Mbeki slams Uganda's anti-gay bill

2012-01-23 09:49

Kampala - Former president Thabo Mbeki has criticised Uganda's anti-gay bill, saying it does not make sense and what two consenting adults do in private "is really not the matter of law".

Uganda's Daily Monitor reports that Mbeki made the comments during a question and answer session at the Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala last week.

He was asked a question about the plight of a lesbian woman and Ugandan MP David Bahati's anti-gay bill, which seeks the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality, including the spread of HIV/Aids. It has been reintroduced in the Ugandan parliament after lawmakers failed to debate it during the previous session.

Private matter

"I would say to the MP; sexual preferences are a private matter. I don’t think it is a matter of the state to intervene," Mbeki responded.

He added that he was certain Bahati would disagree with his stand and argue that African culture does not permit same sex relations, which he said was at the heart of the continent’s widespread antipathy towards homosexuals.

Mbeki added that apartheid South Africa prohibited sexual relations across the colour line, and the Immorality Act gave police legal ground to raid "people's bedrooms".

"I mean what would you want? It doesn’t make sense at all. That is what I would say to the MP. What two consenting adults do is really not the matter of law."

When asked for comment by the Daily Monitor, Bahati said the bill was brought to curb several issues including inducement, recruitment and funding homosexuality. "His Excellency [Mbeki] needs to read the bill and understand the spirit in which it was brought and the context in which we are talking about."

Boost for gay rights

The Daily Monitor said Mbeki's comments came as a boost to crusaders of gay rights in Uganda.

South African gay rights organisation SA GLAAD said on Monday it is highly appreciative of the firm commitment to human rights and the South African Constitution as displayed by Mbeki.

"We wish President Zuma would do the right thing and denounce the virulent homophobia on the African continent and specifically address the Bahati-Bill in Uganda via diplomatic means," it said.

Mbeki was in Kampala to debate post-cold war Africa and why the continent is reliant on external interventions in dealing with local issues.

  • Cracker - 2012-01-23 10:10

    True, TM. It only becomes others's and their laws' problems if (a) their deity demands their interference in others' privacy, (b) they suspect that they themselves may harbor a bit of the same tendencies, in which case externalize it and destroy it in others.

      carpejugulim - 2012-01-23 10:46

      Cracker I had to chuckle about that. Chosen deities aside, experience has shown that the more homophobic they are the deeper the self-suspicion that they harbour the same tendencies. A person's sexual orientation is their own concern and nobody else's. The operative word is "consenting" ... you can't force someone to be gay. As for spreading AIDS/HIV ... again it is a case of responsibility and accountability. Contraceptives are free from government clinics all you have to do is collect them and use them. Don't make YOUR safety someone else's responsibility.

  • Treacle - 2012-01-23 10:13

    the many faces of "HIV does not cause aids" mbeki....

      tmatjokane - 2012-01-23 11:21

      Seriously, get over of the "HIV does not cause Aids" thing already. Is that what all you morons will hold over President Mbeki's head forever? As much as white ppl hate to be reminded of Apartheid and the heinous crimes their race committed against others, why can't you just move on like the rest of us are trying to move on from the fact that we'll always be second class citzens regardless of who is at the helm. So please I beg you - Thabo Mbeki is more than the Aids denialist he's been portrayed constantly. He's an intelligent, visionary, astute, straight-forward, inspirational leader.

      VOVO247 - 2012-01-23 11:31

      Now a new study has found that altering the androgens of a fetus during early pregnancy -- this time by by-products of PVC (the plastic pipes found in most home plumbing) -- can not only alter the gender of the brain but can change the formation of the genitals in the newborn. Phthalate Exposure Linked to Less-Masculine Play by Boys A study of 145 preschool children reports in the International Journal of Andrology, for the first time, that when the concentrations of two common phthalates in mothers' prenatal urine are elevated their sons are less likely to play with male-typical toys and games, such as trucks and play fighting. Because testosterone produces the masculine brain, researchers are concerned that fetal exposure to anti-androgens such as phthalates -- which are pervasive in the environment -- has the potential to alter masculine brain development, said lead author Shanna H. Swan, Ph.D., professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, director of the URMC Center for Reproductive Epidemiology, and an expert in phthalates. "Our results need to be confirmed, but are intriguing on several fronts," Swan said cautiously. "Not only are they consistent with our prior findings that link phthalates to altered male genital development, but they also are compatible with current knowledge about how hormones mold sex differences in the brain, and thus behavior. We have more work to do, but the implications are potentially profound."

