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Uganda: Anti-gay laws a 'blot' on reputation

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Uganda: Anti-gay laws a 'blot' on reputation

BY DANIELA COSTA – Uganda's homophobic laws are a “blot” on its reputation, according to a South African delegate to the Pan-African Parliament.

Santosh Vinita Kalyan, an opposition member of South Africa's National Assembly, made the comment on Oct 10. Her statement came during the discussion of a motion celebrating Uganda’s 50 years as an independent nation, the Daily Nation reports.

“Uganda has a blot in terms of its stand and attitude towards homosexuals,” Kalyan said. “Regrettably, they want to criminalize homosexuality.”

Male and female homosexuality is illegal in Uganda. Catholic bishops in the country are calling for the revival of the anti-homosexuality bill, which calls for the execution of gays.

Kalyan, the Democratic Alliance's party whip, initially praised Uganda for placing health “on top of its agenda” and fighting HIV/AIDS.

However, her comments on Uganda’s hostility toward homosexuality sparked a heated debate.


 
Kalyan said the issue is about human rights and not about "whether one supports homosexuality or not.'' She praised South Africa’s constitution, saying it allows gays and lesbians their rights.

Ugandan MP Cecilia-Atim Ogwal countered, saying she is proud of her country's rejection of “the promotion” of homosexuality. Ogwal was the leader of Uganda's delegation to the gathering of African politicians.

"We want to tell Africa that Uganda has decided to uphold our values and culture and we are not stepping on anybody's values,” Ogwal said. “We cannot be allowed to practice polygamy in foreign countries and yet they come here and try to make us accept what is not natural.”

“We abhor homosexuality and value our God, culture and there is no way we shall allow a man to step on top of another man or a woman to lie on top of another,” said Ogwal.

Ogwal’s comments earned her a round of applause. She followed up by urging members of the Pan-African Parliament to pass a resolution upholding the “value of God and values of Africa.”

Ogwal received support from Botswana MP Walter Masisi.

Masisi said that while homosexuality is not a major issue in Botswana, leaders in the country are prepared to reject its recognition.

“We believe in our own values and we want to start denouncing it in parliament, in meetings and in other forums even in the countdown to our elections,” said Masisi in reference to Botswana’s 2014 elections.

Kenyan MP Gideon Mung'aro also supported the resolution. He suggested that African countries "be specific'' in their constitutions as to the rejection of homosexuality.

For more on Uganda, see Xtra’s series of articles from Uganda:

Confronting homophobia in the Pearl of Africa

Finding Kampala's gay bar

Young activist tells tale of beating, prison & defiance

Gay Ugandans gather to pray, plan

Hundreds rally against homosexuality

'I would kill a gay son,' says MP


Gay leader urges queers to stay in the closet

Activists present 450,000 names to Parliament


Uganda's anti-gay bill would lead to 'super-criminalization' of HIV

Obama administration meets with gay leaders in Uganda


Elderly bishop rocks Uganda's gay rights movement

Xtra’s Uganda correspondent weighs in


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Comments

In the same way as the
In the same way as the Ugandans do not like external interference in their politics, they should keep their bigotry out of the rest of Africa. South African LGBTI leadership should come out now with a strong statement to condemn this type of rhetoric on South African soil as being unAfrican! If anything what South Africans have learned is that a society that is all inclusive is the society that reflects the new Africa,. Uganda may choose to live in dictatorship and dark ages, while South African LGBTI are only just beginning to take the helm of their rights. Perhaps Ms. Barbara can sense that the sphere of progressive influence and the recent defeat of the Traditionalists in their attempts to negate equality in South Africa, is about to spread North. http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2012/10/11/watch-video-ugandan-anti-gay-resolution-fails-and-embarrasses-pan-african-parliament/
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