as the day when Uganda unwittingly emboldened even more gay men and women to boldly go where they feared to go before.

As they should, given how short our lives are to exist in unhappy marriages, when our thoughts and hearts are yearning for same-sex loving that is just a click or a mouse away if only we could get the guts to go for it.

Some of the “new” entrants to the dating sites will be up to no good; spies, mischief-makers,  that sort of thing. So one has to be very careful not to be lured into a gay honey trap that ends up splashed all over some tawdry tabloid’s front pages.

manjamStill, still, … hope springs eternal.

Ironically, Yoweri Museveni’s Nazi bill seems to have given the hitherto staid and jaded Ugandan gay dating scene a much-needed shot in the arm, adding yet another epaulette to the president’s already busy uniform – Gay Recruiter in Chief.

Facebook is very fertile ground for gay hookups

Facebook is very fertile ground for gay hookups

This kind of unintended consequences is nothing terribly new of course as watchers of history will attest. Everywhere draconian laws have been passed against human volition the net effect has always been the opposite of what was intended. That’s why the prohibition laws failed in the United States in the 1920s, why the war against marijuana has failed the world over, and why laws against consensual adult same-sex loving must fail.

No law can buck the human spirit.

None.

Dr. Spe lives up to her billing as UN Envoy, lambasts Museveni’s Nazi anti-gay law 5

If you are a Ugandan representative employed by any global/international body that espouses equal rights for all, be warned. You’d better walk the talk of equal rights or we’ve got you in our cross hairs.

“I am in full solidarity with the LGBT community across Africa." Spe Kazibwe

“I am in full solidarity with the LGBT community … across Africa.” Specioza Kazibwe

That’s what Uganda’s former Vice President, Specioza Wandira Kazibwe (Dr. Spe) discovered when she chose reticence over the Nazi anti-gay bill her former boss, Yoweri Museveni, signed February 24.

Before the awful bill was signed, Spe Kazibwe, Special Envoy to the United Nations on HIV/Aids in Africa was remarkably silent. She made some sort of vague allusion to human rights at a conference in South Africa but she might have been speaking about the right for women to wear mini-skirts, for such was her waffling.

Then the bill was signed. Silence from Dr. Spe!

Imagine then one’s astonishment when she came out, guns ablaze, against the bill and even went so far as to excoriate Yoweri Museveni for not listening to her private entreaties to him not to sign it.

“I am in full solidarity with the LGBT community and I will continue to defend their rights in Uganda and across Africa. Rest assured of my unwavering support and action for the realisation of the rights for every human being, which has been my struggle since childhood. I will not reverse my path. I will continue to engage with the Government of Uganda and civil society organisations on this important matter.”

Yours truly was truly surprised.  That is until it was revealed to him that she hadn’t picked up the mantle on her own, but had been pushed by none other than a pro-gay pressure group, called AIDS-Free World!

Indeed it turns out that she was prompted by a scathing letter that was written to the UN Secretary General by the Aids-Free World directors, in which they demanded that Dr. Spe be dismissed for her silence on the anti-gay bill. Clearly having heard about another Ugandan doctor, employed by the Global Fund, who found himself forced to turn in his employment badge because of views that were in contradiction to those he signed up to when he was hired, Dr. Spe chose to play to the international gallery.

And yours truly can only commend her for seeing sense  and talking loudly about it, too. Right in time – before the guillotine fell.

If you are a Ugandan representative employed by any global/international body that espouses equal rights for all, be warned. You’d better walk the talk of equal rights or we’ve got you in our cross hairs.

And that’s not a threat; it’s a promise!

Related articles:

1. Will Homosexuals bring down Museveni

Another “eviction letter” 9

One has to think twice about what would be achieved by posting eviction letters that have been initiated on account of the Nazi anti-gay bill Museveni signed February 24. In this case it seems useful to belabor the point since the letter (below) was initiated by a local council aficionado as the stamp and letterhead seem to suggest, and the eviction is clearly illegal even when you factor in the Nazi law that is used as the pretext.

