Uganda: Officials ‘confident’ anti-gay minister will still become UN parliament head

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Ugandan officials say they are “confident” that anti-gay politician Samuel Kutesa will become head of the UN General Assembly, as there has been no “formal protest” from Western leaders.

Kutesa serves as Ugandan Foreign Minister under President Museveni, who recently introduced a strict anti-gay law in the country, with heavy punishments for offenders.

The politician – who previously claimed that the majority of Africans “abhor” homosexuality – is set to become President of the General Assembly this month, having been selected by the African Union in a traditionally unchallenged appointment.

Rights campaigner Peter Tatchell had urged Western leaders to speak out against the appointment, but according to Ugandan officials, no official protests have been received.

Regional Affairs Minister Asuman Kiyingi told The EastAfrican: “We have not received any formal protest from member countries.

“The minister has held meetings with officials in Washington DC, the UK, Canada and China and none has indicated otherwise.

“We are confident that Uganda will take the presidency.”

Kutesa is set to assume the presidency on Wednesday, when the General Assembly begins its new session.

According to The EastAfrican, officials claim Kutesa’s appointment has the support of US Secretary of State John Kerry and UK Foreign Minister William Hague.

Kutesa dismissed accusations of corruption last week, adding that the claims have “no basis”.