Cable by Dazzlepod US Embassy Diplomatic Cables from WikiLeaks Released 251287 Cables (Sep 2, 2012)
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CONFIDENTIAL (97070)
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Reference ID 09KAMPALA1409 (original text)
SubjectUGANDA: INTERNAL OPPOSITION TO ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL
OriginEmbassy Kampala
ClassificationCONFIDENTIAL
ReleasedAug 30, 2011 01:44
CreatedDec 21, 2009 08:34
VZCZCXRO1579
RR RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #1409/01 3550834
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 210834Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0031
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
RWANDA COLLECTIVE C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KAMPALA 001409 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/12/21 
TAGS:        
SUBJECT: UGANDA: INTERNAL OPPOSITION TO ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL 
EMERGES, BUT IS STILL LIMITED 
 
REF: KAMPALA 1396; KAMPALA 1381 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Aaron Sampson, Pol/Econ Chief, State, Pol/Econ; 
REASON: 1.4(B), (D) 
 
 1. (C) Summary: Three domestic opponents of Uganda's 
anti-homosexuality bill received significant local press coverage 
during the December 12-13 weekend.  The government-owned newspaper 
published a column against the bill by senior presidential advisor 
John Nagenda.  Nagenda had earlier told PolOff he felt morally 
obligated to speak out against the legislation, which he compared 
to McCarthyism.  Uganda's opposition newspaper published, under an 
anonymous byline, a remarkably well-written in-depth interview with 
an openly gay Ugandan woman living in Kampala.  Parliamentary 
opposition leader Morris Latigo also spoke out against the bill. 
Meanwhile, members of Uganda's gay and lesbian community are 
increasingly concerned for their security. End Summary. 
 
 
 
 -------------------------------- 
 
 One Advisor Against Many 
 
 -------------------------------- 
 
 
 
 2. (C) The New Vision published a column by senior presidential 
advisor John Nagenda against the draft anti-homosexuality 
legislation on December 12.  Nagenda is known for challenging 
prevailing political winds, and has previously advised President 
Museveni against running for re-election in 2011.  His column 
compared the bill to McCarthyism and the Inquisition, and urged 
Parliament to vote against it.  In a separate discussion with 
PolOff, Nagenda said the New Vision - which is edited by a Dutch 
national - initially refused to run his column, and agreed only 
after Nagenda threatened to never again write for the newspaper. 
Nagenda said he felt morally obligated to speak out against the 
legislation, and accused those behind it of obfuscating differences 
between homosexuality, rape, incest, and pedophilia. 
 
 
 
 3. (C) Nagenda said President Museveni is "quite intemperate" when 
it comes to homosexuality, but that the President will likely 
recognize the dangers of passing the anti-homosexuality 
legislation.  He said First Lady Janet Museveni, who he described 
as a "very extreme woman", is ultimately behind the bill.  He added 
that the bill's most vociferous public supporter, Ethics and 
Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo, is a "very bad guy" responsible 
for a campaign of mass arrests - known by the Swahili term 'panda 
gari' - during the early 1980s under the Obote II regime while 
serving as Kampala's District Commissioner.  Nagenda said Buturo is 
using the anti-homosexuality legislation to redefine himself and 
"will do anything in his power to be a populist."  He advised the 
U.S. and other donors to refrain from publicly condemning the bill 
as this fuels the anti-homosexual and anti-western rhetoric of the 
bill's proponents. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------------- 
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Human Rights Lawyer Prepares for Parliamentary Hearings 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------------- 
----- 
 
 
 
 4. (C) On December 9, human rights lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuzi told 
PolOff that the Parliamentary Committee responsible for reviewing 
the legislation will likely not initiate hearings on the bill until 
March 2010 at the earliest (ref. A), and expressed hope that the 
bill could linger in committee for a year or more. Rwakafuzi is the 
only human rights lawyer working to defend Ugandan homosexuals 
against charges under pre-existing anti-homosexuality laws.  He 
said he has already submitted on behalf of Uganda's gay and lesbian 
community a list of health care providers, human rights experts, 
and others prepared to testify before Parliament once public 
hearings commence.  He said he will also urging Parliament to 
consider actual statistics regarding homosexuality and child abuse, 
as he knows that those pushing the legislation cannot produce any 
credible data to support their arguments. 
 
KAMPALA 00001409  002 OF 002 
 
 
 5. (C) Rwakafuzi questioned whether the legislation's proponents 
would accept substantive changes to the bill, as this would signify 
a major political defeat.  He urged the international community to 
publicly oppose the bill, citing its negative impact on human 
rights and the prevention of HIV/AIDS.  But he said threatening to 
cut assistance if the bill is passed - as Sweden did recently (ref. 
B) - is counter productive and emboldens those pushing the 
legislation.  Like Nagenda, Rwakafuzi noted Buturo's reputation for 
human rights violations while serving as Kampala's District 
Commissioner under the Obote II regime in the early 1980s. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
Opposition Opposes Anti-Homosexuality Bill 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
 
 
 6. (C) In a December interview with the Independent magazine, the 
official leader of the Parliamentary opposition, Morris Latigo, 
ridiculed provisions allowing for the death penalty as "absolutely 
outrageous." In Parliament in April, Latigo publicly supported 
Bahati's motion to introduce the legislation and urged fellow 
parliamentarians "to ensure that this motion comes as a Bill and as 
law as quickly as possible ."  Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) 
spokesman Wafula Oguttu told PolOff on December 17 that Latigo's 
prior comments were articulated before the FDC took a position on 
the bill, and that the FDC now opposes passing the current 
legislation.  In the Independent interview, Latigo warned that the 
bill will render Ugandan politics vulnerable to "mischief", lacks 
clear objectives, and is not based on solid facts.  Latigo said he 
looks forward to appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary 
Affairs Committee to testify against the legislation. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
Gay and Lesbian Community Security Concerns 
 
 --------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
 
 
 7. (C)  Human Rights Watch's (HRW) resident researcher told PolOff 
on December 14 that members of Uganda's gay and lesbian community 
are increasingly concerned for their own safety.   HRW is working 
with an underground coalition of local gay, lesbian, and 
transgender activists to coordinate a response to the 
anti-homosexuality legislation.  Fearing police surveillance and 
electronic eavesdropping, the coalition is unnamed and uses 
shifting code words to organize underground meetings.  HRW said the 
majority of each meeting is dedicated to questions of personal 
security for coalition members. 
 
 
 
  8. (C) Local gay and lesbian activists pleaded with one member, 
Val Kalende, to reconsider a feature interview with the opposition 
newspaper the Daily Monitor.  The Monitor ran the interview as the 
front page story, along with several photographs of Kalende, on 
December 12. Published under an anonymous byline, the article 
provides a striking and remarkably well-written portrait of 
Kalende's struggle against rising discrimination and hatred.  After 
describing her initial reaction to Bahati's anti-homosexuality 
bill, Kalende said: "for the first time, I am very scared." 
Bahati's bill, said Kalende, "is not about homosexuality.  It 
effects everyone; my pastor, my friends.  It is not about us gays. 
Homosexuality is not about sodomizing young boys.  What about 
relationships among people who are not hurting anyone?"   The 
Monitor interview included a sidebar that dispassionately provided 
the facts about human homosexuality - its history and universality 
- and thus implicitly debunked many of the most absurd claims made 
by the bill's proponents. 
LANIER