Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

Uganda: In the Thick of Ugandan Hate Rally

analysis

At a stadium in Kampala, 35,000 Ugandans gathered to give thanks to President Yoweri Museveni for passing the Anti-Homosexuality Act. The event combined the fanfare of a mass political meeting and a cultural festival.

"There is a fundamental misunderstanding between us and the liberal west. They say that homosexuality is sex. But it is not sex." These were President Yoweri Museveni's introductory remarks at the national rally in support of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, organised by the Interreligious Council of Uganda, and held at Kololo stadium on 31 April.

Museveni continued: "There are other words (in Luganda) for sex. I won't tell you those words." The crowd laughed, enjoying the coy omission. "But if you take homosexuality, they (the Ugandan people) don't call it 'sex'. They call it ekifire." A neighbour wearing a Ugandan flag on her head translated: "It means they are half-dead, yet they are still living."

Museveni spoke at the service without notes, ad-libbing with a jocularity that resonated with the mood of the crowd. Many of the audience members had travelled from the districts, and had already endured long hours of speeches. Over the course of the morning, the crowd poured in by the ...

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