By – Melanie Nathan – UGANDA – 24 January, 2010: Is Uganda the New “Old South Africa?” Anti-gay Pastor Martin Ssempa will be spearheading a million-man march on 17 February, in support of the proposed Anti Homosexuality Bill, an event he says will give Ugandans a chance to show how they feel about homosexuality. Edward Ssekandi, Uganda’s parliamentary speaker reportedly stated that there is no way Ugandans can be intimidated by remarks from the Ugandan President to go slow on this KILL GAY BILL bill.
Uganda’s National Pastors Task Force Against Homosexuality*, chaired by Ssempa has resolved to support the Bill with amendments that include reduction of the sentence from death penalty to 20 years for aggravated homosexuality and the inclusion of a provision of “counseling and rehabilitation [by the church] to persons experiencing homosexual temptations.”
Ssempa maintains that homosexuality is illegal, breaks the laws of God and that it breaks the laws of nature which stipulate that a male goes with a female. According to him it is a Taboo for same-sex people to be in relationship and he basis his assertion on African culture, tradition and Religion.
When I worked as an attorney in Africa, I often came across the conflict between customary vs. civil Law. What I find interesting is the presumption that the tribal and law of God, are fused when it comes to homosexuality. So the rationale is to make the civil law impose the tribal and Law of God. Fascinating; that means that the Gay KILL Bill that Uganda is seeking to enact fails in the global sense, because it pertains to a belief system of a particular tribal existence.
This, in my opinion provides legitimate reason to remove Uganda from its global citizenry, and to isolate it to its own world of tribalism. To function in the internationally today and to expect trade with World and other International privileges, such as Ambassadors, diplomatic relations etc. the Country must at the very least comply with the most succinct aspects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Mr. Pillay has already urged Uganda to withdraw the Bill in question, that seeks to make criminals of LGBTQI people in Uganda.
This is a far reaching legislation. What if my US government or a US corporation asked me, a lesbian, to go to Uganda for a conference or on a trade mission? Does that mean all foreign countries will have to screen who it can and cannot send to Uganda. If a member of the US Congress is openly Gay and meets with a Ugandan President or Diplomat- is the Ugandan talking to a common criminal?
Is the crime they are intending an act, an omission or a lifestyle. He you are short one arm, so you are committing a crime. What next?
That said, I believe the World needs to take a much stronger stand, perhaps to coincide with the March. This is what in my foreign affair naivety.
1. All African Countries Take a role in condemning the Bill
2. The WAC pass a resolution condemning
3. The UN pass a resolution condemning the Bil
4. The USA and other Western Countries open their embassies to provide shelter for all LGBT people on or before the 17th of February with an option for Political asylum.
5. The USA and other Western Countries cease all trade with Uganda until it discards the Legislation and alters this course. This would have to include reparative education for the people of Uganda. Embargos and Sanctions.
6. The South African Government takes a leading role in urging Uganda to discard the Bill.
7. The South African President Zuma, immediately withdraws Jon Qwelane from as an ambassador for Uganda. (mmm- Zuma sending an openly Gay Ambassador.)
On the 17th of February, all the LGBT communities around the World must come out onto the streets in Rallies to be counted, to show Uganda that in the rest of the World we are out and open, albeit difficult in some instances and although we do not have equality we are not criminals. We need large numbers to show that their 1 million means absolutely nothing to the World at large. We will isolate them and help all the gays get out of that country. We will never help Uganda again when the next Idi rears his ugly head.
Prepare America for the 17th Of February 2010. We also are telling Zuma that unless he withdraws his ambassador, threatens sanctions and takes an influential role in the demose of this hate legislation, we the WORLD shall boycott the 2010 World Cup Soccer.
*The taskforce represents The National Fellowship of Born again Churches, The Seventh Adventists Church, The Uganda Joint Christian Council which also represents the Orthodox Church in Uganda and The Roman Catholic Church in Uganda.