Ugandan government minister Nsaba Buturo supports Hang Them campaign

The world is noticing Uganda again, this time due to the outing campaign conducted with deadly intent by the tabloid, Rolling Stone. This CNN report quotes Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo on the subject:

Uganda’s ethics and integrity minister Nsaba Buturo dismissed the activists’ accusations.

“They [the activists] are always lying,” Buturo said. “It’s their way of mobilizing support from outside, they are trying to get sympathy from outside. It’s part of the campaign.”

Buturo said the anti-gay measure will be addressed and passed “in due course.”

“Of course I hope it passes,” he said.

Buturo is referring to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and provides another evidence that the bill has not been withdrawn and at least in the minds of the supporters is very much alive.

According to a comment on editor Giles Muhame’s Facebook page, he believes the standoff between the government and the paper is soon to end:

The deliberations between Rolling Stone, Uganda’s leading investigative newspaper and the Media council are now ‘apetising’. The standoff is soon coming to an end.

According to the CNN piece, the government is not pursuing the paper due to the outing campaign, but because all of the necessary paperwork needed to operate a paper has not been completed.

After the list was published, the federal Media Council sent a warning to Muhame and ordered the newspaper to cease operating.

But the warning was “not related to the list at all,” said Paul Mukasa, secretary of the Media Council. Rather, he said, the letter warned the paper that it was publishing without required permits.

“Until they fill in the required paperwork, they are breaking the law,” Mukasa said.

The secretary said the newspaper has initiated the process “to put their house in order.”

AP reports Ugandan Hang Them campaign, obscures status of AHB

On October 4, BoxTurtleBulletin and I reported (with more here) that a Ugandan tabloid – Rolling Stone – started a campaign of outing gay people with the caption “Hang Them” on the front cover of the rag.

Today, the Associated Press published a story covering the same issue with some new details of the worsening conditions for gays in Uganda. Check this out and compare it to Martin Ssempa’s contention that gays are not in danger in his country.

The AP story did obscure one important point:

KAMPALA, Uganda — The front-page newspaper story featured a list of Uganda’s 100 “top” homosexuals, with a bright yellow banner across it that read: “Hang Them.” Alongside their photos were the men’s names and addresses.

In the days since it was published, at least four gay Ugandans on the list have been attacked and many others are in hiding, according to rights activist Julian Onziema. One person named in the story had stones thrown at his house by neighbors.

A lawmaker in this conservative African country introduced a bill a year ago that would have imposed the death penalty for some homosexual acts and life in prison for others. An international uproar ensued, and the bill was quietly shelved.

As I noted on the 14th, the anniversary of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill’s introduction, the bill remains in committee. If by shelved, these reporters mean the bill has been withdrawn, they provide no direct confirmation of this. To my knowledge, the only source close to the bill who has provided a comment is Charles Tuhaise who told me recently that the bill remains in committee and awaits hearings and a second reading.

On September 13, Peter Boyer of The New Yorker reported without source that the Fellowship was involved in the withdrawal of the bill, writing:

Hunter brought Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the former African rebel who became Uganda’s President, and other key Ugandan leaders into prayer groups. When Uganda’s Parliament took up a bill last year that would have punished some homosexual acts with death, Hunter and his friends in the Fellowship felt they had the standing to urge the proposed measure’s defeat. Museveni appointed a commission that studied the matter and then recommended that the bill be withdrawn.

Since this is the extent of Boyer’s reporting on the bill, it misleads the reader into thinking that the bill was, in fact, withdrawn. Not so, according to the Parliamentary Research Services’ Charles Tuhaise.

The AP article does not source their contention about the bill. Instead, the writers reveal that they were not able to get anyone in Parliament to talk about the bill:

Four members of parliament contacted by The Associated Press for this article declined to comment, and instead referred queries to David Bahati, the parliamentarian who introduced the bill. Bahati did not answer repeated calls Tuesday.

While I do not know what the future holds for the AHB, I am aware that, as recently as the beginning of this month, supporters were still calling for the passage of the measure. As reported here on October 11, Martin Ssempa was still promoting the bill’s passage in a private talk given several days before. If anyone would know about the bill’s status, it would be Ssempa who emerged as the bill’s chief pastoral supporter in Uganda.