purchase http://deepcreekflyfishers.org/components/com_jfbconnect/libraries/provider/linkedin/widget/followcompany.php sans-serif;”>According to Peter Tatchell Foundation (PTF), an NGO that seeks to promote and protect the human rights of individuals, communities and nations, in the UK and internationally, Museveni’s hotel was besieged by Ugandan pro-gay activists in a mass protest.
The President was last week attending a three-day UK-Uganda Business Forum organised jointly by the Commonwealth Business Council and the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA).
While addressing Ugandans in the diaspora at St. James Courts London, Ugandan pro-gay activists and their supporters raided the hotel in a noisy protest with thunderous drums, vuvuzelas and chants.
Clad in Uganda flag attire, armed with drums, they danced and chanted
They caused a constant background disruption to the President’s speech to Ugandan community and business leaders based in the UK, according to PTF.
The protest was organised by the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, with the support of STOPAIDS, the RMT Union and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
Message on the placards
According to the pictures, gay activists carried placards with various messages intended to be deciphered by the President as far as the Gay Law is concerned.
On one of the banners, activists called upon Uganda to repeal the Gay Law indicating, that Uganda’s problem is not gays but corruption.
Another indicated that Anti-Gay Law is “un-African” hence the need for Uganda to stop “jailing gays”.
Among the key Ugandan names on the banners were; Andrew Mwenda, Fox Odoi, Bishop Senyonjo and Pastor Anthony Musaala as activists decried “state homophobia” which they alleged is gaining ground in Uganda.
Activists attack Premier David Cameron
Activists, according to PTF, said the Foreign Office collaboration with the Ugandan government and support for the UK-Uganda Business Forum calls into question David Cameron’s commitment to tackling rising homophobia in Uganda and across Africa.
The placards carried various messages
“It is hypocritical for the UK government to claim to be promoting LGBTI rights internationally and at the same time rolling out the red carpet for regimes like Uganda that persecute gay people,” said Edwin Sesange, the Ugandan Director of the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group.
“The UK government should come clean on its progress with promoting gay rights in countries like Uganda that they host and collaborate with.
“At this early stage since the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) became law, it is questionable for Ugandan government ministers to claim that the campaign against the homophobic legislation has had no effect on the Ugandan economy and inward investment.
Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation, said: “Gay people are not the cause of Uganda’s problems. The government of Uganda should fight poverty and HIV, not gay people. It is two-faced for the UK government to condemn homophobia while hosting President Museveni, whose government has legislated one of the world’s most draconian anti-gay laws. The Anti-Homosexuality Act punishes any form of same-sex contact – even mere kissing and caressing – with mandatory life imprisonment.”
According to Ben Simms, Director, STOPAIDS, “The anti-gay law has put at risk the lives of LGBT Ugandans and an effective AIDS response. It is shameful that the Foreign Office has given the Ugandan government the red carpet treatment, with ministers speaking on the same platform as Museveni. It seems British business interests have trumped the human rights of Ugandans. We are left wondering what Hague’s strategy for tackling homophobia really is.”
Special Forces Command speaks out
The Special Forces Command (SFC), an elite force that guards President Museveni, cut out some of these reports as exaggerations but agreed that gays did protest in front of Mr Museveni’s hotel.
According to SFC spokesperson, Maj Chris Magezi, the short-lived protest did not disrupt the President’s schedule.
Ugandan activists topped banners as their UK counterparts protested
The President, according to Maj Magezi, was never attacked by anybody, but hastily added that “a small group of people, about 20 in number, had come with pro-gay placards in front of the hotel where the President was conducting some of his meetings. The President and his guests remained unaware of their presence, and business proceedings continued normally until late into the night”.
“The demonstrators abandoned their scheme about a couple of hours later, either because they were satisfied they had made their point, or probably because they were frustrated they could not put the President in a spot of bother as they had planned or wished.”
EU, US stand on Uganda’s Gay Law
The incident comes at a time when the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Okello Oryem, had just secured the European Union’s assurance that Uganda won’t be denied aid because of the Gay Laws.
Hon. Okello Oryem cited two meetings held with both the European Union ambassadors on March 28, 2014, and a second one with the United States Ambassador following the passing of the Anti-Gay Law and its assent by the President.
“These delegations were assured that the Anti-homosexuality law would not be revoked or changed in any form but assurances were given on its implementation putting into consideration the Cotonou Agreement,” the Minister told the Committee of Parliament on Foreign Affairs as it considered the ministerial budget Framework Paper for the financial year 2014/2015.
The protesters were both Ugandans and their supporters in the UK
He added: “The European Union delegation assured us that there would be no more aid cuts,” he said.
According to Oryem, United States is still considering this stand and will soon come out with its declaration.
President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Gay Law on February 24, 2014 to criminalise, outlaw and provide harsh jail terms for same sex relationships in the country.
Submitted by MP David Bahati on October 14, 2009 as a private member’s bill, it provides a fourteen year jail term for one convicted for the offence of homosexuality; and imprisonment for life for the offence of aggravated homosexuality.
According to Parliament, the legislation seeks to establish a comprehensive consolidated legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex; and the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions and other places through or with the support of any government entity in Uganda or any other non-governmental organization inside or outside the country.
The placards say it all
Legislators affirmed that there was need to protect the children and youth of Uganda who are vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviations as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technologies, parentless child development settings and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption and foster care.