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Ugandan president distances himself from anti-gay bill

The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has distanced himself from a controversial bill in the Parliament that would make certain acts of homosexuality punishable by death.

Yoweri Museveni

Until President Museveni publicly spoke out, this proposal was widely supported by the ruling majority party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), and, as a result, was expected to easily pass with a significant number of votes in its favor.

In a nation where homosexuality is already a criminal offense punishable by up to fourteen years in jail, this bill would raise that penalty to life in prison.

It would also dole out the death penalty for any offense categorized as “aggravated homosexuality”—meaning a case in which one of the participants is either a minor, HIV-positive, or a “serial offender.” Read More…

Uganda’s anti-gay bill

On October 14, Uganda introduced legislation that would outlaw and ban homosexuality in the nation. If politicians pass legislation, homosexuals would be forced to leave the country, or be imprisoned for life. Some human rights groups say the law would also allow authorities to kill homosexuals.

“This inflammatory bill will be taken as further confirmation that it is OK to attack or even kill people perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” said spokesman for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Victor Mukasa on October 15. The organization is calling on Uganda’s government to “immediately withdraw this dangerous proposal.” Read More…

Rwandan genocide suspect arrested

Ugandan authorities have extradited one of the most wanted suspects from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The suspect was captured Monday in Kampala following a tip-off.

Idelphose Nizeyimana

Idelphose Nizeyimana

The fugitive, Idelphose Nizeyimana, was flown on a chartered plane early Tuesday to Arusha, Tanzania, where the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), has its headquarters.

ICTR spokesman Roland Amoussouga said that the Ugandan police, working with Interpol, arrested Nizeyimana after he crossed into Uganda from the Democratic Republic of the Congo using fake documents.

“This is a very important development and the tribunal wishes to commend the Uganda, Interpol and the Ugandan government for this outstanding cooperation that they have displayed,” he said. Read More…

East Africa gets high-speed internet

Yesterday the 15,000 km (9,300 mi) subsea fiber-optic cable began operations, providing the East African countries of Djibouti, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique, with high speed internet connections to Europe and Asia.

Seacom Cable Map

Seacom Cable Map

The cable was officially switched on in simultaneous events held across the region, including in Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.

The launch was described by the Chief Executive of SEA Cable Systems as being “a historic day for Africa… [that]… marks the dawn of a new era for communications between the continent and the rest of the world”.

Upon being switched on, the owners of the cable stated that it would reduce internet costs by up to 95% to wholesale customers, whilst providing a far greater speed of internet connection. Read More…

UN requests US$700 million in aid for East Africa

The United Nations has called for wealthy donor nations to donate US$700 million (£382 million or 484 million) in emergency aid for Eastern Africa to prevent widespread famine. Since the start of 2008 the number of people living in hunger has almost doubled to seventeen million in the area, the UN claims.

According to UN emergency releif co-ordinator John Holmes, food levels are dangerously low in much of Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Northern Kenya and Uganda. The area, known as the ‘Horn of Africa‘, has seen drought, war and high food prices all worsen the situation. Holmes has warned that the levels of those in need could rise still further.

A total of $1.4 billion is to be raised for the period from now to the year’s end, but at least $716 million of that remains to be found. “We may need significant funds after that period – this is not the end of the story,” warned Holmes. Read More…

Uganda tourist killed by the Marburg virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) has told people to stay away from Ugandan caves with bats, due to the fact that a tourist visiting Uganda was recently killed by the fatal Marburg virus. Health authorities in the Netherlands said that the forty-year-old tourist contracted the disease from fruit bats in a cave.

CDCA spokesperson for WHO said that “it is an isolated case of imported Marburg.” He continued, “people should not think about amending their travel plans to Uganda but should not go into caves with bats.”

The Health Ministry of Uganda advised people who have to enter caves in Uganda that they should exercise “maximum precaution not to get into close contact with the bats and non-human primates in the nearby forests”.

Marburg virus causes Marburg hemorrhagic fever, which is related to Ebola. It is believed that humans first caught the virus from Egyptian fruit bats.

The first Ugandan case of the virus occurred approximately a year ago; it involved a 29-year-old man who became symptomatic on July 4 and died on July 14. A co-worker of the man had previously suffered from a similar disease, although he survived.