Nearing anniversary of activist’s death, Mbeki speaks out

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the day David Kato, a gay activist in Uganda, was beaten to death in his neighborhood with a hammer after his photo appeared in a local paper under the headline “Hang Them.”

Changing Attitude reports the former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, has risen to the defense of homosexuals in Uganda, saying the proposed Antihomosexuality Bill (now languishing in Uganda’s Parliament) is irrelevant.

“I would say to the MP [David Bahati, mover of the bill]; sexual preferences are a private matter,” said Mbeki. “I don’t think it is a matter for the state to intervene.” Mbeki said he was certain that Bahati would disagree with his stand and argue that African culture does not permit same sex relations, a reason at the heart of the continent’s wide spread antipathy towards homosexuals….

I mean what would you want? It doesn’t make sense at all. That is what I would say to the MP. What two consenting adults do is really not a matter for the law,” he said.

However, Bahati defended his bill, adding that it was brought to curb a several issues including inducement, recruitment and funding homosexuality. “His excellency [Mr Mbeki] needs to read the Bill and understand the spirit in which it was brought and the context in which we are talking about,” Bahati said.

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