Local government "eviction letter" of a gay man from a Kampala suburb

Local government “eviction letter” of a gay man from a Kampala suburb

Translation of the letter (by yours truly):

To

xxx xxx [name withheld)

I am writing to inform you that you have been evicted from the house you live in because of the stories [about your gay lifestyle] that appeared on Bukedde Television and in the print media. We can no longer live with someone like you. Therefore, vacate the premises before the 5th of May 2014

Secretary Kawooya (Namungoona-Kasubi LCI)

Nanyonjo H

Unless the secretary (Ms. Kawooya) is the landlord, she cannot initiate an eviction notice on a property that doesn’t belong to her. She also has no right to give a tenant just a couple of days’ notice to vacate a place of abode. But this is Uganda where all sorts of things will happen, however illegal, so who knows.

If the letter is real, and there is no reason to suggest is isn’t, we are looking, ladies and gentlemen, at government-inspired hounding of gay men and women out of their places of abode simply because of the perception about who they are, and not for anything they are confirmed to have done.

Once it became about Museveni, Western tactics became irrelevant 14

Elizabeth Ann Palchik has what I think is an excellent article commenting on how Barack Obama’s public fist-clenching was counter-productive because it forced Museveni into a corner, and into signing the anti-gay bill just to illustrate that he wasn’t going to be pushed around by America.

But then check out Lynne Featherstone (Minister at the Department for International Development in the United Kingdom) lamenting that taking a subtle approach didn’t work. 

Curiously perhaps, I agree with both Palchik and Featherstone.

How so?

The Bill, hatched in 2009, was kept in limbo for 3 years, despite clear Parliamentary backing, by Yoweri Museveni who made no pretense about why he didn’t want any part of it; it was a foreign policy matter that only he dealt with. In effect, he told his own National Resistance Movement (NRM) members of Parliament in early 2010 that he wouldn’t sign the bill because he needed donor money to fight the 2011 election and they retreated into their shells because they knew how important he was to their own political survival in a country where for the president to endorse you usually means you are a shoo-in for election or re-election and his displeasure with you is a sure kiss of death. Museveni collected the money he needed from the donors, $3bn according to some unofficial estimates, paid off the electorate and got re-elected in 2011.

John Baird's Quebec outburst revived the Bill and helped get it signed into law

John Baird’s Quebec outburst changed the political landscape in Uganda and helped get the bill signed

Come October 2012, the Canadian foreign minister revived the comatose bill when he publicly lambasted Rebecca Kadaga in Quebec about it. Sensing an opening for her 2016 presidential ambitions, Kadaga gleefully turned to the phalanx of cameras and gave as good as she got. The bill would be decided by Uganda which was not a colony or protectorate of Canada. She returned to Uganda to a rapturous welcome from the anti-gay lobby which had all but given up on finding their way past Museveni’s intransigence that the bill must not be even debated.

John Baird’s interference had, unwittingly, changed the political tone of Uganda’s politics and now the anti-gay side had a seemingly viable champion who could challenge Museveni in 2016. Rebecca Kadaga promised to deliver the bill for Christmas 2012 and set about campaigning for the presidency even as she also openly feuded with Amama Mbabazi, another contender for the 2016 presidency. Museveni managed to stall the passing of the bill that Christmas but he was hanging on by his political fingernails.

In 2013, the internecine political wranglings in the top echelons of the NRM escalated. Kadaga’s international stature grew with all the awards and posts she was racking up, and  she spent more time in Uganda’s regions and on the world stage than in Parliament – literally campaigning for the presidency even though she thinly disguised it as doing her job as Speaker of the House. We now know that Museveni’s Prime Minister was, with the help of his wife, also actively making his own presidential campaign preparations, albeit more surreptitiously than the Speaker of the House.

Slowly being humiliated by Museveni: Prime Minister Mbabazi

Slowly being humiliated by Museveni: Prime Minister Mbabazi

With the same secrecy that Mbabazi was using to set up his campaign stall, Parliament plotted to bring the anti-gay bill to the floor and Kadaga, all along conniving with a number of Parliamentarians on tactics, let them pass it shortly before Christmas 2013. Museveni and Mbabazi were both caught off guard, and Mbabazi could barely hide his chagrin at what he must have seen as his ambitions being pulled from under him by his political enemy, Rebecca Kadaga. He complained feebly in Parliament that the bill was being passed without the necessary votes needed but was totally ignored.

