Lies, damned lies and statistics 2

What do the following figures have in common? 72%, 95%, 95%, 95%

For the first clue, look at the quotation below, from a venerable judge in 1959 in his ruling that an interracial couple could not be married and live in the Commonwealth of Virginia:

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

With that, he banished Mr. Loving and his wife Mildred (they had been married in Washington, DC where the law didn’t prohibit interracial marriage) out of Virginia into exile.

The Lovings didn’t take the ruling lying down and continued their battle in the courts. Their case reached the United States supreme court who, in a 9-0 ruling in 1967, overturned the Virginia law and all such laws in the United States. But polls showed that 72% of all Americans (black and white) were against interracial marriages in 1967.

And what has any of this got to do with anything? Martin Ssempa likes quoting the statistics showing that 95% of Ugandans polled oppose the decriminalization of homosexuality, and don’t want any change in the Ugandan laws against homosexual activity. It is thus worth noting that Martin Ssempa’s wife, Tracey, is American and … white. Just 42 years ago, Martin Ssempa would have been liable to imprisonment and and/or exile purely on account of who he fell in love with, and 72% of the American public would have supported the law denying him the right to love his current wife. And of course, interracial marriage was against the American ‘culture’ in 1967 since it took the Supreme Court to buck public opinion for what Ssempa will today surely agree was the right thing.

So, what about the second 95%. That is the unofficial figure of Ugandan men who have cheated and/or will cheat on their wives. Among those are famous ones like General Kazini who recently died in the house of a Trollope he was publicly cavorting with while his wife slept in their marital home.

And the final 95%? That is also the unofficial figure of Ugandan men who see nothing wrong with men who cheat on their wives or take up with a line of women even after they get married. 95% is the likelihood that Martin Ssempa will NOT castigate adultery or march to Parliament against it.

All of which leads us to a salient quotation about selective use of statistics:

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments, and the tendency of people to disparage statistics that do not support their positions.

Barak Obama Denounces the Anti-Gay Bill 1

At last! The White House has come out unequivocally against the preposterous bill currently in Uganda’s Parliament:

Money Quote:

“The President strongly opposes efforts, such as the draft law pending in Uganda, that would criminalize homosexuality and move against the tide of history,”

Following Nsaba Buturo’s recent climb-down over aspects of the bill, this couldn’t have come at a better time to remind everyone that the entire bill is unacceptable.

Over to you now, David Bahati and Nsaba-Buturo. Following the widespread condemnation from everywhere, it doesn’t seem as though there is much else to say that will make these guys see the folly of their bill. But this is Uganda and don’t be surprised if Bahati comes out blowing yet more vitriol. Stubborn folly doesn’t go away quietly.

Something tells me, though, that we are going to hear less and less from Minister Nsaba Buturo on this matter. Don’t ask me how I know. Just listen for what comes out of his mouth where the anti-gay bill is concerned.

It may be early days yet but AfroGay for one thinks the tide has turned decisively against this bill.

David Bahati, Martin Ssempa, Stephen Langa: … listen … and learn.

Related Reading:

1. Donors lodge formal protest against anti-gay bill

2. US Senator joins critics of Anti-Homosexuality bill

3. Sponsor of Anti-Gay Bill: Death Penalty will stay

4. Anti-gay bigots plunge Africa into new era of hate crimes


Dear Santa: Spread good cheer around

One of the traits I have learnt to cultivate is one of cheerfulness. I decided some time ago that if anger and hatred chew me up and twist me inside, that doesn’t mean that those I am angry with or cheesed off about will notice, care or be affected. So, I only allow myself to harbor anger and hatred if I am a couple of pounds overweight and wish to shed them. To me, wallowing in anger and self pity is an excellent elixir for weight loss.

And so I am sitting in bed, listening to the incomparably coquettish Eartha Kitt doing what only she could do best; charming Santa into parting with small, little, simple gifts. The lyrics are simply delicious and I must post them here … to cheer myself up and to remind myself that it is the season of goodwill, love and understanding. With that in mind, this year AfroGay is asking Santa for nothing more than … a fully paid and serviced G 500 Gulf Stream, like the one The Hon. David Bahati’s party delivered to Uganda’s president in March of 2009. Talk about getting an early Christmas present.

