On the Other Hand – Why the Anti-Gay Bill Might Pass 3

GayUganda has a deeply pessimistic view of what might happen “when” the bill is passed, and understandably so since he lives the reality of what the bill portends. AfroGay is blessed in that he can live almost anywhere in the world he chooses. But most gay Ugandans don’t have that luxury and so have to run the gauntlet of accusatory stares, embarrassed silence, snide comments and open hatred that often manifests itself in the kind of visceral fulminations Ugandan politicians and clergy have indulged in lately.

While AfroGay still feels (chooses to feel?) that this law will not be enacted, it sometimes helps to think beyond what one wishes because, as we all know, common sense is not common in third world backwaters like Uganda where men still treat women as chattels and women routinely march in demonstrations seeking to protect men who wish to keep a third and fourth wife.

I recently spoke to a government official about the bill in general terms and he said something that I found chilling if only because it contradicted much of my own assumptions about the fate of this bill. “Parliament is independent,” he told me. “If Parliament passes the bill, it will be difficult for the President not to sign it.”

Of course it is laughable to even think that Uganda’s Parliament is independent, but the point was well taken. When you use terror-tactics, when you go for the lowest common denominator to cower minds into submission, just as the Taliban are doing in Afghanistan, you get what you want. When terror reigns the terrorists often get what they want from the defenseless. They don’t get it because it is what is right, but because the price of opposition becomes too high for most ordinary people.

So, it is hardly surprising that GayUganda has given up. Indeed he is not alone. Legal minds are already looking past the bill to constitutional challenges. There is no way this bill can pass the simplest test of constitutionality but that is beside the point since constitutional challenges can take years to resolve.

As a friend told me recently, “the structure of this bill and how it ends up being applied (if passed) could profoundly alter the landscape and viability of Uganda as a place to do business. Certainly it might make it impossible to live there. The fact that the fear of violence and the anti-homosexual streak in society runs so deep that NOBODY will speak out against it now, doesn’t bode well for anyone that gets caught up in its accusations later. You will get swept away to jail or death with nary a peep being made. “


As Somalia, Zimbabwe, The Sudan, Kenya have shown us in the recent past, Africa can be quite cruel that way. While it is not likely that Uganda will go the way of the pogroms we have seen in the aforementioned countries, a bill like this would make cheap political fodder for politicians looking for tactics to win re-election. Mere accusation that one’s opponent is gay should be enough to kill off their campaign. And you can be sure Bahati and his friends will use the ‘gay’ card. In fact, the more far-sighted Parliamentarians should vote for the bill in anticipation of using it as a devastating cutlass against their political enemies. On top of the thoughtless primitiveness driving the bill, even those MPs who are not interested in who sleeps with who will likely see the political gift they are about to be handed if it passes.

Which brings one to the frightening but necessary question: what can be done should common sense fail to prevail and the law is passed? AfroGay doesn’t know at this time. But a look at history gives a hint of what then has to happen.

There are not a lot of neat options – there never are where the fight for human rights is concerned. As the Americans say, you have to break some eggs to make an omelet. But delving into the ins and outs of what can be done is best left for another time.

For now, AfroGay must choose to believe that this bill will not become law. There is simply no way the current president can sign this bill and expect to show his head ever again at any international gathering, and so the price for him personally would be too high. Contrary to what many critics are suggesting, AfroGay thinks Museveni doesn’t want this bill anywhere near his desk, and he will never sign it if it makes it that far.
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Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill Being Stoked by Terror 1

NPR had an interesting exposé on what is driving the anti-gay bill in Uganda. The sum total of it is that its proponents are not interested in reason or intellectual honesty and are simply stoking up terror to make sure that the bill keeps its legs.

Money quote:

And a sympathetic Parliamentarian, Elias Lukwago, confirms that, indeed, fear is the key, and that the “terror factor’ is working:
Here is the live feed on the NPR segment, and this is the transcript of it. Those with slower connections will likely not be able to listen to the live feed but, not to worry, the transcript does an excellent job of painting the total lack of intellect on Bahati’s part, as well as the raw primitivity of the push behind the bill:

Excerpts:

In Uganda, a bill designed to eradicate homosexuality has strong support in the government and among evangelical Christians. Proponents of the bill link homosexuality to the West. And under the bill, Uganda would withdraw from any international treaties or protocols that
recognize the human rights of gay people.

