Obama trying to blackmail us – Uganda

Kampala - Uganda on Tuesday dismissed US president Barack Obama's call for its leader Yoweri Museveni not to sign an anti-homosexuality law, saying the US was trying to blackmail the east African country.

On Sunday, two days after President Museveni said he would sign the law widely criticised abroad as harsh and unjust, Obama warned that would complicate United States relations with Uganda and be a "step backward for all Ugandans".

A senior Obama administration official said Washington - a major aid donor sending more than $400m a year - would review US relations with Uganda, a key regional ally in the fight against Islamic extremism in Somalia.

But Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo said aid should not be tied to Uganda's stand on homosexuality.

"We don't like to blackmail others. It's very dishonest, very irresponsible and unfriendly of persons to attach behaviour of another community to their sharing resources," Lokodo told Reuters TV in Kampala.

Homosexuality is taboo in many African countries. It is illegal in 37 nations on the continent and activists say that few Africans gays dare to live their sexuality openly, fearing imprisonment, violence and loss of their jobs.

In one of those countries, Gambia, President Yahya Jammeh called homosexuals "vermin" on Tuesday and said his government would fight them like malaria-causing mosquitoes.

Right to marry Michelle

Museveni has not yet said when he plans to sign the law.

The anti-gay bill was introduced in 2009 and initially proposed a death sentence for homosexual acts, but was amended to prescribe jail terms including life in jail for what it called aggravated homosexuality.

That category includes gay sex with a minor, where the victim is infected with HIV and where the victim is vulnerable such as a disabled person.

Lokodo said that were he to meet Obama, he would tell him that he had made the right choice in marrying a woman.

"I would tell him point-blank that he chose the right direction and this direction was to marry Michelle," he said.

"They have produced children, why does he encourage and promote others, men and women of same sex, to live together and have no offspring like him?"

Obama, a Democrat who has lobbied to expand rights for gay Americans and supports same-sex marriage, and has urged African nations to end discrimination against homosexuals.

In a statement, UNAIDS, the United Nation's agency on HIV/Aids, also warned that the law would make more gay people shun HIV testing and treatment when faced with prosecution or jail.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Matric results are out! Are you happy with your child's result?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, the pandemic really messed up their ability to focus
34% - 848 votes
Yes, they did well given the circumstances
66% - 1627 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.48
-1.0%
Rand - Pound
20.70
-0.2%
Rand - Euro
17.26
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.90
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.3%
Gold
1,792.95
-1.4%
Silver
22.64
-3.7%
Palladium
2,385.36
+2.2%
Platinum
1,022.71
-1.1%
Brent Crude
89.96
+2.0%
Top 40
67,070
-0.4%
All Share
73,504
-0.4%
Resource 10
75,094
-0.2%
Industrial 25
90,477
-1.1%
Financial 15
15,064
+0.9%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE