New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: President Museveni Speaks Out On Homosexuality

President Yoweri Museveni has said the issue of homosexuality and lesbianism has been totally distorted leading to wrong public debate.

"In our society, there were a few homosexuals. There was no persecution, no killings and no marginalization of these people but they were regarded as deviants. Sex among Africans including heterosexuals is confidential," Museveni said.

"If am to kiss my wife in public, I would lose an election in Uganda. Western people exhibit sexual acts in public which we don't do here," he said, adding that, Africans do even punish heterosexuals who publically expose their sexual acts.

The president said what is new is the way Europeans and other Western people handle the issue of sexuality in general, including public flaunting which is a problem and luring young people into acts of homosexuality for money.

He said attempts to promote homosexuality as an alternative way of life has led to engagements in running battles with the church.

"You have a lot of room in your house, why don't you go there. Sex is a bilateral issue, not a multilateral one," he said.

The President was on Monday meeting a delegation of USA human rights activists led by Kerry Kennedy, the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Kerry is the niece to former U.S. president John F. Kennedy and daughter to the latter's younger brother Robert F. Kennedy.

Accompanied by several lawyers, actors and religious leaders, the activist expressed concern with what she described as harassment of the gay and lesbian community in Uganda including exposure of the pictures.

She made it clear that it is a violation of people's rights to put pictures of sexual minority groups in the [news] papers.

She also said the pending Bill on homosexuality works against the international law treaties that Uganda has signed, and cautioned against the misconceptions that equate pedophiles with homosexuals.

Kerry Kennedy is the author of The New York Times best seller "Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans talk about Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning," published by Crown Books/Random House in September 2008, and "Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World," (Random House, 2000).

Reacting to various issues raised by the team, Museveni said he would investigate claims of violence against homosexuals, adding that for a viable solution, activists must respect the confidentiality of sex in our traditions and culture.

He reiterated that in Uganda, "there is no discrimination, no killings, no marginalization, no luring of young people using money into homosexual acts".

The team pledged to work with the president on the laws regarding overt sexual acts by offering free consultancy.

PPU - exhibiting sexual acts in public is an affront on African culture - President.doc by The New Vision

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