Ugandans may soon have a choice to make. Homosexuality has been illegal there for more than 100 years. Now lawmakers are considering legislation that would go further. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 would jail consenting adults who engage in gay sex. It would give life sentences to people in same-sex marriages.

David Bahati, a first-term lawmaker, wrote the bill. “This is a defining bill for our country, for our generation. You are either anti-homosexual or you’re for homosexuals, because there’s no middle point. Anybody who does not believe that homosexuality is a crime is a sympathizer,” Bahati says. It is the first bill Bahati has ever written, and he calls it a “very wonderful piece of legislation.” His bill would impose the death penalty on adults who have gay sex with minors. And it would jail anyone who fails to report gay activity to police within 24 hours. And what if his brother were engaging in homosexual activity? “I’d arrest him myself and take him to the police,” Bahati says.

The bill is popular. Even Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has linked gay practices to Western influences. Sylvia Tamale, a law professor and author, couldn’t disagree more. “Homosexuality or same-sex attractions have been part and parcel of African communities for time immemorial. But the terms ‘homosexuality,’ ‘lesbian,’ ‘gay’ — those are relatively new. And those are terms many Africans attracted to people of the same sex never use or never identify with,” she says. Tamale teaches law at Makerere University, the top school in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. She is writing a book on sexual orientations in Africa, and she is one of the few people in Uganda who has publicly criticized the legislation.

“There’s no doubt about the fact that the majority of Ugandans are for the bill. Many of them have already blocked their minds. All they hear is ‘homosexuality’ and they don’t want to know, they don’t want to understand. All they see is anal sex, period,” she says.

U.S. evangelicals have long had a close relationship with top Ugandan leaders. In March, three American evangelicals attended a conference in Kampala on how to turn gay people straight. California minister Scott Lively was a key speaker. Stephen Langa heads Family Life Network, the group that sponsored the event. He often quotes Lively’s teachings, and he claims that rich
Westerners are paying children there to have gay sex. Langa says a lot of people need to be in jail. “Providing literature, writing books about it, standing up and saying it is OK — you should be arrested. Even if you are not in the act, you should be arrested. Anybody who tries to promote it should be arrested. That’s why we need a stronger law,” Langa says.

Lively has called Uganda’s bill “too harsh.” And Rick Warren, the popular U.S. pastor whose ministry extends to Uganda, condemns the bill. But they are not the only Americans active in Uganda. A U.S. evangelical group called The Family reportedly includes U.S. lawmakers who have shown great interest in Ugandan affairs. The bill’s proponents are reluctant to talk about whether The Family supports them in any way. Langa initially denied that he had ever heard of The Family. Then he said wealthy enemies have long associated him with the group. But he refused to talk about how much money his organization has.

In the end, supporters say the bill is by Ugandans and for Ugandans.But Val Kalende is Ugandan, and the bill is meant to eradicate her from society. Kalende, a lesbian activist, says if there are rich Western promoters of homosexuality in Uganda, she would like to meet them. As a volunteer, she says, she can barely pay her rent.

Erias Lukwago, a first-term lawmaker, says he doesn’t like the bill but can’t afford to disagree with it in parliament. “I’m telling you I cannot. I fear the reaction of society to be associated with gays — highly stigmatized, ostracized. Even for this interview alone it might be perceived that the gay community is paying me,” he says. Until the political climate changes in Uganda, Lukwago says he is keeping his mouth shut.

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You want gay rights? Get More Women Elected

I have developed a theory, and it is a relatively simple one. Gay boys and girls everywhere in the world need to become actively involved in politics to elect …. women!!


Why? Because the parliamentary women’s numbers have it. Slowly but surely, women are on the match in world politics. Coupled with the desirable dying off (or retirement) of the old male farts that have traditionally ruled the world, this is excellent news for gay rights.

