LGBTQIA+ organisations are condemning Uganda’s recently approved law for violating their rights. They believe that this demonstrates that they still have a long way to go because they, too, in South Africa, are still struggling for acceptance, which appears to be difficult in the community, and that this would set them back.
This comes after Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, drafted an anti-homosexuality law passed by the parliament last month, which forbids homosexuality in the country and imprison individuals caught engaging in homosexuality.
Uganda first made this law public in 2014, however this year it underwent another change and was given harsher regulations.
Qhama Nyamza, the founder of the QN Foundation and a native of Mdantsane who also works as a broadcaster and an advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights, says that the situation in Uganda is unfavourable since it fosters division and infringes on the rights of people who identify as LGBTQIA+.
He says it upsets him to know that people like him are discriminated against and killed in Uganda. He says that he is concerned that this may spread to South Africa, which is why he made the decision to come forward and share his opinions with the world.
“We are not free in Africa when people are discriminated against based on the sexuality with which they identify. As LGBTQIA+ people, we struggle to survive. Some people experience abuse, expulsion from their homes, and social rejection from their relatives.
“We are insulted in church congregations. We need to be allowed to live, to have a life like everyone else, and not to fight with anyone, I am interested in educating the general public and the church congregations as we sit down and have a discussion. We can all co-exist, and we do not bother anyone.
“We are all God’s children, if our actions do not please him, he will judge us along with everyone else. Let us not be treated as thieves or murderers in society. We ought to all enjoy life as it has been given to us by the Creator because we are all humans with feelings, dreams, and aspirations for growth,” Nyamza stated.
According to a journalist in the Eastern Cape who did not want to be identified and who is also a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, the Ugandan government is being severe.
“The way LGBTQI+ people are treated to the point that a bill is introduced that criminalizes their way of life as if they are not people. This legislation is strict, and the way he implemented it was totally unacceptable. It is clear that homosexuality is criminalised because people are killed or imprisoned for nothing,” he stated.
Nombulelo Damba-Hendrick, the director of Lihlume Media Company, which made a film that documents the taunting of homosexuals, argues that the public should try to understand the LGBTQIA+ before criticising them. This includes asking why they were created in the manner that they were or why they feel the way they do.
“The situation in Uganda is awful. It is not for us to judge those who identify as homosexual; thus, the government needs to get its act together. Because simply locking up or killing LGBTQI+ people will not make their sexuality disappear, they will make their lives difficult for them. They are people who were born that way, and it is their right to live their own life, therefore they want to be accepted and respected,” Damba-Hendrick stated.
Julius Malema, the leader of the EFF, harshly criticized this law when the party staged a recent protest in front of the Uganda High Commission in Pretoria following the introduction of this law. Malema says that gay rights are human rights as well. Malema pleaded with Museveni not to sign this, warning that doing so will result in deaths and give the impression that Museveni is supporting murderers and rapists.