Usually composed and self-assured, the vote for the bill threw Museveni for a loop, forcing him to write an angry, personal attack against Rebecca Kadaga in which he inferred that she, too, was as “abnormal” as the homosexuals since she was childless and unmarried. He wouldn’t sign the bill.

But it was clear the ground was slipping from under His Excellency when the whispering became a cascade that if he didn’t sign the bill he would be abandoned by his party.

There was nothing for it but for Museveni to swing into action. He would now seek scientists’ views about homosexuality and make his mind up thereafter. In the meantime, he let it be known to his close supporters that he knew of his Prime Minister’s plotting and he allowed them to collect signatures at the ruling National Resistance Movement’s annual retreat in Kyankwanzi -all pledging allegiance to another 28 years of Museveni. That partly took care of Rebecca Kadaga who wasn’t even at the meeting to try to mount a rearguard action.

But what price had the NRM acolytes who signed allegiance to Museveni extracted? All was revealed when the scientists’ report was presented and Museveni claimed that it told him that being gay was a choice. Of course it told him no such thing but he was already prepared to spin it his way to keep his presidential hopes with his own party alive. He would now sign the bill.

By the time Barack Obama intervened publicly (I agree totally that he should have been more aware of the political dynamics on the ground and saved his breath), the die was cast. Museveni had, like Macbeth, waded in too deep, “stepped in so far that should [he] wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.”

Likely after some frantic phone calls from Washington, Museveni made a last gasp nod to Obama that he would ask for a second opinion from international scientists. But all that was just confused, desperate, flim-flam as he looked for a way to appease Washington while also keeping his political base in line. There was none and Museveni signed the bill February 24th without waiting for the extra scientists’ report he had announced only days before.

The gloves were off once the bill became about Yoweri Museveni's political survival

The West became irrelevant once the bill was about Yoweri Museveni’s political survival

Signing the bill finally erased the only electoral advantage Kadaga had mastered within the NRM and Museveni could now go after his other adversary, Amama Mbabazi. Thanks to a phone tapping bill that Prime Minister Mbabazi had supported in Parliament, Museveni had voice transcripts of conversations that confirmed that his own Prime Minister was secretly plotting to be president.Within days, he made public the recorded conversations in which Mbabazi’s people were heard to be canvassing for support, confirming pay-offs and denigrating Museveni as old, tired and out of touch.

As yours truly writes this, Mbabazi is in retreat, denying this and refusing to comment on that. He is best advised to come out boldly so that if he fails in his presidential bid, he at least goes out with honor. But that’s not how Uganda’s politics works so poor Mbabazi is going to keep on denying, even as he is openly stripped of power and influence, to be replaced by the very people he was using to plan his own presidential bid.

See why both Palchik and Featherstone are right?

Once it was apparent to Museveni, in 2012, that his office was under serious threat from within his own party, what the West did or didn’t do wasn’t going to work. The anti-gay bill happened to be the vehicle Rebecca Kadaga (who is personally not anti-gay at all) was riding so Museveni had to derail her by agreeing to sign it.

The bill became tangential, thanks to John Baird, in October 2012, because Baird helped change the discourse from being about homosexuality to one of Museveni’s political survival. In that sense you can argue that Baird’s intervention was counterproductive since it gave Rebecca Kadaga the opening she was looking for to look and sound presidential on an issue that she knew the entire country could rally behind – Uganda’s national pride. Even yours truly supported her response to Baird.

Last month, Obama should have known the futility of opening his mouth against the bill, and should have kept his powder dry as Britain’s Cameron did. Palchik is right on this. But, the subtle approach Featherstone is now frowning upon shouldn’t have been bothered with either once it became clear that the anti-gay bill was no longer about the gays in Uganda but about Museveni’s political survival.

The West should have shut up shop and gone home in November 2012 when Kadaga showed she was intent on using the bill as her Trojan Horse to the presidency and it was clear she had the political traction if Museveni remained obdurate about not passing it.

Their interjections, whether loud or subtle, were never going to make any difference as Museveni was going to do whatever it took to stay in power till he died – yes, up to and including signing a bill he didn’t like, had admitted was foolish and unworkable, and on which he had incontrovertible evidence from his own scientists telling him that homosexuality was NOT different to heterosexuality.

It is to give the West too much credit to argue that, after October 2012, there was anything they could have done to stave off the signing of this Nazi bill.