In Uganda, Nsaba Buturo is serving out his term as Minister of Ethics and Integrity. He lost his bid for re-election and will presumably not be back in that role. However, even as a lame duck, he is making waves. According to the Monitor:
Human rights defenders yesterday gathered in Kampala to voice their distress following Monday’s incident where Ethics minister blocked the viewing of a movie chronicling their experiences.
Led by Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) chairperson Medi Kaggwa, the rights defenders in a joint statement said Mr Nsaba Buturo’s move was unconstitutional.
“The documentary was one of the series of activities aligned in commemoration of the International Human Rights Day on December 10 and its aim was to highlight the work of Human Rights Defenders and the challenges they face,” read the statement delivered by Mr. Kaggwa.
In Uganda, the UHRC spearheaded the activities to mark the day in partnership with the UN Office of the Higher Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Network –Uganda, the Human Rights Centre and other organisations who work as rights defenders.
But while justifying his action, Mr Buturo said the organisers wanted to indoctrinate the youth on homosexuality.
Mr Buturo told Daily Monitor that the organisers refused to delete the homosexual content in the documentary.
The article then describes the nature of the censored content.
Mr Kaggwa said the film only contains interviews of human rights defenders on their experiences and challenges in performing their work as well as recommendations for promotion of human rights especially among the minority groups such as women and people with disabilities.
In the documentary that was shown to journalists at UHRC headquarters, Mr Kikonyogo Kivumbi comments on the rights of the homosexuals to health services and cites the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that allows medical practitioners to report gay patients to police.
“We are giving a very strong voice to Parliament not to pass the Bill because it will discriminate against minority groups like the homosexuals. Uganda is committed to fighting HIV and Aids and when minorities are threatened with arrest, they will fear to go for medication and yet it is their right,” Mr Kivumbi says in the documentary.
This is what seems to have aroused Mr Buturo’s disquiet in the documentary, leading to blocking of its viewing at the National Theatre. Mr Buturo was not available for comment yesterday as his known mobile number remained unanswered.
If true, this would be more indication that the purpose of the AHB and other initiatives in Uganda is not to protect children, as proponents of the AHB claim, but to punish and eliminate an unpopular minority. There really is little doubt of this despite the claims of defenders.