Onyango Obbo misses the bigger picture 3

"The difference in Uganda is the anti-gay crusade has become an obsession, and politicians’ need for a dose of homophobia just keeps growing." Obbo

Usually so incisive with these things, one gets the impression that Onyango Obbo is stumped as to what is driving the anti-gay obsession in Uganda’s corridors of power. He is not the only one.

Writing in Africa News Update, Obbo tries to guess at what the driving force behind the obsession with gay sex is but none of the reasons he advances make sense to this gay Ugandan man who is following the arguments and convulsions closely.

Yes, Obbo gets the loony obsession of people like Bahati, who likely has nothing more than religious zealotry, plus 15 minutes of fame, driving him. Yet there are other people like Martin Ssempa, currently in the dock for trying to pervert the course of justice in yet another gay court case, who are clearly driven by money.

Onyango Obbo, I think, misses the bigger picture. And that bigger picture is, as I tried to explain here, one of a power struggle between Parliament and President Museveni (Museveni is the government and the government is Museveni) with gay sex being used as the uniting factor since both the opposition and majority NRM members of Parliament agree on it. It is thus a perfect issue to use to isolate Museveni in a bid to wrestle political supremacy away from him.

Parliament wants to flex its political clout and they know they have to go through Museveni, who has hitherto governed unquestioned for more than 20 years, to do that. Bahati is a willing pawn in this political tussle because, in his mind, he sees himself as a sort of Joan of Arc with divine guidance that will rescue Uganda from what he sees as the twin evils of Western paganism and immorality. It is blindly doctrinaire but Bahati seems to believe in what he sees as his anointed role. If he becomes the martyr in order to bring back Uganda from the edge of the precipice of sinful destruction, so be it.

Museveni (the government) has no interest in this bill. Individual ministers like the ex-priest, Simon Lokodo, have personal ambitions such as looking relevant so his recent raid on a gay workshop in Entebbe is understandable when looked at in that light. But Museveni has nothing to gain from this bill – in fact he has more to lose from it because, should it pass, he will be shown to have no more control over Parliament and his clout with the donors that have been eating out of and feeding the palm of his hand will be irreparably broken.

Parliament recognizes the body blow that it would deliver to Museveni (and by extension his Western backers) by passing this bill. So, despite the fact that they know it will not make the least bit of difference to the sexuality of their children, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands who are gay, they are going to do all they can to pass it. Then the ball will be in Museveni’s court to reject it and hand them yet another tactical victory since they know that the country supports this silly bill. Never mind that most Ugandans neither understand it, nor really care who is having sex with who; in the hypocritical and selectively moralistic society that Uganda is, there is broad support for the Bahati bill.

And that suits Parliament just fine in the battle royal they are currently engaged in to wrestle power away from Museveni.