Petition Urges Obama: Disinvite Uganda's Antigay President
BY Thom Senzee
July 23 2014 2:20 PM ET
Human rights activists are hoping to convice President Barack Obama to rescind an invitation extended to Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni to participate in the upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., citing alleged corruption, war crimes, and the draconian antigay law Museveni signed into law in February.
Self-described LGBT ally and human rights activist Milton Allimadi launched a Change.org petition intended to persuade Obama to "Dis-invite Gen. Museveni, Uganda's Homophobic Tyrant" from the upcoming summit, slated to take place in the nation's capitol August 4 through 6, according to the site Allimadi publishes, Black Star News.
Allimadi, who was born in Uganda but who now lives in New York City, notes that Museveni proudly led a five-hour parade celebrating the antigay law's passage earlier this year, with thousands of attendees chanting antigay slurs.
"The idea of a summit that gives global visibility and highlights business and development opportunities in Africa is long overdue," writes Allimadi. "However the gathering … risks being overshadowed by the presence of two of Africa's most notorious dictators, Rwanda's Gen. Paul Kagame and Uganda's Gen. Museveni."
Allimadi's petition offers a list of other African nations he says should be invited to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit instead of Uganda and Rwanda, because those other nations are democratic or are "democratizing." His list includes South Africa, the only African nation that embraces marriage equality, but it also includes Nigeria, which recently enacted a law imposing lengthy jail terms for anyone taking part in a same-sex marriage.
Museveni's antigay law is said to be responsible for waves of violence, evictions, and unjust arrests against LGBT Ugandans. It has also caused a flood of hundreds of LGBT refugees out of Uganda and into neighboring countries including Kenya and Rwanda.
Allimadi previously launched a Change.org petition calling on the United Nations General Assembly and the African Union to find another candidate to fill the year-long position of president of that body — other than Museveni's foreign minister, Sam Kutesa. Kutesa is also a noted homophobe. Although Allimadi's petition gathered more than 15,000 signatures, Kutesa was elected to serve as the U.N. General Assembly's president last month. He is expected to take office in September.
According to Allimadi, Museveni is "ten times the homophobe" that Kutesa is.