BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — The speaker of Uganda's parliament has called for a vote on MP David Bahati's "anti-homosexuality" bill, which she supports, upon returning to Uganda after a heated exchange with John Baird, Canada's foreign affairs minister. Baird criticized the legislation at the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference held in Quebec City.
According to a report in The Advocate, Rebecca Kadaga told a crowd gathered at Entebbe airport that she "will not accept to be intimidated or to be directed by any government in the world because we are independent. I will now instruct the chair of the Committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to quickly bring the report of the anti-homosexuality bill so that we can discuss it and so that Uganda can take a position."
Reporting on the conflict, Xtra reporter Justin Ling notes that Baird cited the bludgeoning death of gay rights activist David Kato in a conference address in which he condemned countries that still criminalize homosexuality. Baird called on Uganda to “protect its people regardless of sex, sexuality or faith.”
Kadaga countered Baird's remarks in her own conference speech. "On behalf of the Uganda delegation and the people of Uganda, I protest in the strongest terms the arrogance exhibited by the foreign minister of Canada,who spent his entire presentation attacking Uganda and promoting homosexuality."
Mindful of the threat by some Western countries to make aid contingent upon an improved gay rights record, Kadaga told the gathering at Entebbe that "if the price of aid is going to be promote homosexuality in this country, I think we don't want that aid."
Kadaga's remarks were broadcast by African news channel NTV.
The Quebec City conference closed with the adoption of a declaration emphasizing a commitment to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation, Xtra reports.