The Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, Right Honorable Rebecca Kadaga has stirred debate and excitement at the ongoing 127th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Quebec, Canada by raising strong objection to the Keynote Address by the Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
At the Assembly’s inaugural plenary on Monday, the Minister John Baird had leveled an attack against the human rights record of Uganda, citing how gays were being persecuted. The Foreign Minister drew the specific incident of gay-rights activist David Kato who was bludgeoned to death in January 2011.
In response to the Minister`s statement, Speaker Kadaga unequivocally stated that Uganda was not a colony of Canada and as such her sovereignty, societal and cultural norms were to be respected.
Below is the full text of her response:
Mr. President, Distinguished Speakers and Heads of Delegations,
When we came for this Assembly, to which we were invited, we expected respect for our sovereignty, our values and our country.
I therefore on behalf of the Uganda delegation, and indeed the people of Uganda, protest in the strongest terms the arrogance exhibited by the Foreign Minister of Canada, who spent most of his time attacking Uganda and promoting homosexuality.
Mr. President I was not aware that we had been invited to promote homosexuality in this Assembly.
Coming to the case of Mr. (David) Kato, his death was a crime of passion. He had contracted to pay some money to his lover in order to have sex with him. When he failed to pay this money he was beaten to death; the case was taken to court, the assailant was jailed and is now serving his sentence.
Let me take this opportunity to clarify that as a Speaker of Parliament, it is my responsibility to protect the rights of Members of Parliament, hence I cannot deny them the right to move Private Members Bills. The debate on homosexuality is not a settled matter.
This debate began in the USA in 1967. To-date 39 States in the USA prohibit same sex marriages. In the Anglican Church the matter is not yet settled. Indeed in the Anglican Church of the USA, some provinces pay allegiance to the Church of Uganda because they do not believe in homosexuality.
Mr. President, if Homosexuality is a value for the people of Canada, they should not seek to force Uganda to embrace it. We are not a colony or a protectorate of Canada.
The subject under discussion is `Citizenship, Identity and Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in a Globalised World`, please stick to it.
Please respect our sovereign rights, our cultural values and societal norms.