Museveni responds to Obama on anti-gay bill
Publish Date: Feb 21, 2014
During the Kyankwanzi annual retreat, President Museveni indicated he will assent to the anti-gay bill. PHOTO/PPU
Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has responded to criticisms from the USA, where President Barrack Obama said passing the anti-homosexuality law would complicate relations between the two countries.
"I would like to discourage the USA government from taking the line that passing this law will “complicate our valued relationship” with the USA as President Obama said.
"Countries and Societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making," Museveni said in a statement.
He reassured all Ugandans and the international community of its continued commitment and respect for the rule of law.
H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
President of the Republic of Uganda
Responding to H.E. Obama’s statement on Homosexuality
18th February 2014
I have seen the statement H.E President Obama of the USA made in reaction to my statement that I was going to sign the anti-homosexual Bill, which I made at Kyankwanzi. Before I react to H.E. Obama’s statement, let me, again, put on record my views on the issue of homo-sexuals (ebitiingwa, bisiyaga in some of our dialects). Right from the beginning of this debate, my views were as follows:
1. I agreed with the MPs and almost all Ugandans that promotion of homosexuality in Uganda must be criminalized or rather should continue to be criminalized because the British had already done that;
2. those who agreed to become homosexuals for mercenary reasons (prostitutes) should be harshly punished as should those who paid them to be homosexual prostitutes; and
3. exhibitionism of homosexual behavior must be punished because, in this part of the World, it is forbidden to publicly exhibit any sexual conduct (kissing, etc) even for heterosexuals; if I kissed my wife of 41 years in public, I would lose elections in Uganda.
The only point I disagreed on with some of the Members of Parliament (MPs) and other Ugandans was on the persons I thought were born homosexual. According to the casual observations, there are rare deviations in nature from the normal. You witness cases like albinos (nyamagoye), barren women or men (enguumba), epa (breastless women) etc.
I, therefore, thought that similarly there were people that were born with the disorientation of being attracted to the same sex. That is why I thought that that it was wrong to punish somebody on account of being born abnormal. That is why I refused to sign the Bill and, instead, referred it to our Party (the NRM) to debate it again.
In the meantime, I sought for scientific opinions on this matter. I am grateful to Ms. Kerry Kennedy of the USA who sent me opinions by scientists from the USA saying that there could be some indications that homosexuality could be congenital. In our conference, I put these opinions to our scientists from the Department of Genetics, the School of Medicine and the Ministry of Health.
Their unanimous conclusion was that homosexuality, contrary to my earlier thinking, was behavioural and not genetic. It was learnt and could be unlearnt. I told them to put their signatures to that conclusion which they did. That is why I declared my intention to sign the Bill, which I will do.
I have now received their signed document, which says there is no single gene that has been traced to cause homosexuality. What I want them to clarify is whether a combination of genes can cause anybody to be homosexual. Then my task will be finished and I will sign the Bill.
After my statement to that effect which was quoted widely around the World, I got reactions from some friends from outside Africa. Statements like: “it is a matter of choice” or “whom they love” which President Obama repeated in his statement would be most furiously rejected by almost the entirety of our people.
It cannot be a matter of choice for a man to behave like a woman or vice-versa. The argument I had pushed was that there could be people who are born like that or “who they are”, according to President Obama’s statement. I, therefore, encourage the US government to help us by working with our Scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When that is proved, we can review this legislation.
I would be among those who will spearhead that effort. That is why I had refused to sign the Bill until my premise was knocked down by the position of our Scientists.
I would like to discourage the USA government from taking the line that passing this law will “complicate our valued relationship” with the USA as President Obama said. Countries and Societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making.
“Valued relationship” cannot be sustainably maintained by one Society being subservient to another society. There are a myriad acts the societies in the West do that we frown on or even detest. We, however, never comment on those acts or make them preconditions for working with the West.
Africans do not seek to impose their views on anybody. We do not want anybody to impose their views on us. This very debate was provoked by Western groups who come to our schools and try to recruit children into homosexuality. It is better to limit the damage rather than exacerbate it.
I thank everybody.
Yoweri K. Museveni Gen. (Rtd)
P R E S I D E N T
18th February 2014.
Obama Expresses Opposition to Ugandan President’s Plans to Sign Bill Criminalizing Homosexuality
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Barack Obama issued a statement on Sunday expressing his opposition to the intentions of Ugandan President Yoweri Musevini to sign legislation criminalizing homosexuality in the country.
Obama was golfing at a private course in Rancho Mirage, California when the written statement was released.
“I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality,” Obama stated. “The anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda.”
He suggested that the legislation would harm the country’s relations with the United States.
“As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda,” he said. “[And it] will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda.”
“It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people,” Obama asserted.
As previously reported, lawmakers in Uganda have been working to criminalize homosexual behavior in the country for over a year, and have been under intense international pressure to back down from their efforts. However, religious groups in Uganda have been urging parliament to pass legislation to protect social and personal morality in the nation.
“Speaker, we cannot sit back while such [a] destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation,” stated a petition presented to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga in 2012 from citizens supportive of the bill. “We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament … so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation.”
When questioned about the matter, Kadaga stated that she believed that parliament needed to heed the voice of the people.
“Who are we not to do what they have told us?” she said. “These people should not be begging us.”
“The most impressive part of this struggle here is that even non-Christians — like Muslims — are also at the forefront of advocating for the passing of the bill,” Restore Uganda director Okumu Yudah Tadeo told Christian News Network. “According to Uganda’s cultural and religious values that have helped to keep morals in the country, it is in Uganda’s best interest to keep up the good morals and Godly values in this generation and the generations to come.”
The legislation opposed by Obama and other U.S. officials would require life imprisonment for those who engage in “aggravated homosexuality,” meaning those who intentionally spread the HIV virus, commit homosexual pedophilia, or repeatedly engage in sex acts with those of the same gender.
President Musevini has previously expressed opposition to the bill, stating that he believed that homosexuals are “sick,” but should not be imprisoned. However, he also rejected the idea of homosexuality simply being considered an alternative lifestyle.
“You cannot call an abnormality an alternative orientation,” he said. “It could be that the Western societies, on account of random breeding, have generated many abnormal people.”