AP report: Bahati says death penalty to be dropped from antigay bill – UPDATED

He told me this months ago, but Bahati seems to be wanting to get some attention back on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
at 11:25 on April 26, 2011, EDT.

AP Interview: Death penalty provision in Uganda’s anti-homosexual bill likely to be dropped
The Associated Press

KAMPALA, Uganda – The Ugandan parliamentarian behind an anti-homosexual bill that attracted worldwide condemnation says the most controversial part of the proposed legislation — the death penalty provision — is likely to be dropped.
David Bahati says if the committee the bill currently sits before recommends that the provision be removed, that he would concede the issue.
Stephen Tashobya, the chairman of the parliament’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, said Tuesday that he would try to bring the bill up for a vote before parliament’s current session ends May 12.
After Bahati’s bill was proposed in 2009, it attracted international condemnation, including from President Barack Obama. The bill has since languished in committee.

UPDATE: The full AP article is much longer than this short version.
Read it here.
It does sound like Stephen Tashobya intends to get the bill a vote. Given the information, I have been getting from close to the Cabinet, this will not be viewed favorably by the ruling party. An alternative view is that a focus on homosexuality might take the minds of the people off of the recent riots and arrests of opposition party leaders.

Rolling Stone editor appears on BBC News; says tabloid is in public interest

Giles Muhame, a recent Makerere University journalism graduate and editor of the temporarily stalled Rolling Stone Uganda-style, appeared on BBC News today. Here is the link to the audio.

And here is the article based on the interview, also featuring Frank Mugisha representing the GLB community in Uganda.

Frank Mugisha said one woman was almost killed after her neighbours started throwing stones at her house.

He said most of those whose names appeared in Uganda’s Rolling Stone paper had been harassed.

Last year, a local MP called for the death penalty for some homosexual acts.

The proposed Anti-homosexuality Bill sparked an international outcry and a year later has not been formally debated by parliament.

Voice of America TV2Africa on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Recent report from Voice of America TV2Africa  on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the context of the African Anglican Bishops’ meeting in Entebbe.

Note the interview with David Bahati, regarding the reason for the bill. He wants to define homosexuality in more specific terms in order to make the penalties clear. Also, you see a brief appearance by Martin Ssempa.

Lou Engle supports criminalization of homosexuality

Not a big surprise given his recent statements, but Lou Engle made it (more or less) explicit in an interview with Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches. Here is some of the money:

I [Posner] pressed him [Engle] about which penalties in the bill he didn’t support — and he did say that although he could see someone supporting the death penalty, he did not, and he did not support “hard labor” as punishment or the requirement that churches report LGBT people to the authorities. But when I asked him if he would support a bill with less harsh penalties, he added: 

My main thing is to keep — is to not allow it to be legalized, so to speak, so then it just spreads through the legal system of the nation. So I’m not — I’m not making a statement as to what I think the penalties should be. It’s not my job to do that. I do think, I do think that these leaders are trying to make at least some kind of statement that you’re not just going to spread the agenda without some kind of restraint, a legal restraint and punishment. And I don’t know what the line is on those, but I can’t go that far as I understand that bill already said. [emphasis mine]

Engle also discusses his time with David Bahati and Julius Oyet and says he did not know the men well.

Engle claimed to not specifically remember meeting with Bahati and Oyet while in Kampala, telling me:

I don’t even remember their names, I guess who they were. I met with the leader of the — with the bishop of the Assemblies of God of the nation. I understood as one of his key guys, one of his key leaders. I did not support the bill. I talked to them, whoever these two guys were about the lessening of the penalties, we even challenged them to make provisions so that the church would not have to report anything of homosexuality being exposed. But we appreciated the two guys whose hearts were to bring forth a principled bill. [emphasis mine]

Engle told me he didn’t know who Bahati was, but when I told him he was the author of the bill, Engle added:

David Bahati may have been in a meeting that I had with the minister of ethics [Buturo]. But in that, I did not come out and support that bill. It was a meeting of about 25 people, and really was a prayer meeting and I was there to mobilize The Call and to pray with them.

No wonder Bahati and Oyet were happy.

I don’t understand why it is Lou Engle’s job to say that a “legal restraint” is needed for homosexuality but then it is not his job to say what the penalties should be. For those who favor recriminalization, the Ugandan supporters of the AHB have called you out. If it is not to be what they propose then what should it be? Scott Lively wants the state to require gays to go through state paid reorientation. Forget government health care but Uganda should pay for what would be, in essence, forced re-education programs. While Mr. Engle doesn’t offer that solution, he doesn’t offer anything else of substance. Among other places, the devil truly is in the details.

