Friday, January 8, 2010

Spin, done in Uganda

Hey, there was lots of noise, lots of signs of some sort of movement yesterday. In the evening hours... And, I was so confused I decided to wait for some clarity.

On WBS-TV, one of the headlines was that the government had disowned the 'Anti-Homosexuality' Bill. (Bill text here)Now, the Uganda government is very, very big. 70 plus ministers. Helps that they can say they said things that they deny, vehemently, having said later. No, I am not joking.

I am not talking of the NYTimes report. 

President Yoweri Museveni has told colleagues he believes the bill is too harsh and has encouraged his ruling National Resistance Movement Party to overturn the death sentence provision, which would apply to sexually active gays living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape according to a copy of the draft law.
That, frankly, is old news. Maybe the NYT was trying to play catch up. Where they did go wrong was to say that SMUG had decided to support Museveni in the 2011 elections if this was true. Bullshit. We (LGBTI) are too much into Uganda's reality to support any political party. Even the party perpetually in government. Afterall, they are the ones who own this bill.

But, there was this interesting, new old tid bit.

A top minister suggested scrapping the death penalty in favor of counseling.
''The death penalty is likely to be removed,'' said James Nsaba Buturo, Uganda's minister of state for ethics and integrity. ''The president doesn't believe in killing gays. I also don't believe in it. I think gays can be counseled and they stop the bad habit.'' 
Ruling party spokeswoman Mary Karoro Okurut said she also agrees with the president that some punishments in the bill should be dropped. But she said she will still push for a modified version of the bill when it comes to parliament in late February or early March.
''Although the president is against some parts of the bill, the bill has to stay,'' she said. ''(Homosexuality) is not allowed in African culture. We have to protect the children in schools who are being recruited into homosexual activities.''
 What is new, isnt what is said, but who is being quoted as saying it. The President.

He is the dictator of Uganda. In virtual fact, if you blow off the flimsy trappings of democracy on our institutions. So, since he is said to have spoken, (like THE Emperor, he speaks through third and fourth parties,) then I can surmise that the pressure has gotten to the highest level of government. And, that they are thinking of 'some' kind of modification to the bill.

But, that is all government spin.
What was making all the noise in Uganda yesterday evening was the report that the government was disowning the bill. But, again, take that with a pinch of salt. In the NYT, the government was modifying the bill. In the Daily Monitor today, as reported, the government is doing something else.

Under the headline, 'Govt could stop Gay Bill, Minister' is the story, from which I pick this extract.

The State Minister for Investments, Mr Aston Kajara, yesterday said the government was looking at the Bill with the possibility of withdrawing it. “The government’s official position is that we have enough laws to cover homosexuality acts,” Mr Kajara said. “Government did not sponsor this Bill. It is a private member’s Bill. The government is studying it and we may talk to the honourable Member of Parliament (David Bahati) to consider withdrawing it.”
Spin, spin, spin again. But, the underlying theme. There is some movement. In what direction, I am not sure. Some of this I have already seen, so, I am still watching the tea leaves, trying to figure out what figure comes out. I hope it is not the Grim!

I think the fact maybe that they are looking for a way out. The heat is a bit more than they expected.
Oh, that they own the bill is a fact. Bahati is a member of the ruling party, NRM. And, he couldnt have tabled the bill before approval. From the very top of NRM. Museveni himself, and the cabinet. Poor guy, he is going to be the fall guy. I better not fall into the trap of having pity for enemies before they fail to rise from where they fall.
And, the number of times that Minister Nsaba-Buturo has 'owned' the bill as the government's own are innumerable to count. All government spin. Maybe I should have up a post saying, 'Debunking Lies; The Government does OWN the Bahati Bill.'

So, please, all out there, do one thing. Continue the heat. Because the battle is being fought in Public Opinion, and political circles OUTSIDE Uganda. Please continue the heat, the pressure on YOUR politicians.

Christians out there, your role is still big. This bill is in the Name of Christ. I do know that the government is feeling the pressure. But, it is important that the Christians in Uganda do not wield their mighty weight from the pulpit. Remember, since Christmas day, they have been preaching relentlessly against homosexuality, and overtly and covertly supporting the bill. That is a matter of fact.
And, they are continuing to do so, in the Churches in Uganda. I know, you may not believe it but, in Uganda, Christians have been led by their pastors and preachers, even the Imam's to believe that the holiest thing that they can do is to pass this bill.
Remember the New Years Day note from Pastor Joseph Sserwadda.

The Lord has constantly dealt with me to in the area of governance and national policy over some controversial issues and shown me that, for once, there is going to be a listening ear.
I implore the Parliament to listen to reason and pass the Anti-homosexual Bill with a slight revision on the capital punishment. While we wait, happy new year.
That, in summary is what Christians in Uganda feel. And, Pastor Martin Ssempa is willing to risk by showing massive support on Jan 19th in a demonstration of millions descending on Kampala the capital. It is being announced to the faithful in Christian Churches.

Oh, the battle is not yet over. Not at all.

I am not Christian. And, the Christians in Uganda are infuriating me with their decidedly anti-Christ-like behaviour. Very. So, I will just put in this jab. From SFGate
All of which makes it delightful -- in that nauseatingly familiar sort of way -- to read the story about the Northern California evangelicals whose repulsive views on homosexuality and "curing" gay people reportedly helped shape a new, violently anti-gay bill in Uganda
Did you see? The New York Times piece about how Ugandan officials took the American evangelicals' beliefs about the best ways to punish/reform "evil" gays to its natural conclusion, and decided, if all other forcible rehab options fail, it would be perfectly appropriate to simply exterminate the homosexuals?
I mean, why not? If it's certifiably evil, if you can't "cure" it, if it scares the livestock, transmits disease, preys upon young boys and makes the older men fantasize in dangerous and uneasy ways, if God (not really) said it was an abomination, what's the problem?
Of course, the radical evangelicals in question were -- or at least pretended to be -- horrified at this practical summation of their views, immediately wrote panicky letters to Ugandan officials to correct their unfortunate "misinterpretation," as damn well they should have.
"No, no, no!" they sort of said. "We didn't mean actually kill them. That would be wrong. We simply meant gently, lovingly rehabilitate. You know: drugs, imprisonment, maybe some beatings, public humiliation, brainwashing, genital torture, electroshock therapy like the Mormons used to do.
"Barring that, just do what we do in America: psychological torment in the form of relentless, crushing guilt. This will make the evil gay feel so suicidally depressed about his perfectly natural desires, his body, his emotions, who he is as a living soul on this planet, he's bound to come around. See, like most major religions of the world, we work to shame the sinner so horribly that if he doesn't kill himself, you'll end up with a fine, completely numb soldier of Christ! But don't actually kill them. Heavens!"
Ugandan officials, apparently a bit confused about just how this crazy evangelical thing works, agreed to re-draft the bill and take out the killing stuff. "You extremist Christians are so weird," they seemed to say, rolling their eyes.
Yes, the humour is decidedly cutting. Very.

But, the point is, Christian friends, YOU HAVE TO STAND UP AND OWN UP, to the compassion of Christ. In my view, radicals and extremists are showing us the worst kind of Christian witness that there is. So, I implore you, ask your brothers and sisters in Uganda to stop throwing stones.

For my government, they are acting stupid, so, I will have the pleasure of pointing that out. Yes, we Ugandans are acting stupid. No two ways about it.

My lover is complaining that I am spending too much time on this bill thing. So, I will end this post here.

Have a great day.


1 comment:

Lindsay said...

Fight on, dear bros and sis.


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