SANTA BABY by Earth Kitt

Santa Baby, slip a sable under the tree, for me.
Been an awful good girl, Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa baby, a 54 convertible too, light blue.
I’ll wait up for you dear,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the fun I’ve missed,
Think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed,
Next year I could be just as good,
If you’ll check off my Christmas list,

Santa baby, I wanna yacht, and really that’s not a lot,
Been an angel all year,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa honey, one little thing I really need,
The deed, To a platinum mine,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a duplex, and checks.
Sign your ‘X’ on the line,
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree,
With some decorations bought at Tiffany
I really do believe in you,
Let’s see if you believe in me,

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring.
I don’t mean on the phone,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry down the chimney tonight,

Hurry, tonight.


John Nagenda: Parliament Should Not Pass This Bill

John Nagenda
(Adviser to President Museveni)

While Uganda’s religious leaders were busy drafting resolutions that show how dim-witted they are, John Nagenda (I always thought that this name was spelled ‘Nnaggenda‘ but that is a discussion for another time), the president’s adviser cuts to the chase.

Money quote:

What crime have same-sex lovers committed, per se, by being who they are? Would those who believe God made mankind exclude them, and on what grounds? … When times have changed, if they change enough, then these words will include a leavening of same-sex relationships. Gradualism is not a sin. But hunting down people for same-sex love I believe to be a sin, against Love, one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind

Now compare that with the Neanderthal blathering of the religious dinosaurs:

On which planet are these prelates on? Do they understand that donor communities have sustained Ugandan lives for more than the last 30 years? Are Ugandan lives worth sacrificing for religious dogma? The mind boggles.

Anyhow, even as the cabal of religious relics were putting out their communique, rents were already showing amongst their ranks, and fittingly so. Religion is about being inclusive and so it stood to reason that some of the religious bodies in Uganda would find issues with the primitive resolutions reached in Entebbe by some of their colleagues. And they seem to have completely missed this exhortation by the Catholic Church for everyone to exercise restraint and compassion, the sum of which boils down to tolerance and inclusiveness:


AfroGay now a needs a drink.

Related Reading:

1. On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons

2. Anti-Gay Preacher Rick Warren Finally Speaks Out On Uganda Law

Nsaba Buturo Caves In on Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

We have just won one round!

Nsaba Buturo (Uganda’s Minister of Ethics) has caved in and accepted that the language condemning gays to life in prison or to death will be dropped:

Nsaba Buturo

Money quote from Bloomberg:

Now we can turn our attention to the rest of the preposterous clauses in this bill. We should not rest on our laurels. There is still a lot of work to be done. This is just the beginning.

Related reading:

1. The Bahati Bill will not become law in Uganda

2. The Latest on Uganda

3. Uganda MP Bahati defends gay-sex death penalty bill


Rihanna 1 – Chris Brown 3 4

AfroGay is betting some hours of sleep that it’s a matter of time before Robyn Rihanna Fenty returns to or wishes she was back with Chris Brown. If she has any sense, she should be calling, sending SMS texts and doing everything she can to take him back. One hopes that Chris Brown takes her back, too, because she is going to need him more than he will need her.

Brown and Rihanna – In happier times

If, ahem, AfroGay had been in her place when the racy text message that started it all arrived, Brown would perhaps have got a terrific tongue-lashing in the car for not doing enough to keep his tail where it belonged – with me. That, and a silent sulk thrown in for good measure would likely have been it. In the very extreme AfroGay would have stormed out of the car, taken off those killer 4 inch heels and walked home in mock anger. And then he would have waited anxiously for Brown to return whenever he did so that we could make up and make out. But Rihanna reacted like a crazy black woman out of a Madea movie, raised hell as well as her hands and a messy bust-up ensued.

After studying both sides’ responses, it is clear that Rihanna started the physical fight after she saw the racy e-mail. Brown did what most young black men do; fought back. Being the stronger of the two, he inflicted more damage, but there is little doubt that it was a lovers’ tiff that went out of hand thanks to Rihanna’s mistaken belief that she had what it took to teach Brown a physical lesson.

Let’s face it: whereas Rihanna is a beautiful air brushed siren, we know that she is not exactly pin-up material without the lots of concealer and foundation. On the other hand, Chris Brown is a beautiful young man with smouldering eyes, an enchanting smile and a flawless complexion – with and without any make-up.

