Friday, June 16, 2023

That updated US travel warning to Uganda

I cannot help but feel, deep in the depth my heart (which is paradoxically Kuchu, and Ugandan at the same time) that that traveladvisory is quite unfair. ‘Unfair’, ‘bad’, ‘unpatriotic’, and ‘very inaccurate’, and ‘not fair to poor old Uganda’, an assault on our ‘sovereignty’. This is what our dearest leaders are saying, no?

Or will it now be the sour grape reaction? We don’t really need those sinners in Holy Uganda.

Hoist on our own petard? I think that is the expression. And quite accurate. Uganda has very inelegantly scored an unprovoked own goal, a foreseen, unenforced error.
The world has begged us not to, we doubled, tripled down, that this is what we wanted. All the precious foreign currency that we wasted on lobbying in Washington DC, the amounts we spend to promote Uganda as a good tourist destination (Gifted by nature)…

A journo asked Asumani Basalirwa, mover of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023. “How many people are going to be saved from homosexuality by the Anti-Homosexuality Act?”
Very fair question, to my mind. The pain, felt and coming, what is it worth? The famous legislator’s reply is classic Ugandan, baffling with regards to his leadership credentials. ‘As a legislator, I don’t have to have the numbers’. Indeed!!!


You know why the US travel advisory is unfair? It is because it is so accurate. Because it relies on the very text of the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023. No wiggle room, no room for obfuscation, for asides for Ugandan leaders to cloud with lies and shade and offers to clarify. It is in the law of the country, the actual text approved by parliament, signed by the President.

The Advisory states-

“The May 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Act raises the risk that LGBTQI+ persons, and those perceived to be LGBTQI+, could be prosecuted and subjected to life imprisonment or death based on provisions in the law, and may be subject to mandatory reporting to the police if they are suspected of committing or intending to commit acts in violation of the law, and could face harassment or attacks by vigilantes. Supporters of the dignity and human rights of LGBTQI+ persons (including those of youth under the age of 18) could be prosecuted and imprisoned for multi-year sentences.”

Ours is the very bad and nasty habit of insisting that the sun is shining when the clouds are heavy and its raining. We Ugandans do so.., but, on the world scene, outside Uganda the Village, even Museveni should expect to be fact checked. And, he is.

The advisory reminds us of the other reasons why visitors to Uganda need to beware. Terrorism. Banditry and violence. Yes, they are endemic staples of Uganda. And as it states;

“Local police may lack appropriate resources to respond effectively to serious crime in most areas.”

The police will be too busy looking for homosexuals.

Yeah, we do have some severe problems. The petard of the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 is wholly of our own making. Price of our holiness, and purity and how fervently we seek to burnish our fundamentalist religious credentials. As the AFP statement put it, with an apparent lack of expression (Of course they are not going to call us out on it..)

“Lawmakers in the country (Uganda) argue that such measures are necessary to safeguard against (perceived) Western immorality.”

Indeed, the very lawmakers who steal, allocating to themselves money in the national budget and incessant sub-budgets, and steal from the poorest of poor, our siblings in Karamoja, stealing iron sheeting meant for roofs of housing in Karamoja.

Uganda the Holy marches on, indeed.



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