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Uganda’s Anti Homosexuality Bill – and how you can help stop this legislation from being passed, national elections in Niger, violence in Guinea and the impact of rising sea levels on African cities are among the topics in this week’s round-up of the African blogosphere.

Uganda is once again at the forefront of promoting and upholding that which is most unAfrican – homophobia. The new proposed legislation will criminalise Ugandan LGBTI and all those who support them in anyway including housing, employment, education with prison sentences of between seven years and the death penalty. Black Looks explains what you can do to stop this horrendous legislation from being passed but you need to act quickly. Other posts on the Bill are from Black Looks (Uganda Homophobia Bill) and Gay Uganda.

Cape Town Lesbians have an excellent commentary ‘Fear and Loathing in Uganda’:

‘The Anti Homosexuality Bill ensures virtual complete authority of the Ugandan government over what people are, think, say, feel or do, where or why they do it, or who they do it with – or who knows about it and doesn't tell. It goes further to make people who do not act against gay people in a hostile fashion, criminals as well. It in effect makes being born gay, or not thinking the same way bigots do, a very, very dangerous fate indeed.

This obscene and outrageously inhuman law gives flesh to the bones of the meaning behind the saying: “People shouldn’t be afraid of their governments – governments should be afraid of their people.” Reading the wording of the proposed Bill, I cannot stress the irony behind this strongly enough.’

The East African Philosopher reminds us of Thomas Sankara on the 22nd anniversary of his assassination. I wonder what Sankara would have thought about the attack on human rights and civil liberties posed by the Ugandan Homophobia Bill? If his record on women’s rights are anything to go by then I think he would have been very supportive and positive. We need leaders with courage and with vision – Sankara had both:

‘He was the first African leader to emphatically promote women’s rights and declare HIV/AIDS a public health priority. He also stripped tribal chiefs the “right” to get forced-labour from their “subjects”, among other revolutionary policies during his military rule. He was the first and last African head of state to declare IMF/World Bank “aid loans” illegal and should not be paid by any poor country. They don’t make ‘em like that any more. Big up to all those who died for a cause!

‘If only Africa had leaders like him…’

Sahel’s Blog reports on the upcoming national elections in Niger as the conflict between President Mamadou Tandja and the opposition continues:

‘After months of political turmoil, on August 4th Tandja held and won a referendum to extend his term in office. Since then, conflict between the incumbent and the opposition has continued through protests, arrests, and a general climate of tension punctuated by opposition calls for outside intervention.

‘That intervention began this weekend at a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States in Abuja. ECOWAS “called…for elections planned for next week in Niger to be called off and imposed limited sanctions on Niamey”, and “barred Niamey from putting up candidates for posts in international organisations or hosting ECOWAS meetings.”
Regional outcry and domestic protest has not dissuaded Tandja from pursuing the elections as planned. With an opposition boycott in effect, the president’s allies appear poised to win a massive number of seats.’

Don Thieme of Life Cycle Analysis reports on the sinking of African cities as sea levels rise. At particular risk are Alexandria in Egypt, Cape Town, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria, both because they are below sea level but also due to the rising population in these cities. More on this here:

‘Following the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Wheeler (2007) penned a note about the sea level projections in which he correctly criticized their overly conservative use of glacial ice melting rates for Greenland and West Antarctica. As discussed in an earlier post on African Loft, a scenario in which these ice sheets continue melting at their present rates will in fact result in catastrophic submergence by the year 2099 along the coast of West Africa. Nigeria would be particularly affected because of the dense population in Lagos and other coastal cities.’

Just Africa reports on the ongoing violence in Guinea following the murder of at least 151 civilians and 1200 injured, including many women raped. Schools have been closed and it is feared that the threat of further violence is preventing many from seeking much needed hospital treatment. Still, a two-day strike last week called by the trade unions managed to bring the mining industry to a standstill.

Politically, the situation continues to be difficult to navigate. Celou Dalein Diallo is the leader of the main opposition party and is currently in France recovering from injuries sustained at the stadium protests. Sidya Toure, a former prime minister, is the head of another opposition party, the Union of Republic Forces. The URF rejected Camara’s call for unity at the beginning of the month. Camara continues to express that though he is uncertain of whether he will stand for re-election, that his natural rights as a Guinean citizen should not obstruct such a decision. Given the outbreak of violence on 28 September, Toure and Guinean civil society find this to be an unacceptable possibility.


* Sokari Ekine blogs at Black Looks
* Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at Pambazuka News.