      Riaan - 2012-01-23 11:38

      tmatjokane Who denied that HIV causes AIDS. And you call him "intelligent, visionary, astute, straight-forward, inspirational leader". Shame, is that really the best leaders you can offer?

  • Cronje - 2012-01-23 10:18

    Mbeki for president!..for now.

      VOVO247 - 2012-01-23 11:31

      Yes, so crime can increase again?? No thanks...

  • Vic - 2012-01-23 10:21

    Mbeki, please pass this onto your big connection Bob

  • clinton.bowden1 - 2012-01-23 10:24

    Mbeki, This is africa. What ever the current Dictator passes as law is law. Who are we to say otherwise? We let Mugabe have his way and all did was quite diplomacy. You let it happen so shut up !! Else fix SA first then moan at the others but until then Blah...blah...blah...

      Jerhone - 2012-01-23 11:14


  • J-Man - 2012-01-23 10:24


  • Paul - 2012-01-23 10:32

    This from the worst president South Africa never had. he was never in the country and when he was and said something it caused everyone to drop their heads into their hands in shame. To him Mugabe did nothing wrong and there was no relationship between HIV and AIDS. For the cost of the wall around his mansion (R70mil) he could actually contribute to some of those with AIDS.

      Len - 2012-01-23 10:42

      Not really sure I agree, Paul. What has Zuma done against Mugabe that TM did not do? The security cost of his home was R2m. It is one thing to dislike someone and another top fabricate facts. No one is asking you to like him. Yes, his AIDS policies were suspect, but he is as away as Zuma is away, but when he was away, he did not embarrass us and we do not have two planes flying to the same venue, endless corruption and Zuma clan taking over at the expense of the tax payer. We do not have criminals released from jail because they contributed to his upkeep. Get your facts straight first, before you criticise.

      lynsey.rimbault - 2012-01-23 11:05

      Not quite the point of the article. Take your rant elswhere and focus on the issue at hand.

      Jerhone - 2012-01-23 11:18

      @ lenand so you will settle for clown no.2 and not someone new who could do a better job? way to go man you must be an ANC zombie

      VOVO247 - 2012-01-23 11:33

      Lets not forget what he did to our justice system & the treatment police got when he was in charge.. he is an african, which tried to destroy the lives of africans by destroying border control & ruining the morale of the police force. ###ing demon, anyone but him.

      Len - 2012-01-23 14:15

      @jerhone Settle for clown number 2? How can I settle for clown number 2 when I make it clear that I am not a fan of Zuma? Do you read or you merely make up your mind and then unleash without so much thought on the subject? Fact remains that our economy was far better under TM. He implemented the same type of prudent policies that the Greeks wish they had years ago.

      Jerhone - 2012-01-23 15:05

      to Lenand i do read before answering clown no1 is the presiding president and clown no.2 is the ex spineless president

      Len - 2012-01-23 15:29

      @jerhone. Calling people clowns gives one an idea of what you are

      Jerhone - 2012-01-23 16:24

      TO Lenand if you think that SOUTH AFRICA is a sucsess after the two clowns were in office it must certainly makes you clown no.3

  • shelldon.wells - 2012-01-23 10:36

    What is it with News24 and the word "slams"? Lately everything from news24 seems to include the word "slams". Are there no other words in the English language that can be used? And really, Mbike "didn't" slam them at all, he "commented" or "noted" or just plain "said". News24 really sux on so many levels.

      J-Man - 2012-01-23 10:49

      My point (above) exactly.

      carpejugulim - 2012-01-23 11:04

      but *slams* is just so much more dramatic .....

      Jerhone - 2012-01-23 11:20

      I've always wanted to know what slams means i think it means pulling the wool over the publics eye's with smoke & mirrors

      thozi - 2012-01-23 11:24

      I understand that "slam" is used to mean "not agreeing/supporting' in this context.

