Ugandan president calls LGBT+ people are ‘deviants’ while falsely claiming ‘they are not persecuted’

Yoweri Museveni Uganda president LGBT rights

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has said gay people are “deviants” and the movement for LGBT+ rights is a form of “social imperialism”.

Museveni, who has been president of Uganda since 1986, made his comments in an interview with CNN‘s Christine Amanpour, who asked him why political leaders and wider society is so afraid of LGBT+ people.

When Amanpour asked Museveni why “anti-gay opposition and harassment” is so widespread and accepted in Uganda, he insisted that queer people are deviants and said the people in his country do not accept them.

“Now, we have a problem of social imperialism from some parts of the world towards Africa,” Museveni said.

“Homosexuals are not new to Africa. They have been here. We know them. But we have got a different view of them. We think they are deviants. They are people who are deviated from the normal.

“They are not killed, they are not harangued, they are not persecuted, but we don’t promote them… We don’t promote and flaunt homosexuality as if it is an alternative way of life.”

He continued: “We don’t agree with your, the western way, of promoting homosexuality as if it’s an alternative way of life.”

Yoweri Museveni says LGBT+ people are a ‘departure from normal’.

Amanpour went on to tell Museveni that LGBT+ people in Uganda are being “targeted”, and said misinformation and lies about queer people in the country had created a “mob” who “don’t know where the truth is”.

The CNN anchor continued: “I know that in parts of Africa homosexuals are promoted by the church, by others, as deviants, as you’re saying, as paedophiles – and it’s just not true.”

She went on to ask Museveni how he can justify his anti-LGBT+ views as a Christian, and questioned whether such views were “charitable”.

Museveni replied: “No, the prevalent opinion among our population now is that homosexuals are a departure from normal. If our opinion changes in the future, let it change organically, but not impose it on us by other people.”

While Museveni claims that LGBT+ rights is a western import, the opposite is actually the case. Evidence suggests that Uganda, like many other African countries, was somewhat accepting of same-sex relations and of people who explored their gender identity – but all of that changed when Britain colonised the country and imposed anti-homosexuality laws.

Museveni has frequently courted anti-LGBT+ sentiment throughout his decades-long presidency. In 2014, he signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which introduced a 14-year prison sentence for those who were convicted more than once of having gay sex.

In recent months queer Ugandans have been targeted with dubious coronavirus charges, with officials using laws designed to curb the virus to raid a LGBT+ homeless shelter.

Museveni’s interview with CNN comes ahead of the Ugandan presidential election on 14 January, which will see him face off against 10 other candidates – however, other countries have raised concerns about the accountability and transparency of the election, which has been marred by violence and intimidation of opposition candidates, according to Reuters.