Movement away from Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill?

Scroll to the end for updates and audio of President Museveni’s speech and a video report from NTV.

Uganda Talks, the blog of The Independent posted this on Twitter this morning:

Uganda backs off anti-gay bill: Saying that it contradicts Uganda’s foreign policy, President Museveni announced t…

However, the link goes to a page which says the content has been moved or not published yet. I called the Indenpendent to learn that the content has not been published. The headline gives a hint that it involves a statement from President Museveni.

A google news search of Museveni yields this most recent article description:

Saying that it contradicts Uganda’s foreign policy, President Museveni announced that the anti-gay bill will be withdrawn in an announcement at State House.

I have gotten another unconfirmed report that Museveni made these remarks at a meeting of his political party earlier today.

This just in from Katende Bob Roberts at the Independent:

President Museveni has told members of his National Resistance Movement party in a meeting at State House, Entebbe that cabinet will talk to Member of Parliament David Bahati who tabled the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009, in order to reach a position that will leave both the local and international community satisfied.

The president’s pronouncement attracted wild murmurs from the audience prompting him to repeat his statement. He said ever since the bill was tabled in the last quarter of last year; he has been receiving calls from various international figures including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to find out updates on the proposed law. Museveni observed that the bill is affecting Uganda’s image abroad. He said although there’s need to protect Uganda’s values, it also necessary to take care of concerns of the international community.

While the earlier report of the bill being withdrawn seems unlikely, this signals a potential to work toward something that will address the issues about which all groups agree.

Thanks to a reader, audio of Museveni’s remarks are below. Click the link for the transcript.

Now playing: Blogtalk


More coverage here and a much fuller account here in New Vision

Here is the transcript of Museveni’s speech.

Read these accounts and compare with the audio…

Museveni said he had been questioned about the bill by several foreign leaders, including the Canadian prime minister, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He said Clinton called him for over 45 minutes over the issue.

“I told them that this bill was brought up by a private member and I have not even had time to discuss it with him. It is neither the Government nor the NRM party. It is a private member,” Museveni told the NRM meeting at State House Entebbe.

“It is my judgment that our foreign policy is not managed just by some individuals. We have our values and our stand, historically and socially, but we need to know also that our partners we have been working with have their systems,” he added as members murmured in disapproval.

Museveni narrated that the gay community in New York organised a rally and invited then President Bill Clinton.

“In that rally, about 300,000 homosexuals attended. I challenge you. Who of you, MPs, has ever had a rally of 300,000 people, other than me? Even for me, it is not often that I get those numbers,” he said.

The Cabinet, he added, had decided to call Bahati and discuss the bill with him.

“This is a foreign policy issue and we have to discuss it in a manner that does not compromise our principles but also takes care of our foreign policy interest,” he said as the MPs shouted: “No, no, no!”

He said when he talked to Hillary Clinton, he informed her that people come from Europe with money and woo young people into homosexuality.

Museveni warned that those against development in Africa use this opportunity to de-campaign Uganda.

Watch this space. I will put up the details as soon as they are available.

The transcript of the speech is here.