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Uganda: Government minister Simon Lokodo leads charge against gay activists

Uganda's government minister Simon Lokodo threatens to have activists arrested.
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Members of the Ugandan gay community mourn at the funeral of murdured activist David Kato near Mataba on Jan. 28, 2011. (Marc Hofer/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Homosexuals in Uganda — and in much of the rest of Africa — have plenty to fear from security forces, from conservative fellow citizens and from your garden variety homophobes, but it's a rare day when the politicians leave the arena of rhetoric and actually get their hands dirty.

More from GlobalPost: Homophobia continues in Uganda

Displaying rare zeal for a government minister Simon Lokodo, Uganda's junior minister for ethics and integrity, led the charge on a group of lesbian and gay activists, disrupting their meeting about — yes — gay rights and threatening to have them all arrested.

It is, of course, no surprise at all that Lokodo is also known as a serving Catholic priest when he is not moonlighting in politics.

Imagine what Uganda could be like if only other ministers would show such alacrity in delivering on their portfolios.

More from GlobalPost: Uganda: Anti-gay bill reintroduced in parliament

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Uganda News: Homophobia continues in Uganda

A ruling party parliamentarian David Bahati has resurrected the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
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This picture taken on Jan. 12, 2012 shows a gay couple, who wish to remain anonymous. They faced deadly persecution in their home country and fled to Nairobi, Kenya. The new anti-homosexuality bill in neighboring Uganda touched off a wave of homophobia, an example of an increasing incidence of openly hostile environment for LGBT individuals. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — We'd thought it was all over: as Uganda's Parliament closed in May last year a proposed new law that might have seen homosexuals executed for being, well, gay was dropped from debate.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was brought to Parliament by David Bahati, a ruling party parliamentarian with evangelical Christian beliefs and lofty political ambitions. A political opportunist egged on by American pastors Bahati realized that a gay-bashing bill would be broadly popular amongst ordinary Ugandans, many of whom are deeply religious and deeply conservative.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda and homosexuals have long faced discrimination and led their lives in secret, but Bahati — and others — wanted the law stregthened.

More from GlobalPost: Special report: The Rainbow Struggle

Bahati did not bargain for the international outcry that his bill provoked, an outcry that put pressure on President Yoweri Museveni (a pragmatic churchgoer rather than dyed-in-the-wool believer) and ultimately led to the bill being buried.

Now Bahati has resurrected his loathsome law albeit without the death sentence proposal. And it was cheered on its resubmittal to Parliament.

Bahati's move has, as might be expected, drawn a suitably aghast response from human rights groups and will no doubt trigger another concerted international effort to have it shelved.

The interesting new wrinkle since the bill was first introduced is that both the US and Britain have signalled a growing intolerance of intolerance suggesting that foreign aid might be linked to respect for gay (and other) rights.

More from GlobalPost: Ban Ki Moon tells African leaders to respect gay rights

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Uganda: Anti-gay bill reintroduced in parliament

The Anti-Homosexuality bill was introduced in 2009 but was never brought before a full legislative body for a vote, the Associated Press reported.

Uganda News: Tullow Oil to invest in Uganda's oil industry

Tullow Oil signs a new production sharing agreement with Uganda's government.
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Tullow Oil has signed a deal with Uganda. Here, Tullow Oil company technician Joachim Vogt (L) describes the properties of the oil discovered on an offshore oil platform off the coasts of the French overseas department of Guiana. (Jody Amiet /AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Months of unseemly wrangles have delayed Uganda's much-touted oil production but now it is set to begin.

More from GlobalPost: South Sudan halts oil production as talks falter

Tullow Oil, a spectacularly successful oil exploration company that has discovered large reserves in Uganda and Ghana in recent years, says that it has signed production sharing agreements with Uganda's government paving the way for a $10 billion investment in the country's nascent oil industry.

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The next step will be for Tullow, a relatively small company (in the multi-billion dollar world of oil), to finalize its new partnership with France's Total and China's CNOOC that will enable the building of a refinery and an export pipeline from the Lake Albert oil fields.

It is estimated there may be as much 2.5 billion barrels of oil, enough crude to supply all of Uganda's domestic needs with more left over for export to neighboring countries.

More from GlobalPost: Uganda: New front in war on corruption

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Exiled Rwandan journalists fear assassination

Kampala — Godwin Agaba fled Rwanda after his reporting irritated authorities there.

The gray area of gay refugees

NAIROBI — Although they had hoped for a better life in a new land, the camp has proven to be yet another dangerous place for the two polite young Ugandans.

David Kato murderer sentenced to 30 years

Kato, a school teacher, was killed shortly after a local newspaper ran the names and photographs of members of the community who are gay under the banner, "Hang Them."

Uganda: Ulterior motives in US, LRA fight

KAMPALA — The Obama administration's decision to send troops to Uganda may be more complex than a mission against the Lord's Resistance Army.

LRA: 5 Things to know about the Lord's Resistance Army

The decision to use the troops as advisers in the fight against the Lord's Resistance Army — a notorious fighting group in the region — leaves many readers with questions about the origin and operations of the LRA in Central Africa.  
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