Now, in watching the tea leaves, some shapes are more important than others. When the President speaks in Uganda, one has to watch carefully. He is the President.
I was watching NTV last night. You can see the clip on Youtube here. The pres, speaking on the first day of the meeting of the NRM (ruling party), unprompted brought up the Bahati bill. He gave the usual rambling speech. There were foreign policy issues to consider. He had had lots of phone calls. And, the government was going to talk to Bahati about the bill.
During the statement, the NRM members (including MPs) became rowdy, shouting No, No, No for some, talking with each other, mumbling, grumbling. Certainly an unpopular decision. And, the Pres repeated the statement. With clarification.
It was over the airwaves. But, I was off power, off air, off net.... This breaking news was history before I got to know it! When I did, I had to think and figure out. Not having the capacity of Trelwaney. Certainly the pres spoke. But, was it the death knell to the Kill the Gay Bill? News reports were not so clear about that. But, some of the pundints were very, very clear. Death to the Bill, was happening.
But then. They are pundints. So, what do the Papers say?
First the New Vision. The government paper, which in the middle of this controversy has kept itself to more mundane matters. Orders from above, I believe.
Under the headline
Sigh, no reason to doubt the editorial slant of the NV on matters homosexual...
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has cautioned those advocating for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to “go slow”, saying the matter was a sensitive foreign policy issue.
The President, while addressing the NRM national executive council meeting yesterday, said although Ugandans should not allow their values to be compromised, they should equally not move ahead with the issue recklessly.
Museveni said he had been questioned about the bill by several foreign leaders, including the Canadian prime minister, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He said US called him for over 45 minutes over the issue. Clinton
“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
organised a rally and invited then President Bill Clinton. New York
“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
Europewith money and woo young people into homosexuality.
Museveni warned that those against development in Africa use this opportunity to de-campaign
He told the meeting thatHey, the Pres has spoken. Bahati was on WBS, discussing the happenings. He was still defiant. The issue had not changed. He would be talking with the executive and parliament etc. The matter was not yet settled. True?
Ugandawas due to host a conference of the International Criminal Court (ICC) but some people were opposed to the venue, arguing that was violating the human rights of gays. Uganda
Maybe. And maybe not.
But, I note a few things. Thanks, guys and gals out there for the pressure on YOUR governments. If anything, those are the ones that are going to do the trick. The magnified 300,000 homos demonstrating in NY, Washington(?), see how distance does magnify things!, Thanks brothers and sisters for helping out this homo in Uganda when he is under threat. We cant hold such a demonstration...! Of course. But, we can say thanks, for your demonstration did work.
There is certainly pressure on the government to back down. Is it enough? I dont know. The President has backed back. Though not very decisively. Maybe. Lets watch and see...!
Buturo, and Ssempa are certainly not going to define the foreign policy of the country. That is one thing that I see clearly. Oh, for the last three months they were doing so. And, the government seemed to be paralysed in the decision making process. For that I am cautiously thankful.
Will the bill go away?
I dont know. But, I am certainly watching with bated breath.
PS. Just for laughs. Here is the Presidents prepared speech to the party meeting. Published in the New Vision. It seems as if the main talking point, the Bahati bill was certainly not in the prepared text! The remarks were completely off the cuff.