Editorials 26.2.2014 11:49 am

SA’s silence on Uganda worrying

The silence of our government on a backward step taken by another African country is of concern.

On Monday Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a new law that could send gays and lesbians to jail for life. The US and Britain correctly slammed the Bill.

Even Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has added his voice to the condemnation, likening the law to Nazi attempts to “legislate against love”.

The Bill prohibits homosexuality not only in Uganda but also for Ugandans living abroad and includes penalties for individuals, corporations, media organisations and non-governmental organisations that know of gay people or support their rights.

Failure by Pretoria to condemn this state-sponsored homophobia legitimises this blatant violation of human rights.

This is hardly a surprise, considering our government appointed Jon Qwelane as our ambassador to Uganda despite his anti-gay and lesbian beliefs. South Africa is the only African state where discrimination based on sexual orientation is outlawed.

However, our government’s failure to repudiate the madness in  Uganda sends the wrong signal that acts of extreme intolerance are acceptable.

 

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