  • david.lebethe - 2012-01-23 10:47

    It sounds like President "Mabeki" was really on a crusade to promote SA constitution. You wonder why would former president find homesexuality a personal matter "between two two people" when his government had in fact, introduced laws regulating relationship between married couples, including how to bring up their offsprings? It is this very laws (i.e. Prevention of Family Violence Act 133 of 1993, Childrens Act 33 of 1960, etc) that majority of South Africans have problems with and in other instances, blame for splitting their families. In fact, majority of ordinary Souith Africans and the government have problems with the Constitution and sometimes decisions of the Constitutional Court.

  • Sylvester Mohloli - 2012-01-23 10:50

    if u dnt lyk gays, tolerate them, dnt see why this shd b a legislative issue, i keep out of their space,they keep out of mine, we all happy!!

      Godfrey - 2012-01-23 10:57

      You should learn to write properly - this is not the third grade.

      Riaan - 2012-01-23 11:42

      Sylvester Mohloli Nor is this mxit. How old are you? Ten?

  • Samuel - 2012-01-23 10:54

    Always funny how these third world sh*t hole countries have all this money and energy to spend on pathetic bills whilst turning a blind eye to everything else that is really wrong in their country.

      Samuel - 2012-01-23 12:37

      Sorry Laaaambert, I meant to say pathetic, backwards, corrupt, primitive, archaic third world sh*t hole country.

  • braddo.ct - 2012-01-23 11:04

    Quite right My President ! #swellingwithpride

  • Stephen - 2012-01-23 11:08

    There's a gay guy working beside me, give a kiss and I'll tell you his name.

  • Lisa - 2012-01-23 11:23

    First time I ever been proud of something Mbeki said.

  • Dave - 2012-01-23 11:24

    Spoken like the true hypocrite he is. He applauded Goodwill Zwelatini over the weekend when the Zulu king came out against gays and same sex relationships.

      Thabani - 2012-01-23 11:38

      You talking rubbish. Thabo Mbeki applauded Zwelithini? When he was in Uganda. Are you smoking something illegal that's playing with your mind?

  • Phumi - 2012-01-23 11:30

    Uganda is a soveriegn country and how they choose to govern it is none of our business. The majority people of that country must decide which laws are going to take them forward. If chasing gays to the sea will lead them to their promised land then lend them be! We have enough policy problems of our own here that we should be attending to urgently like scrapping the willing buyer willing seller and implementing land expropriation without compensation urgently!

      Riaan - 2012-01-23 11:45

      And what would have happen if the NP government decided to chase blacks into the sea? Would that still be a sovereign country's prerogative? Funny how blacks always cry human rights abuse, but then they oppress people of different sexual orientation.

  • Jason Barber - 2012-01-23 11:30

    Ah, Thabo, how we've missed you. Finally, an ANC member with the balls to stand up to homophobia. Well done.

  • Yvette - 2012-01-23 11:34

    Nevermind what TM said, of course other African countries' laws impact on us! Their backward thinking reflects on us, and makes us look like idiots to the rest of the world. As for the comment about the government regulating how we raise our children, they do no such thing. The Children's Act is there to try and assist those children who need basic amenities of life and are not provided with them. Our government may be corrupt, but some of our legislation is world class and seriously cutting edge, which is why it's so dangerous to be considered in the same light as the likes of this new Ugandan legislation.

  • Jerhone - 2012-01-23 11:59

    TO NEWS 24 please could you create a forum where all the deleted mail goes to, where we could read whats really on people's mind's and not the censored bull that you allow on this forum ,i'm sure it will be more popular than this forum hope to hear from you

      Free Your Mind - 2012-01-23 14:09

      There is plenty of uncensored hate and bigotry on the News24 Facebook page if that's what you want to read.

      Jerhone - 2012-01-23 14:50

      free your mind THANKS

  • Sechaba - 2012-01-23 12:10

    King Goodwill Zwelithini is rotten

      Mtizozo - 2012-01-23 14:09

      whats your point??

  • uurrghhh - 2012-01-23 12:18


  • Cracker - 2012-01-23 12:19

    People's freedoms everywhere should be the concern of the whole world. Maybe one day the world will have one overseeing body that will prevent the hijacking of peoples, their freedoms, and their dignity. Our freedoms can only be guaranteed if we guarantee the freedoms of others. A lot of things irk many of us. But we have to accept it. If we start preventing others form practicing what we don't like we will find that there are ABSOLUTELY NO freedoms left. Not even a single freedom to protect. An absurd argument? No. Freedoms are indivisible. Start taking them away and others will step in to finish the process for their own personal and ideological/religious reasons.

