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Uganda election: Challenger cites issues; incumbent cites homosexuals

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has again injected the issue of homosexuality into his reelection campaign. Challenger Bobi Wine declared it an attempt to distract voters from the important issues that Ugandans face.


From the African Human Rights Media Network
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Challenger Bobi Wine (left) and incumbent Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

In an interview less than a week before the Jan. 14 election, Museveni claimed that Bobi Wine (Robert Kyagulanyi) is “an agent of foreign interests” who gets “quite a lot of encouragement from the foreigners, from the homosexuals.”

Wine responded: “That is nonsense.”  The issue of homosexuality, he said, is being used to divert attention from “the pain of the people of Uganda”.

Partial transcripts from the interviews with Museveni and Wine are below.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (Photo courtesy of Channel 4 News)

Museveni

Museveni was interviewed by Lindsey Hilsum, international editor of London-based Channel 4 News, who challenged Museveni to name the foreign countries supporting Wine. He named none.

“There are so many,” he said. “Especially Europeans. They are full of arrogance.”

Proponents of change in Uganda “get quite a lot of encouragement from the foreigners, from the homosexuals, from I don’t know what,” Museveni said.

Hilsum: “What have homosexuals got to do with it?”

Museveni: “They are very happy with Bobi Wine. I think they even sent him support.”

Hilsum: “Why does it come back to the homosexuals? Many years ago … you told me there were always homosexuals in Uganda. They lived on the edge of the village and they were tolerated. They were not persecuted. ”

Museveni: “But in Europe you promote them. You promote homosexuality. You think homosexuality is an alternative view of life. ”

Hilsum: “What I’m not understanding is your connection between homosexuality and a young man who is running for president, who is your opponent.”

Museveni: “The connection is that some of the constituencies in the West have their own way of thinking. … I think what you would like us to be is to be your puppets.”

Presidential candidate Bobi Wine (Photo courtesy of NBS Television)
Presidential candidate Bobi Wine (Photo courtesy of NBS Television)

Wine

On NBS Television, journalist Simon Kaggwa Njala asked Wine, “What is your relationship with homosexuals, like the President alleges?”

Wine responded:

“Well, that is nonsense. It is a shame. It is really disrespectful to be talking to a married man, who is married to a woman who you know. …

“I feel insulted to be drawn in sexual talk with whoever when we have a few hours to lead to an election. …

“[I] would rather come on this national TV and use these last minutes to talk about how best we are intending to peacefully, constitutionally and non-violently liberate ourselves. But you are driving us into sexual talk, which to me I find very diversionary. …

“Come on, Simon. Don’t be one of the journalists who are being used to divert the pain of the people of Uganda by bringing around nonsense.”

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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