[Source: metro.us]

Secretary of State Antony Blinken publicly denounced a new anti-gay bill by Uganda’s parliament, which is being called a “kill the gays bill” for its capital punishment penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” involving people infected with HIV or who try to have sex with a minor or disabled person against their will.

Passed by a 389-2 vote, the bill calls for life imprisonment for anyone engaging in gay sex; a seven-year prison term for even trying to have same-sex relations and a $1 billion Ugandan shilling fine ($264,000) for anyone convicted of promoting homosexuality.

Anti-gay sentiment in Uganda—where homosexuality is already illegal—has grown in recent weeks amid alleged reports of sodomy in boarding schools, including a prestigious one for boys where a parent accused a teacher of abusing her son.

[Source: news.yahoo.com]

The “kill the gays bill” is now in the hands of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, an outspoken driver of anti-gay measures who signed a modified version of the bill in 2014 that was overturned by Ugandan courts. Museveni recently called gays “deviants,” and suggested that he supports the new legislation, accusing unnamed Western nations of “trying to impose their practices on other people.”

Antony Blinken tweeted on March 22 that the anti-gay bill “could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We urge the Ugandan Government to strongly reconsider the implementation of this legislation.”

Antony Blinken [Source: curierulnational.ro]

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre further warned about the freezing of foreign aid and imposition of sanctions if the bill is signed by Museveni.

But will the Biden administration follow through with these threats? Or offer merely some token punishment to Uganda for public relations purposes while sustaining much of the more than $950 million in aid that the U.S. provides Uganda each year?

The latter is most likely because Museveni—who has ruled Uganda since 1986 with an iron fist—is a long-standing U.S. client.

He has kept Uganda open to U.S. corporations by advancing neo-liberal policies and allowed for a U.S. military base in Entebbe which has been used to carry out military and clandestine operations across Africa.

U.S. soldiers with Ugandan military personnel at an air base in Entebbe, Uganda, on December 6, 2012. [Source: worldview.stratfor.com]

In 1991, Museveni gave the green light for the U.S.-UK-backed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)—led by mass murderer Paul Kagame—to invade Rwanda as part of a plot to unseat the pro-French Hutu-led government.

Six years later, after Rwanda had been turned into a death chamber, Museveni helped open the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the U.S. and Western corporations by invading it with Rwanda’s new RPF-led government (Museveni invaded DRC again in 2001).

Museveni, left, Kagame, right: The butchers of Congo toast each other. [Source: salem-news.com]

Of further value was Museveni’s invasion of oil-rich South Sudan in support of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which for years fought the Chinese-backed northern-based government of Omar al-Bashir and paved the way for South Sudan’s secession.

Ugandan troops in South Sudan. [Source: dailymail.co.uk]

Museveni additionally sent troops into Somalia in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives there.

Ugandan troops in Somalia [Source: middleeastmonitor.com]

Between 1998 and 2013, Museveni’s regime received $20.5 billion in U.S. aid. 

Museveni greets George W. Bush at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City in September 2008. [Source: georgebush-whitehouse.archives.gov]

Journalist Helen Epstein wrote that, since meeting with then U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1987, Museveni “has had far more contact with high-level American and British officials than any other living African leader.”

A couple of men playing a video game

Description automatically generated with low confidence
Museveni shakes hands with “The Gipper.” [Source: commons.wikimedia.org]

In 2014, President Obama criticized Museveni when he first initiated the anti-gay bill, saying it would “complicate U.S.-Ugandan relations,” but U.S. foreign aid continued to flow generously and was expanded as Obama pursued a military campaign against Joseph Kony who had taken up arms against the Museveni government.[1]

With friends like these: Barack Obama (left), Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Michelle Obama. [Source: metroweekly.com]

In 2018/2019, direct foreign investment in Uganda totaled $1.75 billion, driven by Museveni’s neo-liberal policies.

Major U.S. firms operating in Uganda include: Citibank; Prudential; AIG; Caterpillar; John Deere; NCR; Sheraton; Marriott; FedEx, Ernst & Young, Deloitte; Price Waterhouse Coopers; General Motors; Coca-Cola; Pepsi-Cola; and American Tower Corporation.

In 2018, a U.S.-led group of companies including General Electric won the right to finance, build and operate a planned $3.5 billion oil refinery. Uganda is thought to have some of the largest oil reserves in Africa.

Because of all this, and the fear that Museveni could edge closer to China, the Biden administration is unlikely to do very much to censure Museveni for his anti-gay stance—or the many other crimes that his regime has carried out.

  1. See Jeremy Kuzmarov, Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2019).

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  1. I don’t support “kill the…” anyone. The US should start (long overdue) seriously concerning itself with all the violence (of all kinds) within its own borders. It never fails…the US always sticking its nose were it don’t belong/fit.

  2. Cutting Off Aid to Museveni Government is impossible for the only beneficiaries of the Aid are Americans. No matter what the Aid is oficially for, the reality is: the money NEVER leaves America, except for the commissions or bribes paid to Museveni and his henchman for acquiring US made tranks, landmines, grenades, machine guns, etc.,

  3. Of course the USA won’t cut aid. Museveni and Kagame are pets of the West, and have managed to get away with mass murder for twenty years or more, while the West made a big fuss of the “genocide of Tutsis” in 1994 while the Tutsis remain in power ever since. No way will there be punishment for this one issue. Uganda and Congo ten million dead. The West does not care.

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