Gay-Bashing As Political Decoy

Feb 25 2012 @ 8:28am

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Dayo Olopade details how it's being done in Uganda:

To hear some Ugandans tell it, the resurrection of official gay-bashing is a handy distraction from more troubling ethical lapses in the halls of power. Official abuses of authority and neglect of development goals stretch from municipal councils to the presidency. … A recent wave of influence-peddling scandals has left seven cabinet positions vacant. In this climate, it seems curious that [Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s minister for ethics and integrity], whose portfolio includes both "gay issues" and dealing with corruption in government, should invest such personal interest in the former and not the latter.

Uganda's infamous "Kill The Gays" bill was recently reintroduced. Elsewhere in Africa, Melanie Nathan reports on a similar bill just brought up in the legislature of Liberia, which receives US foreign aid. Evan Lieberman hopes American pressure could quash the murderous bill:

Gays_africajpg-297x300The question is whether we will put our money where are mouths are and actually cut back assistance because of this issue, even as American influence on the continent wanes in the face of massive Chinese investment. Would such a stance fly well with the American electorate? There may be mixed support for gay marriage, but I’m pretty sure that a healthy majority of Americans would recognize death-for-sodomy as a massive human rights violation… and since enthusiasm for foreign aid is not so high to begin with, there would not be much backlash were the U.S. government to tighten the screws. The bigger question would be whether the Liberians would simply tell us to take a walk and highlight their rights to “cultural sovereignty.”

Ndesanjo Macha, provides an excellent roundup of responses to the bill.

(Map from ilga.org. Photo: Ugandan gay activist David Kato is featured in a book during a memorial service for Kato in Kampala, on January 26, 2012. Kato served as a Advocacy and Litigation Officer for sexual minorities in Uganda. Kato was brutally murdered at the age of 46 years his home in Kyetume, Mukono District on January 26, 2011. By Michele Sibiloni/AFP/Getty Images)