MP Rebecca Kadaga, who has publicly championed Uganda’s gay death bill, has been elected chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP).
Kadaga, who is also Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, in November 2012 promised anti-gay religious activists to have the horrific Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed as “a Christmas gift” in order to protect Uganda’s children from “the serious threat” posed by homosexuals.
Speaking at the 127th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Canada that same year, Kadaga lashed out at international critics of the proposed law.
“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,” she said.
On her return to Uganda, Kadaga was met by hundreds of supporters of her anti-gay views.
Despite her backing the violation of the human rights of gays and lesbians in her country, her colleagues in the Commonwealth saw it fit to vote her into the prestigious position on Wednesday.
Kadaga received 68 votes, beating Lisa Baker of western Australia who came second with 29 votes, at the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association International Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.
According to reports, she was nominated to the post by South Africa.
Ironically, one of the association’s main areas of focus is human rights. Its website says that it consists of Commonwealth parliamentarian who are united by “respect for the rule of law and individual rights and freedoms”.
“I will enhance political party participation, more equity for women, more access to justice and I will use the experience I have from the CWP Africa region to ensure that the people we lead have the best services,” Kadaga said in her acceptance speech.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill has still not been passed but remains pending in Uganda. It allows for the death penalty in cases of “aggravated homosexuality” and includes criminal penalties for anyone who fails to turn over gay people to the police or who “promotes” homosexuality.
The bill has generated widespread international condemnation; with a number of governments threatening to cut aid to the country should it be passed. Homosexuality already carries a life sentence in Uganda.