Uganda: Hundreds attend rally to celebrate anti-gay law

President Museveni tells crowd he’ll continue to defend measure

A thanksgiving rally celebrating Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act was held in the capital, Kampala, March 31. (Lester Feder video)

Bearing signs that read “Obama, we want trade not homosexuality” and “Museveni, we the children thank you for saving our future,” hundreds of Ugandans marched through the streets of the capital, Kampala, in a celebration of thanksgiving for the enactment of the country’s anti-gay law, BuzzFeed reports.

President Yoweri Museveni, who attended and spoke at the rally, organized by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), reportedly told the crowd that he would continue to defend the Anti-Homosexuality Act in defiance of international condemnation and pressure — in the form of aid withdrawal or re-routing — to repeal the measure.

Museveni also condemned oral sex as “idiocy” and urged march participants not to be “ruined by foreign things,” the report notes.

Various speakers praised the Ugandan president for having the courage to assent to the anti-gay measure, comparing his stance to the fight against colonialism.

BuzzFeed also reports that the event took place in the context of a number of attempts by Museveni to shore up his leadership in anticipation of presidential elections, which are two years away.

Museveni’s rhetoric about the anti-gay law on the domestic front differs from the tone he strikes when dealing with the international community. Recently, American Secretary of State John Kerry indicated that the Ugandan leader expressed willingness to meet with US “experts” to talk about the African country’s anti-gay law and the flawed reasoning used to justify its enactment. In January, before Museveni assented to the measure, he had also given a delegation from the Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights the assurance that he would reject it, calling the measure “fascist.” But he signed off on it the following month.

Natasha Barsotti is originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. She had high aspirations of representing her country in Olympic Games sprint events, but after a while the firing of the starting gun proved too much for her nerves. So she went off to university instead. Her first professional love has always been journalism. After pursuing a Master of Journalism at UBC , she began freelancing at Xtra West — now Xtra Vancouver — in 2006, becoming a full-time reporter there in 2008.

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