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Uganda threatens to ban charities supporting LGBT rights

Ugandan ethics minister Simon Lokodo says homosexuality is ‘bestiality’ in African culture
Simon Lodoko: Has threatened Ugandan NGOs who support LGBT rights.

A Catholic ex-priest who is now Uganda’s ethics minister has pledged to shut down NGOs who ‘promote’ LGBT equality.

Father Simon Lokodo made his comments in an interview with Ugandan publication The Independent.

He has a long reputation of fighting homosexuality and in 2012 joined a police raid on an LGBT workshop where participants were rounded up and arrested. Amnesty International condemned his actions.

He blamed foreigners for the event, saying he does not support ‘bestiality and lesbianism’.

That language is again reflected his new comments.

He said: ‘For homosexuality, the Ugandan laws are very clear; marriage between people of the same sex cannot be allowed and therefore we condemn it. When they come and say it is a human right we say that it is bestiality in the African culture.’

He also tried to separate LGBT issues from international human rights conventions the East African country has signed up to.

Lodoko said: ‘Human rights are not absolute and you cannot impose your own way of seeing things into another culture.’

The interviewer asked him whether he would be better paying attention to child trafficking and sexual abuse rather than ‘controversial bills’. Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, dubbed the Kill the Gays Bill, has stirred up condemnation worldwide.

Referencing his 2012 gay raid, Lodoko said: ‘The bills are part of the bigger agenda. How do we implement our mandate if we do not put up laws?

‘For example we want to ban homosexuality and the way to do it is to come up with laws, sooner or later homosexuality will be unacceptable in this country, and whoever misbehaves will face the courts of laws, not me going to chase them with police.’

He goes on to condemn non-governmental organization saying they are ‘not transparent, honest, and lack integrity’ and live in luxury rather than spend the money on ordinary Ugandans.

Lodoko said: ‘I don’t admire a number of NGOs which come with an intention of promoting the social, economic development of this country but inject in wrong cultures from the west such as homosexuality and pornography.

‘There are some which are here to fight government. Instead of helping our children grow up with a culture of positively behaved persons, they are going to schools to tell these children that it is not bad to get a same-sex partner.’

He claims he will accept criticism of the government but indicated he will look to deregister some NGOs saying those with ‘an ill agenda are not welcome’.

He also said he was very confident an Anti-Pornography Bill would pass soon.

He said: ‘It is meant to condemn any indecent exposure of the human body. It is going to challenge anybody in the media whether broadcast or print and even online, who exposes images of a human being which demonstrate an inclination towards a sexual or erotic behavior.

‘They are going to be condemned by the courts of law and a minimum of supplying that, is going to be four years and the banning of a media house.’

But Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), the LGBT campaign organization, said Lodoko wouldn’t get away with closing NGOs down on grounds of supporting homosexuality.

He told GSN: ‘He would not have any evidence that what they are doing is against the law. Our constitution is very, very clear on the rights of freedom of expression and assembly.

‘But given his stand and what he has been doing, he is very irrational right now and he could try to do it.

‘If he dares to do that, we will go after him in the courts of law.’

Lodoko is the current State Minister for Ethics and Integrity in the Office of the President in the Ugandan Cabinet.

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