Okay, she was beaten to a pulp, as the TMZ picture revealed. But then reports suggested that she went back to her man. Wise move, AfroGay thought to himself. Unfortunately for her, she had a new album to sell so and her puritanical handlers who have never had a single indiscretion in their lives pushed her into abandoning the man she loves (for there is no doubt here that she loved him – why else would she have fought him over an indiscreet SMS text from an admiring temptress?) and conducting an insincere, self serving “oh, he abused me” interview with Barbara Walters.

And now Rihanna is trying to peddle an album that has likely come out without the preparation and thought that went into the phenomenally successful Good Girl Gone Bad and the fans are tepid about it. Rihanna doesn’t seem to know how to manage and, worse, she is alone. The photographs of her walking out of London night clubs in the wee hours of the morning – alone – don’t exactly tell the entire story but they say enough, don’t they? We are not exactly seeing Rihanna on cloud nine, are we?

If, as is likely, her new album bombs relative to her first one, Rihanna will start to second guess her talent, and will be wondering whether she really is any good after all. With artistic doubts creeping in, paranoia won’t be far behind. Except that in Rihanna’s case she had better have some paranoia else she won’t do well in the industry she is in where you are only as good as your last hit. Obviously Rihanna is no Whitney Houston because she has not been around long enough or strung together enough hits to fall back to in the face of a lackluster album. All she has to look forward to is the prospect of future hits, lots of them and this recent album doesn’t seem to have exactly given her the push she still needs desperately. And didn’t someone pass around the rumor recently that she also doesn’t have enough money in the bank, thanks to everything she has earned so far going to voracious business managers, handlers and such?

In the face of a so-so album, Rihanna could previously have counted on the collaborative support of Chris Brown, with perhaps with another artistic foray into Manila or even a quick trip to Kampala, Uganda if everything else failed. Alas, Rihanna might already have burnt that bridge by the totally unnecessary interview she gave to Barbara Walters – as if anyone who buys Rihanna’s music knows who Barbara Walters is.

Can someone please pass on AfroGay’s message to Miss Rihanna:

Rihanna darling: you started a fight with a man and he beat you up. That is what happens honey when you try to beat up on a man whether he is or is not cheating on you. Do, however, take comfort from the extraordinary lengths Chris Brown went to for a black man of his age to apologize so publicly and also do public penance. He has behaved with admirable restraint and maturity by refusing to trade ping-pong exhanges with you about the night of the bust up. He has also professed undying love for you.

If it is the cheating that worries you, honey, slinging their hook is what [especially] black men do and if you had any doubts, pick up any newspaper and read about Tiger Woods. Sleeping with other women doesn’t mean that your man doesn’t love you. It is just a guy thing as you will discover if you find someone else.

Rihanna darling, despite Oprah’s lectures (and she can afford the lectures, thank you very much) about Chris Brown being an abuser, you started this particular fight – you admitted that much yourself. Think of your career, too, darling. You are not yet established as a solid talent with a respectable body of work so you professionally need Brown more than he needs you. As you can see, you have no man and your career is already teetering on the edge of the abyss. Chris Brown complimented you as a lover and artistic collaborator. Pick up the phone, honey, and ask to meet him in a place where it is just the two of you. Thrash out your differences and get back with your man. Because if you don’t a million other girls, and a few men AfroGay knows about, are willing, ready and able to do whatever it takes to snag him.

My Pot Trip

Amsterdam! The city famous for its bicycles and “coffee” shops. Or is it Amsterdam, the city that has made bicycles and “coffee” shops famous?

I have waited almost six months to write about this experience for two reasons; the first one is that if there is a nosy official reading this, he/she will surely forgive me for admitting to a little spliffy indiscretion in the liberal free-for-all that is Amsterdam. The second one is that it has taken me this long to finally come to grips with exactly how my puffy experience made me feel.

After arriving at our hotel in Haarlem, our bags stowed and a nice meal out of the way, we took the train to Amsterdam, about 30 minutes away and arrived there at about 5pm.

I have been to Amsterdam before – many years ago. That first time we drove all the way from London, arrived in the evening just in time for evening rush hour. By the time we had dropped our bags, I had caught a cold so bad that I could hardly breath through my nostrils. We nonetheless went out into the cold, dreary evening, had one of the best steaks I have ever had at what I still think was an Argentinian restaurant (those I was with insist it wasn’t) took in a puff (or two, or three) at the nearest coffee shop and I retired to bed because the cold finally won the war over my body.