For a sample of the quiet revolution, take the following figures of women in world legislatures from the Inter-Parliamentary Union:


Nordic countries – 41.4%,
Americas – 21.8%, Europe – OSCE member countries including Nordic countries – 21.3%, Europe – OSCE member countries excluding Nordic countries 19.3%, Sub-Saharan Africa – 18.1%, Asia – 18.0%, Pacific – 13.0%, Arab States – 9.7%


Now compare selected figures on female representation in individual countries that are gay friendly, non-commital or not hostile:



Rwanda Senate: 34.62% (9/36); Rwanda Chamber of Deputies: 56.25% (45/90); Sweden: 47.28% (165/349); Burundi National Assembly: 30.51% (36/118); Burundi Senate: 34.68% (17/49); South Africa National Assembly: 32.75% (131/400);


And on the other end of the scale:



Saudi Arabia Consultative Council: 0% (0/150); Nigeria House of Representatives: 6.94% (25/358); Nigeria Senate: 8.26% (9/109); Jamaica Senate: 14.29% (3/21); Jamaica House of Representatives: 13.33% (8/60); Uganda: 29.3% (99/332); Kenya Parliament: 9.38% (21/224), US Senate: 11.43%; US House of Representatives: 17.24%.


At the country level, the magic number of women needed is clearly 30%. Once any parliament passes that threshold, politics starts acknowledging humanity – as indeed it should. It is thus no accident that the parliaments that have passed the 30% threshold of women representatives around the world are also the most accommodating of gay rights. Women are mothers, with a unique bond to humanity that no man can ever experience since men do not go through birth pangs. No wonder the Burundi Senate recently rejected the amendment that would have discriminated against homosexuals in that country, and Iceland (31.75%) accepted its first openly gay prime minister. And no wonder the United States of America is still tied up in knots over homosexuality – female representation in that country is still at shockingly Neanderthal levels in relative terms.


Strange as it may seem, on the basis of my theory, Uganda is ripe for the gay picking. Only 0.8% is needed to put Uganda above the 30% threshold, and on the way towards tipping political discourse on homosexuality towards the human and humane. Jamaica stands out in the Caribbean for its homophobia – not very surprising given its totally macho parliament. Nigeria’s predominantly male contradictions on homosexuality are also easy to understand when the 30% threshold is factored in.


There are countries that buck the trend such as Britain (19% female parliamentary representation) and Brazil (15%) but Britain elected a woman prime minister almost 20 years ago and Brazil has more male-female impersonators than you and I have had hot dinners, making it likely that some men in Brazil’s parliament are actually women in very convincing drag. On the whole the theory stands up to scrutiny. Gays need female parliamentarians in their countries the way human beings need oxygen.


On its current track record (0% women representation), it should take Saudi Arabia another 600 years for its representatives to accept that homosexuals deserve equal rights. My fellow homosexual men and women … Saudi Arabia anyone?


The lesson to be gleaned by oppressed gays from this seems clear enough. Homos, wherever they are, should go out and campaign for more women to run for legislative office.

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Anti-Gay Bastards?

President Yoweri Museveni’s adviser, John Nagenda wants the word ‘Gay’ back:

True indeed, the word gay has evolved over the years to finally exclusively mean ‘homoesxual’ (whether he/she is happy to be or not). But it is not the only word that has seen its meaning metamorphose into something totally different. These days if you are happy you are ‘cool’ or ‘fabulous’ and a bright atmosphere is … well … cool or fabulous.

In John Nagenda’s days, he tells us, homosexuals used to be called ‘faggots.’ But, we know that the word faggot formally means a bundle of sticks or pieces of iron in a forge. So, it would appear that he cannot really have the word faggot back either.

Gay? Who knows? Certainly not morose.

Now, consider the word ‘bastard.’ A bastard used to refer to a child born out of wedlock but it can now be acceptably used to refer to thieving politicians, loan sharks, hypocritical pastors, philandering husbands, footballers who score own goals or sportsmen who take money to throw games. A bastard is also anyone who annoys the hell out of you for whatever reason. So, Martin Ssempa, Stephen Langa and David Bahati can justifiably be ‘referred to as ‘bastards’ by the Ugandan gay community.

The female equivalent of a bastard is, of course, a bitch. But remember that bitch, too, used to innocently refer to a female dog. Today calling any dog a bitch would be outlandish to say the least because, as we all know, a bitch is a woman we find disagreeable, or challenging, or both.

In the meantime, one hopes that ‘gay’ shall continue to mean happy, merry, carefree, ‘good as you,’ – in short, alive and living. And Martin Ssempa, Nsaba-Buturo and David Bahati will continue to be morose, grey and boring killjoys – in short, not gay.
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Michael Mulyoowa (Ezra); the ultimate scam artist 4

Have you heard of the following names? Michaela and Tareq Salahi, Michael Semakula Kato Mulyoowa?


If you are living in America, you have heard about Michaela and Tareq Salahi unless you have been hiding under a stone. If you are Ugandan, you have heard about Michael Semakula Kato Mulyoowa even if you have been hiding under a stone.

