How better to celebrate the season of goodwill than by passing a law that would send homosexuals, their friends and family to prison for life? Having banned poverty, disease, corruption and mini-skirts in the previous twenty-four hours (OK only the most important one of these), the Uganda parliament today faced the choice of passing laws to punish the sunlight for clasping the earth and moonbeams for kissing the sea or to punish people for clasping and kissing the people they love.
Trivialities like the lack of a quorum in parliament were overlooked in the urgent quest to make Uganda a country fit for bigots to live in. President Museveni still has the opportunity to veto the bill before Uganda becomes a synonym for intolerance.
I’ve been collaborating with Makerere University in Kampala for some years on a project looking at biodiversity change across time and space in rainforests and the surrounding agricultural matrix. Two PhD students are approaching submission, nine masters students have graduated, we’ve not done too badly. It has been an interesting time working in Uganda: riots, food-poisoning, traffic accidents, power cuts, excuses for bigotry, but also some charming people and giraffes.
I do like the giraffes.