So, I really didn’t feel the effects of the three (or four, or five) puffs I took because I went to bed almost immediately thereafter … congested and very, very tired.

This past summer, I again found myself in Amsterdam, in a perfect frame of mind and with nary a cold despite the rather subdued summer weather compared to the barmy and sultry temperatures I had left back home. But I digress.

Once off the Haarlem to Amsterdam train, we made our way to the pot district. Upon inquiry, we were directed to a coffee shop which was directly right there in front of us. Talk about looking for the police station at the police precinct. The shop was empty but the lady behind the counter couldn’t have been more friendly. She took us through the absolutely bewildering array of varieties of weed with such names as super silver, gold, Congolese and goodness knows what else. Despite the braggadocio I felt from the stuff not having affected me 15 years ago, we decided to settle for what the ‘coffee’ lady said was the milder stuff.

Joints were rolled and in no time, we were puffing away merrily. About 10 minutes later, we got up and left. I didn’t feel any effect on me whatsoever, and I began to conclude that I was really immune to this cannabis psychedelic nonsense.

Then I began to notice that the city was becoming quieter and quieter. Though I could see people milling around everywhere, they were not saying a word and they were passing us by in total silence. The silence was quite reminiscent of a movie I watched many years ago about the after-effects of a nuclear explosion. Before leaving ‘our’ coffee shop, we had mapped out on a city planner where we were going to next. It seemed to be a couple of minutes away and when we left the coffee shop we headed there right away.

We walked down one alley, to the canal, down another alley, to the promenade, all the time carefully reading from our map. After walking like that for what seemed like forever, we admitted to ourselves that we were lost. That was when I started giggling uncontrollably. We checked our map again, established our bearings and headed down yet another alley. And we walked, and walked, and walked. The alley seemed to go on and on forever and, worse, it seemed to me that lifting one foot off the ground and placing it in front of me was taking an eternity.

There was no denying it anymore. I was stoned. And we were now hopelessly lost in the middle of Amsterdam. But we hadn’t come all the way to spliff city to get lost within a couple of hundred feet so we assured ourselves that we would figure out where our destination was. As we studied our map, two ladies came up to us, showed us their map and asked for directions. After admitting that we were just visitors, too, we helped them figure out where they wanted to go and off they went – giggling.

By now, the city was deathly silent. My mouth and lips were dry and I had this feeling of being spaced out, of light-headedness and being on cloud nine. I was also feeling slightly giddy and nauseous. I had to sit down. Around this time, we were around The Bull Dog coffee shop and we sat down across from it.

Sitting in front of The Bulldog, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was seeing the same people walk by again and again, sort of like in a movie that keeps on rewinding itself and playing from the same point. I was glad to be sitting down because my legs had turned to lead and I was feeling distinctively woozy.

And then came my own silence. Normally garrulous without any prompting, I no longer wanted to lift my tongue. I watched the recurring images of my mental movie replaying themselves again and again as the same people walked past – in silence. My brain’s reaction was a couple of seconds slow and I couldn’t be bothered to think. It nonetheless became quiet apparent to me, despite my stoned state, that the reason why I seemed to be seeing the same people again and again was that they were all stoned, or lost or both. I giggled idiotically at my realization.

I was also hungry, ravenously hungry. That, however, didn’t stop the overwhelming feeling I had of being part of a Pollyanna-esque existence that made me feel like donning a garland of flowers around my neck and handing out spade-fulls of love and understanding while singing Kumbaya. And I could still not stop the giggling about the absurdity of it all, the sense that I had puffed myself into a befuddled state where I was not in touch with my mental or physical faculties.

Slowly, gradually, the effects of my six (or seven or eight or nine or ten or whatever) puffs wore off and we set out again to look for the destination we were planning on when we left ‘our’ coffee house in the first place. As we sought it, I knew that I was done smoking spliffs for that day, and for many more days to come. We eventually arrived at our destination which was barely a fifteen minute walk from ‘our’ coffee house.

Despite having drunk coffee and wolfed down two or three pastries, I was still hungry. We ended up at a the Grasshopper restaurant near the Amsterdam train station. Just as I had done 15 years earlier, I ordered steak. It was one of the worst steaks I had ever eaten in any restaurant anywhere, but I finished every morsel of it completely.

