So says Uganda’s Daily Monitor:
The First Lady Ms Janet Museveni, was behind the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, US Ambassador to Uganda, Jerry Lanier, said in a leaked diplomatic cable.
The revelation was made by Senior Presidential Adviser John Nagenda, during a discussion with a US embassy political officer.
In Mr Lanier’s comments which were leaked on September 1, by whistleblower Wikileaks, Mr Nagenda is quoted to have told the US embassy that President Museveni is “quite intemperate” when it comes to homosexuality, but the First Lady, who he described as ‘a very extreme woman,’ “is ultimately behind the bill.”
Mr Nagenda further told the US government that the bill’s most vociferous public supporter, the ex-Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo, was responsible for a campaign of mass arrests – known by the Swahili term ‘panda gari’ – during the Obote II regime.
Mr Nagenda said Buturo is using the anti-homosexuality legislation to redefine himself and “will do anything in his power to be a populist.” He advised the US and other donors to refrain from publicly condemning the Bill as this fuels the anti-homosexual and anti-western rhetoric of the Bill’s proponents.
When contacted, Mr Nagenda agreed to the contents in the Wikileaks report saying it is a well representation of what he discussed with the US embassy political officer.
“There must be a word here and there which is inaccurate but the overall all spirit of what I said is well represented,” he said. “I had a conversation with the political officer who came to my house and we discussed issues about the homosexuality bill.”
Reading the rest of the article, it appears that President and Mrs. Museveni were at odds on the issue. The President was assuring the U.S. that the bill would be derailed or weakened and Mrs. Museveni was pushing the matter forward.
If these leaks represent reality, it appears that there are powerful forces in Uganda who will work against the bill but do not want to be viewed as favoring gays. Recent Cabinet actions to quash the bill seem to be extensions of Museveni’s promise to the US. The Parliament’s reaction was to declare the bill to be off limits to the Executive branch. With this back drop, it will be interesting to watch who steps up to advocate for and against the bill.