Sunday, 13 February 2011

Why Ugandan arch-homophobe's threats to 'BN' are very real

Scott Mills with Gay Activist Frank Mugisha
By Paul Canning

Warren Throckmorton reports on the threats made to the Radio One DJ Scott Mills by Ugandan MP David Bahati. Mills was in Uganda filming a documentary for BBC Three ‘The World’s Worst Place to be Gay?’ (which I have advised on) and interviewed Bahati. article reports that:
When the presenter said he was gay, Bahati became enraged and the film crew fled.

Later, they heard that Bahati had sent armed police to a hotel he thought they were staying at.
Throckmorton asked Bahati about his threats to Mills and gets a non-answer but reports that in this interview, Bahati says he would not have done the interview for the documentary if he knew Mills was gay.

Throckmorton says that:
On one other occasion, MP Bahati scared a gay BBC journalist who was filming a documentary. While I cannot reveal the identity of the journalist, I have independent confirmation of the fact that Bahati considered police intervention when a reporter revealed his sexual orientation.
Melanie Nathan, Editor at LezGetReal, and who reported on the threat by Bahati to 'BN', has written about the now numerous occasions on which Bahati has rung her. She describes him as a man of "truly sinister intentions."

Recounting their latest conversation, Nathan writes:
Nathan: Mr, Bahati – I will be very happy to come to Uganda, but I do not believe I am welcome or that I will be safe because I am a lesbian and you know that; Can I bring my wife?

Bahati: You will be very well rested ( me:Arrested??) here…  we can reform you here.
She adds:
During our conversation yesterday, my initial impression of David Bahati’s offer to come to Uganda, was, that it was probably rhetorical, and his threat to arrest me and “convert” me was offered as a dark jest.

But, after reviewing the context my past contacts with him and tone in which he said those things to me yesterday, I am now sure that he has become completely obsessed over the gay press coverage reporting on the situation in Uganda and Bahati was serious in both his offer to go to Uganda and his threat to arrest and “convert” me.

Is it David Bahati’s intention to lure me to his country and force me, by whatever mean necessarily, to give his world view of homosexuality? Lacking that, I believe he thought he could coerce me into favorable reports. He tried long enough, over the phone- to no avail.

Shortly after my discussion I received a message from a friend who had been kidnapped and horribly tortured - over night, in Uganda - intimidated into withdrawing his campaigning for the opposition Party in the upcoming election. My friend is in great pain and terror. Even though this has nothing to do with being gay, per se, I have now been exposed to the lie first hand – that there will never be a fair and free election and that Uganda’s beauty is duly masked by Museveni, Bahati, government backed tabloids, and the gay scape-goating employed to divert attention from the real Ugandan truth- there is no democracy in Uganda!

I am likewise now sure, with no shade of doubt in my mind, that David Bahati is a very dangerous man, empowered with drafting legislation that could obstruct Uganda’s progress as a global player and also a clear motivator for more murder and mayhem in Africa.

On Friday I submitted a statement to the judicial review of the claim for British asylum of the Ugandan lesbian 'BN'.

I repeated the report on the threat to Mills and asked the rhetorical question: "One MP has the power to get armed police to harass a BBC representative?"

I went on to explain why Bahati is so powerful and therefore why the threats he has made to 'BN' are very real.
Bahati is a member of the ruling party and has 'become increasingly influential in Uganda', NPR reported in August.

He is connected to a group including influential pastors like Martin Ssempa (Sempa has "consecrated" Bahati to "rid Uganda of homosexuals"). This group have been backed (and funded) by American religious right groups including 'The Family'. This group includes US Congresspeople amongst its membership. Bahati is The Family's representative in Uganda.

Bahati's populist anti-homosexuality drive has resulted in the Anti-Homosexuality bill which will criminalise any activism, including by heterosexuals, for gay rights and force anyone to report gay people to the authorities. This bill will be reintroduced to parliament following next week's election and could become law as early as May.

Ssempa has ties to the 'outing' newspaper Rolling Stone and others which have used the press to promote a 'hanging campaign' against gay people in Uganda.

Ssempa, Bahati and others all repeat the same lines - that children are being 'recruited', that homosexuality can be 'unlearned'.

Author Jeff Sharlet reported in a September 2010 Harper's Magazine magazine piece, 'Straight Man's Burden' that Bahati told him his aim is "to kill every last gay person."

This is why Bahati's specific threat to ['BN'] is so chilling, his aims could not be clearer. This man believes she is a lesbian, believes that ['B] has damaged Uganda's reputation and he has the power to carry out his threats to her.

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