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Uganda: Homophobia and History

Thu 16 Jul 2009 In: Comment View at NDHA

Why does Uganda persecute its lesbian and gay citizens when it has so many other woes? Here's a brief look at Uganda's history… According to BBC History's David Keys, there are two primary linguistic and cultural communities in Uganda. The Kingdom of Buganda dominated the fertile south, while Northern Uganda was more tribalised and less hierarchical- as well as disrupted by ivory poachers and slave traders. In 1894, the whole of present day Uganda was annexed as a British protectorate, until 1962 and independence. For the first five years, it was a constitutional monarchy, until northern Ugandan Peoples Congress President Milton Obote overthrew the Bugandan king in 1967, and ruled alone. In 1971, he too was overthrown, and replaced by Idi Amin, who massacred an estimated 100, 000 Ugandans and expelled Uganda's Indian entrepreneurial class, crashing its economy. In 1979, he was overthrown in his turn, leaving Milton Obote theoretically back in control, until he was temporarily replaced by Tito Okello in 1985. During all this time, though, Uganda was in a state of endemic civil war, until southerner Yoweri Museveni seized control of the country in 1985. Tragically, that didn't end Uganda's endemic state of civil war, as northern Akholi tribal communities regrouped around a syncretist Pentecostal Christian/spiritualist movement, which evolved into the 'Lords Resistance Army'. The LRA is infamous for its use of child soldiers and prostitutes. The Museveni regime is far from innocent either, and has imprisoned many northerners in detention camps, where tens of thousands have died from disease. Worse still, the LRA insurgency has now spread to neighbouring Congo, the Central African Republic and Sudan, with no end in sight. It must be concluded that Uganda's homophobia is being used to cloak its other, equally grave human rights violations and dark past and present from the casual observer. One wonders why African-American fundamentalist Christians are so determined to support this sorry state of affairs... Recommended: David Keys: 'Uganda in agony' BBC History: May 2009: 10: 5: 16-17 Craig Young - 16th July 2009    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Thursday, 16th July 2009 - 10:44am

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