Hon. Nsaba Buturo promotes Anti-Homosexual Bill at The Call Uganda – AUDIO

What follows is audio and a transcription of a speech given by Hon. Dr. Nsaba Buturo at The Call Uganda, May 2, 2010. He spoke just after Lou Engle spoke. The audio was provided by Michael Wilkerson. The first sentence of Hon. Buturo’s speech was not recorded. Hon. Buturo’s speech is interspersed with translation into what I assume is Lugandan. Words I am guessing at are underlined.




Because of the changing circumstance we have in our day, we now feel that the laws we have are not adequate to deal with this situation we face. I know Bahati’s heard the voice of God and is now spearheading that bill in Parliament. We want to pray for the Bahatis. It is your business that you pray for him. It is your business that you pray for members of Parliament. That on the day appointed for voting, that there will be no member of Parliament who will be absent, and after there will be no debate anyway, that the bill will be passed into law without any debate. This is an opportunity that Ugandans have now to tell the whole world that our business is to do what God wants us to do, not what somebody out there says we should do.  This is an opportunity for Ugandans to tell the whole world that our allegiance is not to man, whoever that man may be; our allegiance is not to nations, however powerful, our allegiance is to God. Uganda will not accept that nonsense that says that homosexuality is a human right. It is an abomination. We are not going to accept that. We are going to tell those who care to listen that this is not a matter we put before God’s word.  That our dignity is not for sale, that our love of God is first and foremost. My brethren, you have a duty to support Honorable Bahati, to support Parliament, to support those all those Ugandans who say that homosexuality never ever in our land. We don’t oppose or hate homosexuals; actually we love them. But they are lost. We have a duty to bring them back to God. Let me remind you brethren to let your government know and pray for them anyway that we have the golden opportunity to lead the world. We have the opportunity to show the rest of the world that Uganda is right because we are for God and those out there who are forcing us to do what is wrong are actually wrong. And Uganda will not accept any intimidation. We cannot accept any threats because if God is for us, who can be against us?

But why is your country where we are now? Why is the issue of homosexuality, when two, three years ago, it wasn’t? What has happened? Why is it that witchcraft, idolatry, human suffering, prostitution, pornography, all these suddenly are impacting on our faith today? Why is corruption the topical issue in every home? Something has gone wrong and it is the duty of believers to find out what it is that has gone wrong. Answer is that we have broken that covenant that we made with God. And so we see rebellion in the making; Ugandans choosing to distance themselves from God. And immorality is a consequence of that choice we are making. Yet God is giving us advice. He’s telling us that we are able to roll back these evils if we do one thing. 2 Chronicles, you heard it several times mentioned is the key to what we should do in order for God to heal us.

So let me take the opportunity to appeal to you to do what God is saying we should do. Do what God is saying we should do on behalf of Uganda. You and me who are called by His name. Let us humble ourselves. Let us pray. Let us turn from evil. Let us seek Him. And then He is going to make this land one of milk and honey as you have never seen before. You heard at the end the problem we are having in this nation. Those we have called to be our leaders are acting timidly. Both the church and believers who we are, are acting timidly. And so there is a crisis of confidence among those who are called by His name. The Church is on the defensive everywhere you go. In America, its about to lose the battle. In Uganda, the church is not handling this battle in the way it should. But these are dangerous times. But we need not lose this battle. So let me use this opportunity to implore you citizens. The government of this country is not the responsibility of his Excellency and the President alone. Through prayer and direct participation in politics, we can do a lot to change this nation. Let me also tell you, the government of President Museveni needs you so much. Government needs your hand. Unfortunately, you and I are not sufficiently playing our role.  It is essential that we stop complaining. It is appropriate that we take appropriate direct action as we have seen today. That is why I want to commend Rev. Dr. Mulinde and his team. I want to commend you for what you have done this afternoon. Let me remind you citizens that God will give us victory if we will go to the fight. The world cannot destruct us when Christ is able to attract us. Finally, I ask you to pray for Uganda. That Uganda will be able to stand up to any nation around the world. That Uganda will not be intimidated by any nation around the world. That Uganda will be able to use our enormous resources for the benefit of our people. Let us pray that Ugandans are set free. Let me ask you also to pray for his Excellency the President, the man God has put in that position for this time we are in. that he will remain fearless of anybody around the world, except God. God bless you, God bless Uganda.