Museveni tells off gay advocates

Wednesday January 15 2020

Sworn-in. President Museveni (centre), Chief

Sworn-in. President Museveni (centre), Chief Justice Bart Katureeba (third left), Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo (3rd right) and the new judges after swearing in at State House Entebbe yesterday. PHOTO BY KELVIN ATUAHIRE 

By ANTHONY WESAKA

President Museveni last evening scoffed at those supporting homosexuality in the country and warned that their advocacy might provoke the majority who hate the practice.

The President said homosexuality has been there even before independence and that the practice has always been ignored since only a few are engaged in it.

“I was discussing with somebody that is why I delayed to come. We were discussing legal issues - the issue of homosexuality. I was meeting the head of UNAIDS, Ms Winnie Byanyima. On our law books, we still have homosexuality as a crime and it was put there by the British as an offence,” President Museveni said yesterday.

“We have not amended that law and some people say we should amend it and remove it. Homosexuality was known but we have deliberately ignored that and we have not amended that law and it’s deliberate because we have more urgent things to do. We also have a cultural way of looking at that phenomenon,” he added.
The President was presiding over the swearing-in ceremony for the new Principal Judge, Dr Flavian Zeija, and three justices of the Supreme Court at State House in Entebbe yesterday.

The judges are Mike Chibita, Ezekiel Muhanguzi, and Night Percy Tuhaise.
Justices Muhanguzi and Tuhaise did not take the judicial oath and oath of allegiance since they had taken the same when they were appointed High Court judges before. The two justices instead shook hands with the President.

“For us, we know that there is a main way of life but there is some deviation and African society says about that. The law criminalises it and hunts those people but also, we have been advising the Western parties not to provoke the big majority by fronting homosexuality as if it’s something appreciated,” the President said.
He saluted the outgoing Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine for effectively spearheading the High Court for many years.

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Justice Zeija now replaces Bamwine who officially retired on December 25 last year after clocking the retirement age of 65.
Chief Justice Bart Katureebe expressed gratitude to the President for appointing the new judges before asking him to appoint more especially at the Court of Appeal level since two of the court’s justices were elevated to the Supreme Court.

The new Justice minister, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, said the swearing-in was the first public function he was presiding over since he was transferred to the ministry.
Prof Katuntu replaced Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire in the recent cabinet reshuffle.
He pledged to work with the new judges to promote law and peace in the country.

Advocacy

The executive director of UNAIDS, Ms Winnie Byanyima, has previously been quoted advising government to decriminalise prostitution and homosexuality to curb the rising number of HIV infections.
“We have a law criminalising homosexuality. Most of the society does not agree with it, but the result is that we drive gays, lesbian and transgender people underground and they do not come out for HIV testing and treatment,” she added.
“That means they and their sexual partners will continue lacking the services and also spreading the infection,” she added.

Mrs Byanyima told The New Vision that government has no business engaging in moralising the public.
“We need to decriminalise homosexuality and let the Church and the mosque be the ones to preach about sexual behaviour. The government should not be in the bussiness of moralising about sex. Let them leave that to the moralists. Let the government simply deliver services to all people without discrimination. That would be the best way to end this epidemic,” she said.

awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com

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