Don’t be gay in Uganda, Namibians warned

Chris Obore

Homosexual Namibians will be arrested and prosecuted under the recently established anti-gay law if they come to Uganda to “promote homosexuality”, the country’s parliamentary spokesperson, Chris Obore, says.

Obore spoke to Desert Radio after president Yoweri Museveni passed the draconian law which calls for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, which pertains to same-sex relations between HIV-positive people, children or other vulnerable people.

“In Uganda we welcome visitors who do not come and violate our laws. If you are in Namibia, don’t come and stay in Uganda, because the law will get you arrested.

“If you are coming to Uganda to enjoy the beauty of the Pearl of Africa, you are welcome.

“We welcome all people to Uganda, but you must know the laws of Uganda,” he said.

“So, the law here is do not promote, and do not engage in homosexuality . . . Everything is permissible here, except breaking the law,” Obore said.

He said the provision of the death penalty in the law is meant to “scare away” people against “practising homosexuality”, as well as raping children.

Obore, however, said members of the LGBTQI+ will not be discriminated against when it comes to accessing public services.

Although there have been reports that donor aid may be withdrawn on account of the controversial law, Obore said his country remains unfazed.

“ . . . the law reflects the voice of the majority of Ugandans.”

He said only two members of parliament did not approve of the law.

Uganda’s move to criminalise homosexuality also comes in the wake of Namibia’s Supreme Court recognising same-sex marriages concluded outside the country.

But the ruling has divided opinion and set arms of state in conflict with each other.

Eight northern traditional authorities have spoken out against the ruling, while an anti-gay marriage demonstration by church members is expected today.
So far, ombudsman Basilius Dyakugha’s office is the first state institution which has openly come out in defence of same-sex marriage.
“We are just there to follow the laws and we are going to give protection to those individuals who have been granted the rights by the Supreme Court.
“If the home affairs ministry is going to have issues and does not recognise the ruling, these individuals are welcome to approach us, and we will go and defend them at home affairs based on the Supreme Court ruling,” he told a local daily this week.


Former ombudsman John Walters, however, says Uganda’s position should be respected as it is a sovereign nation.

“I don’t think the anti-gay law is in line with international law, but unfortunately I have to respect the laws of Uganda – whether I agree with them or not.

“… I do not think that law will stand the test of time,” he says.

Walters says Namibians should respect the Supreme Court ruling.

“I commend the ombudsman on his stance and his office …

“So, I think we should support him with whatever encouragement we can give him to defend the rights of the LGBTQI+ community,” he says.

In the meantime, condemnation of Uganda has come from the United Nations’ Human Rights Office in that country, which has said: “We are appalled that the draconian and discriminatory anti-gay bill is now law.”

The UN described the law as “a recipe for systematic violations of the rights of LGBTQI+ people” and said “it conflicts with the constitution and international treaties and requires urgent judicial review”.

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