And the reason why these characters are not to be missed in their respective countries is that they have made it a profession to ensure that they are not missed. The Salahis and Mulyoowa (aka Michael Ezra) have shown themselves to be masters of self promotion. More intriguingly for psychoanalysts should be the extent both sets of people will go to in their bid to create the impression that they are important.

The Salahis have made a whole life out of creating the impression that they are A-list celebrities, the culmination of which was their now infamous gate crashing of President Barack Obama’s State Dinner. They weren’t seated for the dinner itself because … their names were not on the guest list but they got past security, were introduced as invited guests and got to shake the president’s hand. And they have hogged acres of press time and space ever since. What emerges is a curious case of a couple who have gone to extreme lengths to create an elaborate deception that they are an “IT” couple. The sum total of it is that the Salahi’s are consummate scam artists who seem to live in a fantasy world that they perpetuate by inviting themselves to events, claiming to be what they are not and taking elaborate trouble to be seen with celebrities and then making tall stories about the resultant pictures they have carefully stored on Facebook.

Thousands of miles away, Michael Mulyoowa (Ezra) presides over an equally fake world that he has created and carefully nurtured with the connivance of a lazy press. He is on record as giving away 1bn/= (about $470,000 in today’s money) to the Ugandan press for no one is sure what. But it took months for the self-same press to admit that this money never materialized. Then he again appeared in the press as the proud owner of a custom made yellow Lamborghini. There has remained one problem with this story; the car has never been seen anywhere on Uganda’s roads. Perhaps his most daring pie in the sky story was the one where he put it about that he was going to buy Leeds Football Club for $130m. The story made headlines in Uganda but the Brits, being a little more circumspect about bombastic claims to money, checked Mulyoowa out and realized he was just a small boy talking big. They largely ignored his overtures with … silence.

Mulyoowa – in the past

Obviously, Mulyoowa doesn’t have $130m. There is simply no one in Uganda with that kind of money about whom so little is known. The New Vision uncovered his shady past and printed it, only for the story to go away far more quickly than one would have expected. One could sense a desperate desire by the Ugandan press to believe Ezra. And that in a nutshell has been his saving grace – a gullible press, willing to give Ezra more air time than he is worth. And so it was that he again managed to make headlines as the proud purchaser of a $250,000 Mont Blanc watch. Again a slight problem – to date there is no record of his having actually paid the money for this watch, and street wisdom suggests that if he has the watch, he duped the Arabs, and didn’t actually pay them for it. By the time he was pictured handing over a dummy check for $250,000 for the watch, the more discerning critics knew better than to go gaga over this person. Had Mulyoowa really paid $250,000 for the watch as was widely reported, he would have been due for a 50% Uganda Revenue Authority tax bill, putting him squarely among the top tax-paying individuals in Uganda for 2006. But the tax records for that year show no one with Michael Mulyoowa’s name as having paid the equivalent of $125,000 (about 230,000,000/= at the time) in taxes. Go figure.

Ezra is in the habit of bouncing small 2m/= ($900) car repair checks for lack of sufficient funds, and his mother’s house was once attached over his personal debt. The sum total of this man is that he is good at talking people into lending him a couple of thousand dollars, and he makes money from shady deals, likely related to underhanded political-related business (usually the same thing) . But his ability to blow up what can only be average wealth into the hundreds of millions of dollars is nothing if not breathtaking.

It is fairly apparent that people like the Salahis and Mulyoowas are driven by demons most of us can only guess at. Their obsessive desire to make headlines is as curious as it is mind-boggling, and it is usually their undoing. The Salahis finally overreached and gate-crashed a White House State dinner, bringing their make-believe world to the light. Mulyoowa, too, eventually overreached when he planted stories that he was going to buy an Airbus A380 airliner. Though his claims made the international press, most serious newspapers stayed away from the excitement. The last we heard from Mulyoowa was in October 2009 when the Kenyan police were after him for issuing a $20,400 check that bounced due to insufficient funds. He claimed diplomatic immunity in order to extricate himself from that embarrassment. The logical question to ask is what made Mulyoowa a diplomat, but enough on this person already, yes?

Related reading:

1. Michael Ezra Mulyoowa barred from foreign travel

2. Court orders Ezra to pay debts

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.
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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

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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.

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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:

Amen.

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
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