Recently, Wikileaks published a bunch of cables from the US State Department which resulted in me wondering why did they bother. Apparently, the cables show that Uganda was quick to capitulate on the issue of the Kill The Gays bill when the US, Sweden and other nations began threatening the African nation over the bill.
One of the cables reads:
“Asking his note takers to leave subsequent statements out of the Ministry’s official record, [Ugandan State Minister for International Affairs Henry Okello Oryem] assured…[US Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero] that Cabinet is moving to quietly shelve the bill without agitating core members of the [National Resistance Movement] caucus,” a February 4, 2010 cable said in describing a January 29 meeting between the two diplomats. “He described the January 20 Cabinet meeting on the bill… as a ‘free for all’ that revealed the previously unknown positions of several Cabinet members. ‘Now we know who is who,’ said Oryem, ‘and how to deal with it. It will be worked out.’”
The cables also show that US diplomats objected to the legislation introduced in 2009 by Ugandan MP David Bahati. Another cable states:
“On December 3, a Swedish diplomat told [a US political officer] that Sweden will likely sever its assistance, stating that the bill would undercut Sweden’s HIV/ AIDS prevention strategy for Uganda,” read a December 8, 2009 cable. “The diplomat said the anti-homosexuality legislation constitutes a tipping point as Sweden is increasingly concerned about Uganda’s apparent unwillingness to seriously address health sector corruption.”
The only ‘bombshell’ may be that one cable states that a Bahati was seen reviewing the legislation with Anglican Church leaders, and Embassy staff reported that they caught “A passing glimpse of the Church conference room revealed Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi and his AmCit international relations assistant, Alison Barfoot.” Barfoot did tell GayCityNews that “I have checked my notes, but I don’t have any information from that meeting or recall specifics. I’m not aware that any substantive conversation even took place.”
She also noted that, despite recent reports, “The position of the Church of Uganda is well known. The Church of Uganda has been sympathetic to the concerns behind the bill, but did not support the bill.”
None of this is particularly stunning, informative, or even that important. In fact, the cables all appear to reinforce what was already known at the time, which is Uganda moved quickly to stop the bill despite pushes from Bahati. This brings up questions about the relevance of the leaks- which were all from 2009- other than as part of an historical narrative into the bill itself. Not much here worth really reading. Now, if you guys come up with leaks showing that, say, Bahati has an interest in the guys…that would be worth leaking.