With time running out on the current Parliament’s term, Uganda’s Parliament Speaker Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi says it’s unlikely that the “Kill the Gays” bill will come up for consideration. This despite being lobbied by a group led by anti-gay activist Rev. Martin Ssempa, who is lobbying for passage of the bill by paying phony “ex-gay” witnesses to testify.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Ssempa, reading from the petition, began the meeting by saying he was “distressed” that the bill was being “deliberately killed” by “undemocratic threats” from Western nations, and called the political bullying “homocracy.”
A bag was passed around with “Debate Our Bill Now!” and “No to Sodomy,” pins, before it came to rest in front of one of the so-called former homosexuals.
“These young people,” Mr. Ssempa said, pointing toward the two young men, sitting stiffly across from him in front of the speaker, “will share their experiences having been recruited into homosexuality and coming out. And that is why we are here.”
It turns out, though, that one of those who testified, George Oundo, is not really an “ex-gay,” but had been paid by Ssempa to say that he had “changed.” He took the money, he said, to “protect” himself from Ssempa and other anti-gay activists.
Mr. Oundo, 26, a transgender person who used to go by the name Georgina, went next.
“I used to call myself the Queen Mother and Lady of the City,” Mr. Oundo said. “I was recruited into homosexuality many years back, when I was 12.”
“When I joined Mr. Ssempa, I told him all my problems,” he said. “I had to come out and join the struggle.
“Please help us; let the bill pass,” he said.
But an hour later, in a quiet hotel, Mr. Oundo recanted much of what had been said at the meeting.
“David Kato was murdered; it was a plot,” Mr. Oundo said. “I don’t support the bill.”
As for being a “former homosexual,” that, too, was not true.
“I’ve always been gay,” Mr. Oundo said, in a timid but growing voice. “I didn’t choose it.”
Kato, a gay activist, was murdered in January after a newspaper printed his photo and others with the direction to “Hang Them!” Human rights activists point to Ssempa, who has compared homosexuality to witchcraft and engaged in condom-burnings, as well as American evangelicals like Scott Lively, for whipping up the anti-gay fury in the country.