Africa Environment

Ugandan President Calls on Africa to ‘Save The World From Homosexuality’

The Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, has called on African leaders to reject “the promotion of homosexuality”, suggesting he will sign into law a controversial anti-LGBTQ+ bill, which was passed by parliament last month.

The bill, which imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and life imprisonment for “recruitment, promotion and funding” of same-sex “activities”, has been widely criticised internationally, with the UN high commissioner for human rights urging the president not to sign it.

Speaking on Sunday, Museveni said homosexuality was “a big threat and danger to the procreation of human race [sic]”.

He said: “Africa should provide the lead to save the world from this degeneration and decadence, which is really very dangerous for humanity. If people of opposite sex [sic] stop appreciating one another then how will the human race be propagated?”

His comments followed a two-day inter-parliamentary conference held at State House in Entebbe on “family values and sovereignty”, attended by MPs and delegates from 22 African countries, including Zambia, Kenya and Sierra Leone. State House said British MPs had attended the conference, but was not able to name them.

The event was promoted by the Ugandan parliament, the African Bar Association and the Nigerian-based Foundation for African Cultural Heritage. Delegates could also attend the conference online, hosted by the US evangelical Christian organisation Family Watch International, which is defined as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a watchdog that monitors the far right. The president of Family Watch, Sharon Slater, who also chairs the UN Family Rights Caucus lobby group, spoke at the event.

Museveni praised Ugandan MPs for passing the anti-gay bill and vowed “never to allow the promotion and publicisation of homosexuality in Uganda, stressing that it will never be tolerated”.

A Ugandan LGBTQ+ activist, who asked to remain anonymous for their own safety, attended the conference via Zoom under a pseudonym. “They are drawing up an African strategy to fight homosexuality. They want their government heads to commit to what they called ‘the African position’,” the activist said.

The conference, held on Friday and Saturday, specifically called on Zambia, Tanzania and Ghana, which were visited last week by the US vice-president, Kamala Harris, to “reject American influence”, said the activist.

“They are calling on African countries to now seriously fight corruption, be self-reliant and break free from the western support.”

The Uganda government tweeted quotes from a Kenyan MP, George Peter Kaluma, stating that “a person proposing that there should be same-sex marriages or same-sex relationships is a person seeking to wipe out the entire humanity out of the face of this earth [sic]”.

The government also tweeted that Kaluma, who attended the conference, had said many African states were drafting laws similar to the one in Uganda, including Kenya, Ghana and Malawi.

Stella Nyanzi, a Ugandan feminist activist who was imprisoned for criticising Museveni, said she condemned “both the manipulative organisers and the gullible participants in the so-called family values conference”.

Nicolas Opiyo, a Ugandan human rights lawyer and campaigner, told the Guardian: “The wave of homophobia and transphobia in Uganda, and the region, has nothing to do with Ugandan or African values. It is a disguised campaign by American evangelicals through their local actors. Their campaigns have now been organised under what appears to be local professional entities such as Christian lawyers’ groups, parliamentary forums and so forth.

“Their claim about African family values is only a ‘dog whistle’, a hate campaign and an imposition of a narrow Christian worldview upon us all. Once again, the Ugandan gay community is a target of this misinformation, hate and culture wars.”

Family Watch International has been contacted for comment.

Source: The Guardian