  • mike.clery - 2012-01-23 12:22

    So now Mbeki's the good guy? How quickly everyone forgets ..... The really surprising thing about this statement is that he's actually criticized something (homophobia) that's considered part of African culture.

      Joanne - 2012-01-23 12:56

      It's not so much that he's a "good guy", just in comparison to some others he's a "better guy" - no criminal record that we know of, a grasp of history and other cultures besides his own, an understanding of the rule of law and an ability to enter into an intelligible debate. No-one forgets that he accepted the opinions of suspect advisors regarding ARV's, but he never expressed homophobia as a personal opinion in the past - as far as I know.

  • jeremy002 - 2012-01-23 13:35

    God bless Uganda

      mbossenger - 2012-01-23 13:57

      Which god?

      mbossenger - 2012-01-23 15:56

      Your punctuation ain't too hot, either. Besides, there are thousands of gods - I think my question was perfectly valid.

      mbossenger - 2012-01-23 17:55

      Well you told me to learn to read, so I thought telling you to learn to write would be a fair response. one thing - the bible being one of the oldest texts doesn't necessarily make it correct.

  • guy.goes1 - 2012-01-23 14:45

    oh dear oh dear being Gay is not a crime neither is being stupid . What is it with many persons that they are sooo concerned about gay people. To me they must get on with their lives like anyone else. Thabo Mbeki was in my opinion a hopeless president, keeping this moronic minister misimang as minister of health till her death.he appeared to be a conniving racist unable to make clear deciscions and unwilling to listen to reason . his stance on hiv was mind boggeling at the cost of droves of people lives. Good riddance, now do the same with zuma the hopeless.

  • Matome - 2012-01-23 14:55

    @Paul Roos, it's very important to get your facts correct before you get them into the public domain. I would like to think that your views on the former president are informed by ignorance and stereotype. i'm saying this because if i ask u to provide us with evidence about your coments on Mbeki and hiv,aids you wont be able to. dont let your hatred to the man cloud your judgement even when he raises fundamental issues that affect human rights. the former president is right. matters of the bedroom cannot be dictatted by politician, especially when they consen adults. gays and lesbians derseve to be respected, wether we aprove of their activities or not. So maybe Paul u would to respond to the issue at hand? and not attack the former president with your uninformed rhetorics?

  • coeniekukkuk - 2012-01-23 17:10

    Homophobic remarks by Zulu King are not acceptable! (Statement by Lance Weyer, Mr Gay South Africa 2011. 23 January 2011.) This week Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini stated that "Traditionally, there were no people who engaged in same sex-relationships” He must have missed the history books where many historical experts believe that Shaka Zulu is to have encouraged intercrural intercourse among his troops to "create intimacy and loyalty". (Bring on the Zulu hate mail...) He went on to say that “there was nothing like that and if you do it, you must know that you are rotten. I don't care how you feel about it. If you do it, you must know that it is wrong and you are rotten. Same sex is not acceptable.” Whether Shaka was gay or not is quite irrelevant. What is actually important here is that what the King said is in clear conflict with our Bill of Rights and Section 9 of the Constitution specifically, regardless of his interpretation of history. We have to note the devastating effect deeply rooted homophobia by leaders is having on communities. How can someone who is being paid a salary by the South African government (i.e. taxpayers) have such a blatantly unconstitutional view? Violent homophobia is real, and as much as I respect your right to practice and live your Zulu culture, I think it’s about time that we started being as passionate about the dignity and well-being of ALL our citizens. (cont)

      coeniekukkuk - 2012-01-23 17:10

      2. (cont) In a further slap in the face to the constitution, President Jacob Zuma, who shared the stage with Zwelithini, did not directly respond to the king's remarks. Instead, he said: "Today, we are faced with different challenges - challenges of reconciliation and of building a nation that does not discriminate against other people because of their colour or sexual orientation." Many will remember that in 2006 Zuma himself came under fierce criticism for the homophobic statements he made at Heritage Day celebrations. Statement by Lance Weyer, Mr Gay South Africa 2011. 23 January 2011.

  • peterjohnjnb - 2012-01-26 15:52

    well I never thought I would see the day but......ENKOSI THABO MBEKI!!!!!

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