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H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

President of the Republic of Uganda

Responding to H.E. Obamas statement on Homosexuality

18th February 2014

I have seen the statement H.E President Obama of the USA

made in reaction to my statement that I was going to sign

the anti-homosexual Bill, which I made at Kyankwanzi.

Before I react to H.E. Obamas statement, let me, again, put

on record my views on the issue of homo-sexuals

(ebitiingwa, bisiyaga in some of our dialects). Right from

the beginning of this debate, my views were as follows:

1. I agreed with the MPs and almost all Ugandans that

promotion of homosexuality in Uganda must be

criminalized or rather should continue to be

criminalized because the British had already done

2. those who agreed to become homosexuals for

mercenary reasons (prostitutes) should be harshly

punished as should those who paid them to be

homosexual prostitutes; and

3. exhibitionism of homosexual behavior must be

punished because, in this part of the World, it is

forbidden to publicly exhibit any sexual conduct

(kissing, etc) even for heterosexuals; if I kissed my wife

of 41 years in public, I would lose elections in Uganda.

The only point I disagreed on with some of the Members of

Parliament (MPs) and other Ugandans was on the persons I

thought were born homosexual. According to the casual

observations, there are rare deviations in nature from the

normal. You witness cases like albinos (nyamagoye),

barren women or men (enguumba), epa (breastless women)

etc. I, therefore, thought that similarly there were people

that were born with the disorientation of being attracted to

the same sex. That is why I thought that that it was wrong

to punish somebody on account of being born abnormal.

That is why I refused to sign the Bill and, instead, referred

it to our Party (the NRM) to debate it again.

In the meantime, I sought for scientific opinions on this

matter. I am grateful to Ms. Kerry Kennedy of the USA who

sent me opinions by scientists from the USA saying that

there could be some indications that homosexuality could

be congenital. In our conference, I put these opinions to

our scientists from the Department of Genetics, the School

of Medicine and the Ministry of Health. Their unanimous

conclusion was that homosexuality, contrary to my earlier

thinking, was behavioural and not genetic. It was learnt

and could be unlearnt. I told them to put their signatures

to that conclusion which they did. That is why I declared

my intention to sign the Bill, which I will do. I have now

received their signed document, which says there is no

single gene that has been traced to cause homosexuality.

What I want them to clarify is whether a combination of

genes can cause anybody to be homosexual. Then my task

will be finished and I will sign the Bill.

After my statement to that effect which was quoted widely

around the World, I got reactions from some friends from

outside Africa. Statements like: it is a matter of choice or

whom they love which President Obama repeated in his

statement would be most furiously rejected by almost the

entirety of our people. It cannot be a matter of choice for a

man to behave like a woman or vice-versa. The argument I

had pushed was that there could be people who are born

like that or who they are, according to President Obamas

statement. I, therefore, encourage the US government to

help us by working with our Scientists to study whether,

indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When

that is proved, we can review this legislation. I would be

among those who will spearhead that effort. That is why I

had refused to sign the Bill until my premise was knocked

down by the position of our Scientists.

I would like to discourage the USA government from taking

the line that passing this law will complicate our valued

relationship with the USA as President Obama said.

Countries and Societies should relate with each other on

the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision

making. Valued relationship cannot be sustainably

maintained by one Society being subservient to another

society. There are a myriad acts the societies in the West

do that we frown on or even detest. We, however, never

comment on those acts or make them preconditions for

working with the West. Africans do not seek to impose

their views on anybody. We do not want anybody to impose

their views on us. This very debate was provoked by

Western groups who come to our schools and try to recruit

children into homosexuality. It is better to limit the

damage rather than exacerbate it.

I thank everybody.

Yoweri K. Museveni Gen. (Rtd)


18th February 2014.