Articles written for IBTimesUK
Yoweri Museveni’s Homophobic Bill: What’s Behind Ugandan Homophobia?
Uganda has undoubtedly attracted lots of international attention lately all thanks to President Yoweri Museveni’s crackdown on homosexuals.
Behind the signing of Uganda’s controversial anti-gay bill lurks political subterfuge and vanity.
Museveni originally rejected the controversial bill, which sees life imprisonment for homosexual offences, saying that there were other ways to “cure” homosexuals, and life imprisonment was not the right one.
But about a month later Museveni had consulted a team of “experts” who declared homosexuality “not genetic” but a “social behaviour”. Satisfied with proof that sexual orientation was dependent on moral choices made by individuals, Museveni signed the bill amid local applause and international outrage.
After 28 years of uninterrupted power, Museveni knows he is ripe for replacement by another political leader at the next election.
It seems likely Museveni has come under pressure from a range of political imperatives, and has buckled in order to preserve his power. Definitely among them would be influential parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga, a staunch supporter of the country’s anti-gay bill. In return for signing the bill Kadaga could well have pledged her support to the president in the run-up to the next elections.
According to independent journalist and reporter Fulvio Beltrami, who writes for Italian newspapers Indro and Reteluna.it, important oil reserves were found in the northern area of Uganda in 2004.
The drilling operations are assigned to three companies: British Tullow, French Total and Chinese Cnooc.
Once extracted, the oil will be refined in Uganda and then sold in local and regional markets, with a small percentage destined to the European and Chinese markets, Beltrami said.
US president Barack Obama said that if Uganda passed its homophobic bill this would complicate relations with the US.
Museveni, probably allured by the opportunity to hold on to power at whatever cost, has ignored the US. But he can afford to these days thanks to Africa’s newest and biggest investor: China.
Museveni’s rapid change of heart might have something to do with plans to start oil production in Uganda in 2016/2017. This will have raised political stakes in the country enormously, while also granting Uganda a degree of impunity on the global stage.
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Why is America Obsessed with Ugandan Warlord Joseph Kony?
The US has recently re-launched a campaign to capture Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, as Obama vowed to send 150 additional Special Operations troops and four military aircrafts to Uganda, to help capture the warlord.
After a video about Koni’s almost 30-year-long regime of terror, under which girls were sexually enslaved, while child soldiers were forced to join rebel group Lord Resistance Army, was released by Invisible Children in 2012, Kony’s activities attracted Obama’s administration’s attention.
Two years later, media have been flooded again with a renewed anti-Kony campaign, which, however, might be put down to economic reasons, rather than the necessity to stop crimes against humanity.
According to independent journalist and reporter Fulvio Beltrami, who writes for Italian newspapers Indro and Reteluna.it, since Kony escaped North Uganda in 2005, he no longer poses a threat to the country.
“On many occasions, Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and American marines have spotted and attacked LRA campuses where Kony lived; however, the attacks were always preceded by news leaks that allowed Kony to escape,” Beltrami told IBTimesUK.
“The aim was to keep the ‘Kony myth’ alive, to justify UPDF and US Army’s presence in key zones such as: South Sudan, North Kivu, Congo and the western area of Central African Republic (CAR). Surprisingly enough, all zones rich in mineral and oil,” he continued.
According to Beltrami, Kony has been trying to end a guerrilla war which no longer benefits him, in exchange for a blanket pardon for war crimes.
“Peace negotiations, however, were sabotaged by the Ugandan government, as the end of LRA means the end of Washington- Kampala military activities in the region,” Beltrani explained.
The last attempt at capturing Kony was made in October 2011, when Ugandan soldiers, joined by CAR and US forces, found Kony having a bath in a river.
Instead of capturing him, the Ugandan soldiers received the order to withdraw, allowing Kony to escape.
“Uganda authorities, after diplomatic clichés, did not do anything to get in touch with Kony,” Beltrami said. “Yoweri Museveni [Uganda's current president] has managed to build the most powerful army in the region, thanks to the ‘Kony myth’”.