Sunday, December 20, 2009

Uganda's Museveni--Caught Between Dollars And Gays

President Museveni seems to be rethinking his support for the Ugandan gays bill. Plus there is another controversial bill before the Ugandan legislation. This one deals with divorce regulations allowing women to divorce impotent men. It's interesting where stressing the non procreative aspects in gay sex can lead.

The following is from a longer article written by Jim Burroway and posted on Box Turtle Bulletin. BTB is the source for the latest on the Ugandan anti homosexuality bill. I find this recent turn of events most interesting. It illuminates the point I have made all along, that this bill would be overturned or not submitted because of it's political implications, not it's morality.

Will Musevini Sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill?

According to all reports, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is almost certain to pass Parliament, and will probably do so unanimously or by a vote very close to it. It would then be up to President Museveni to either sign or veto the bill. On one hand, I can’t imagine Museveni vetoing the bill while one prevalent argument for the bill is to stand up to pressure from colonial powers. In addition to being deeply homophobic, Uganda is also a very proud nation and many of the bill’s supporters have vowed not to “bend low” before international pressure. On the other hand, there are good, although admittedly tentative and circumstantial signals being sent that this may in fact happen.

There are hopeful signs, but in the end it’s all up to Museveni. And his decision will likely be based on what serves his political interests and not what’s best for the people of Uganda. A Mr. O. Kalinge-Nnyago, writing yesterday for The Monitor, says that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would provide Museveni’s 23-year-old government with a powerful new tool to use against his political opponents to maintain power:

"If we let this ill conceived and absurd law to pass, we should also be ready to see it selectively applied to the regime’s opponents who would be framed when it suits the regime. This is not the first time political opponents have been framed in this country. Former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye was framed for rape.

Who will be the next opposition politician to be arrested for suspected aggravated homosexuality or suspected concealment of homosexual practices? Because homosexuality is an abomination in Uganda, the regime, when it decides to frame you, does not have to prosecute you successfully. It is enough that your name has been dragged in the mud, you have been discredited and that possibly your political career is destroyed. I wouldn’t trust this human rights abusive regime with any far reaching law."

The question is not whether Parliament will pass the bill. That is a virtual certainty unless it is withdrawn. The real question is whether Museveni will veto it or not. And that question is much more difficult to answer.


I suspect Museveni is having second thoughts because using a law like this for political purposes is a two edged sword. It can also be used against him, his family, and his party.

While it is certainly true that there all kinds of legitimate moral reasons to be offended with this type of legislation, in the end it will come down to it's political ramifications. Museveni seems to be coming to the conclusion that this legislation has the potential to harm Ugandan politics, mostly his share of the Western pot, far more than it will clean Ugandan society of the 'gay' problem. The truth is the GDP of Uganda is still heavily dependent on Western largess and Museveni and his extended family greatly benefit from that largess.

And maybe deep down in side somewhere, he is pricked by the notion that every act in this bill which provides for the execution of gays, is far more a heterosexual issue than a gay issue.

While writing this article I got nudged with the notion to google "Museveni's children". This led to an eye opening look at Ugandan society. There were way too many articles to go into, with way too many questions of veracity, but for those who have nothing else to do, you might want to do the same Google search. I'll only write that I was left with many questions about what constitutes a 'traditional' family for the Museveni's.

Now for something somewhat different but still the same. Uganda is also debating a bill which will allow women to divorce their husbands for impotency. This discussion sheds meaningful light on the incredible mix of attitudes in the Ugandan culture towards women's rights, and in the process sheds some light on the underlying motivation for the gay crusade. This link will take you to a discussion on the Ugandan website New Visions. It's worth reading the comments because they give such an overview of the difference in opinions in a society whose laws reflect secular, traditional, and religious thinking.


  1. I see where the US commanding general in Northern Iraq has banned pregnancy and threatened court martials for both partners even if married.
    Maybe if he only commanded gay soldiers his plan would work better?
    And would this policy promote abortion?
    Where is the right wing when you need them?

  2. Colleen, thank you for your usual outstanding research, which keeps helping me reframe my own thoughts about issues--and I'm sure does the same for many readers.

    You note that your research into the "traditional family values" (my quotation marks) of Ugandan culture shows quite a mix of practices, and that what's taking place in the culture vis-a-vis women's rights casts light on the "underlying motivation" for the anti-gay crusade.

    This rings very true for me. What's really at the heart of homophobic movements in Uganda and elsewhere is the drive to maintain patriarchy. It's seldom lesbians who are targeted in these crusades are imagined as the problem.

    It's almost always gay men. The reason for this specific targeting of gay men is that their very existence raises troubling questions about those who take male dominance for granted, as "natural."

    What the churches are really trying to defend by targeting gays in Uganda and elsewhere is the "natural" "right" of men to lord it over women. Gay men just happen to be a particularly useful weapon in this battle for patriarchy.

  3. Benedict XVI praises the Uganda President and gives him advice about agriculture....

    So what do you expect when you put a geriatric reactionary in charge?