Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

Uganda's Gays Are Just the Latest Victims of Museveni's Lust for Power

analysis

Photo: Riekhavoc
A protest at the Ugandan mission to the United Nations against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (file photo).

Bowing to popular pressure, Uganda's president has said he will sign into law a bill that specifies harsh new punishments for the "abnormality" of homosexuality and those who "promote" it. It's a huge step backwards for gay rights in Africa. But for President Museveni, that's not really the issue. He's just trying to keep himself in power.

After two months of prevaricating, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni confirmed on Friday that he would sign into law the controversial anti-gay bill passed by his parliament in December.

Already, being gay in Uganda is dangerous. The new law just makes things worse, extending the reach and scope of penalties for homosexual relationships and the promotion of homosexuality.

Even holding hands in public will be punishable with prison time; so too will be failing to report gay people to the authorities. It is a dramatic, high-profile setback for gay rights in Africa, and has been roundly condemned by the international community.

"The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda," said Barack Obama, Uganda's highest-profile critic. "It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly ...

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InFocus

Anti-Gay Law to Cost Uganda

A protest at the Ugandan mission to the United Nations against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (file photo).

According to reports, the pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill will violate human rights and serve as a barrier to advancing public health goals. Read more »