By the time we left the Grasshopper, it was close to midnight … and time to head back to Haarlem. And I was still giggling uncontrollably like an idiot who has stolen a sneak peek at Mother Superior’s unflattering knickers.


Thank You Monitor of Uganda 1

“The only thing worse than being talked about
is not being talked about at all”
Oscar Wilde

In Luganda (Uganda’s most widely spoken language is Luganda) we have a saying “ekkumi terikyaaw’ omu” or, crudely translated “no one can lose all one’s friends.”

In these absolutely fraught times for the gay community in Uganda, the Monitor has been an absolute godsend in its near-blanket coverage of the evil that this bill is. Obviously, they cannot come out and endorse homosexuality, no Ugandan newspaper can go that far. But, in my view, the Monitor has done the next best thing; made sure that the subject is covered exhaustively, thereby giving friends and foe the information to make informed decisions about what the Bahati anti-gay bill really means.

While a lot of attention has been paid to the international community’s condemnation of this repugnant bill, the Monitor has provided consistent coverage on the ground; coverage so far-reaching that history should favorably judge as priceless the Monitor’s contribution to the campaign against the Bahati bill.

The Monitor’s coverage related to the abhorrent anti-gay bill over the last couple of months (in no particular order):

0. The story of a young Ugandan gay couple

1. Man of God backs government against gays

2. Sweden to cut aid to Uganda over anti gay law

3. Why anti-gay bill should worrry us

4. How relevant is the anti-gay bill?

5. Government will not yield to homosexual pressure – Buturo

6. Where girls are married off at 12 (not a direct reference to the anti-gay bill, but who failed to notice the implied contradiction of Parliament hounding same-sex consensual adult lovers when nothing serious is being done about blatant child abuse in Eastern Uganda – yet child abuse is already a crime under the law?)

7. Uganda hits back over gay criticism

8. Anti-Gay bill – why we should all be very afraid

9. Women MPs in support of the anti-gay bill

10. British PM against anti-gay legislation

11. Anti-gay law tabled

12. We will not bend over for aid, Buturo tells donors

13. Gay bill a human rights set back – US official

14. Homosexuality bill is extreme – activists

15. Uganda’s toothless battle on gays

16. Bahati’s bill should be returned to sender

17. Homosexuality bill rejected

18. Anti-gay bill; MPs should address more pressing problems

19. Tied Foreign Aid? [sic]

20. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009

21. Horns locked over gay law

Thank you very much Monitor, thank you very much indeed.

Hillary Clinton Where Art Thou?

“Probably my worst quality is that
I get very passionate about what I think is right.”

Hillary Clinton

Britain’s Gordon Brown has condemned the bill. Sweden is threatening to cut Aid. Canada has condemned the bill. France has condemned the bill. And all America has come out with is this puffy “guidance?” Psst.

Hillary Clinton, Madam Secretary of State of the United States of America:

The State Department can be more categorical than this. The guidance, though helpful in a general sense, might as well have been addressed to Saudi Arabia or Myanmar for all anyone cares. Ma’am … the problem with general guidance is that it is … general. Yet the bill about to be debated in Uganda’s rubber-stamp Parliament is very specific.

Madam Secretary of State: a country with which America has strong ties is about to criminalize what people are. Forget making actions a crime; they are about to criminalize the being. Not only that, they are about to set jail terms for anyone who knows about the being and says nothing. Yes, if such a law were to pass in the United States of America, it would ensnare people like Dick Cheney who knew that his daughter was lesbian and kept it a family matter. It would lead to the jailing of thousands of school teachers and counselors who know that their students are gay and keep it to themselves.

“people remain vulnerable …”In the last six and a half years, we have seen a dangerous experiment in extremism in …”

Do you remember any of those words Ma’am? No, you didn’t say them about Uganda. But you said something to that effect about the American people and the dangers you felt the administration of George W. Bush posed to them respectively. Now that you are in position to influence what happens to a sector of Uganda’s population that is vulnerable and whose government is engaged in a dangerous experiment with extremism, say the words again, Ma’am, only more directly and specifically.

Humbly, we beseech you to speak out forcefully for what is right – as you have always done. Let us hear your own voice on this, ma’am. Please.