Ugandan President Orders Arrest of Gays
Reuters, September 28, 1999
By Paul Busharizi
KAMPALA (Reuters) Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has ordered
the arrest of homosexuals for carrying out "abominable acts," local newspapers
said on Tuesday.
"I have told the CID (Criminal Investigations Department) to look for homosexuals,
lock them up and charge them," the state-owned newspaper New Vision quoted him as
saying on Monday at the opening of a meeting on reproductive health.
Museveni said his upbringing and the Bible told him homosexuality was wrong, the paper
God created Adam and Eve," he said. "I did not see God creating man and
Officials were not immediately available to comment on the reports.
Musevenis remarks followed the widely reported marriage of two gay men in a
suburb of Kampala two weeks ago. The wedding was followed by a party in a restaurant where
witnesses said men openly kissed and fondled each other.
According to Ugandan law, homosexuals can be charged under the unnatural offences
clause of the penal code which forbids gaining "carnal knowledge of another against
the order or nature." Conviction can be punished with life imprisonment.
Ugandan human rights activists have only just begun to take the issue seriously.
"We have been ignoring it but since it is gaining prominence we shall have to come
out with a common position," James Otto, a lawyer and member of the Human Rights
Network told Reuters.
There have been some efforts to promote gay rights in the Ugandan press recently.
A letter in the New Vision on Tuesday questioned the papers homophobic stance and
the laws against homosexuality.
"In your prejudiced view you never seem to think that homosexuality could be
natural," an anonymous writer said.
"Without the necessary scientific evidence it is doubtful that you can say it is
against the order of nature."
The writer ended by asking whether the police would arrest a couple having oral sex or
using a condom "as this can be interpreted as carnal knowledge against the order of
Homosexuality is illegal or taboo in many African countries and few gay people feel
able to be open about their sexuality.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe once described homosexuals as "lower than
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