|Janet and Yoweri Museveni|
Okay … so Wikileaks has confirmed what most people knew already – namely that Uganda’s President and his wife each have their own cabals of power fighting for control within Uganda’s government.Thus far, old hat. The opposing camps by the president and his wife are an open secret that has been discussed in hushed tones for years in Uganda.
Uganda’s Monitor newspaper quotes Wikileaks saying that the then American Ambassador, on the advice of a presidential adviser who has recently fallen out with the president of Uganda, wrote a confidential memo intimating that Mrs. Museveni was behind the Bahati anti-gay bill that was tabled in Parliament in 2009 and thwarted by President Museveni in January 2010. The adviser, John Nnaggenda is on record condemning the anti-gay bill in December 2009 because, in his words, it was a bill “against love.”
If it is true that Janet Museveni was behind the bill, it just confirms my thinking that the president had nothing to do with its formulation. It should also be a reminder to the gay community in Uganda to pray that Museveni continues to rule for many more years. The alternative would be for religious fundamentalists to lead policy formulation in Uganda, something that will not augur well for the gay community whose current freedoms are, ironically, being protected by President Museveni’s autocratic tendencies. After all, it was his intervention in January 2010 that effectively killed the bill.
Janet Museveni is on record exhorting the country to adopt national prayer days on which to pray for corruption in Uganda to end. So, her religious fundamentalism need not be under any question given how publicly she wears her born again credentials on her sleeve. If she were to have more influence in matters of governance than she has already, we can safely say that she would support the return of the Bahati bill because she sees it as a religious imperative.
Those Ugandan gays advocating for the removal of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni be warned – what may come after him might be infinitely worse where the rights of the gay minority are concerned. He is not necessarily a friend of the gay community but he understands how the anti-gay bill could bring him terrible international political discomfort. The people sniping at his heels, such as his wife, seem to have no such concerns, choosing instead to let their God be their guide albeit selectively.
If Yoweri Museveni should leave power, the Ugandan gay community had better brace itself.