Follow Christiane on social media:

On Twitter + Facebook + Instagram Amanpour producers on Twitter

What time is Amanpour on CNN?

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Some gay Ugandans would rather die than live under new law

February 24th, 2014
02:28 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Some gay people in Uganda would rather kill themselves than live under that country’s new anti-homosexuality law, signed today by President Yoweri Museveni.

“People are afraid of losing their lives,” Ugandan gay rights activist Pepe Julian Onziema told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on the phone from the capital, Kampala.

“Prior to the bill becoming law today, people attempted suicide because they are like, ‘I’m not going to live to see this country kill me – so I would rather take my life.’”

Homosexual acts had already been illegal in Uganda, but the new law signed by Museveni toughens penalties against gay people and makes some homosexual acts crimes punishable by life in prison.

Many who fear violence have already fled the country for the “nearest border,” Onziema told Amanpour.

Even among those who are staying in the country, many are quitting their activism.

“People are really afraid about losing their lives, losing their families,” he said. Especially those “who are in the closet, who have lost jobs and their livelihoods have basically changed. And those are the same people who are committing suicide.”

For his part, Onziema said that he would continue the struggle for equality.

“I’m not afraid, because I’m not doing something wrong. Speaking out is my right that is guaranteed in the constitution, and this law is not going to take away the person that I am and it’s not going to take away my voice.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Uganda
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    good evening,
    in Africa we are very religious,( belong to one religious group or another) so all african should know that, is not politics its just who we are. although the penalty was too much but who am I to say,its not even in my country

    February 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      Well maybe you should go to prison for being who you are, just like gay people have to.

      February 24, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Reply
    • Rony

      Why we don't have problem with Saudi, Kuwait killing gay? or other Islamic Shariah country?

      DO u know?, Obama's BEST FRIENDS also killing gay BY LAW... Saudi, Pakistan, etc

      Islam is the ONLY religion until TODAY with ISLAMIC Sharia law LEGALIZING...
      1. To kill apostasy.
      2. Pedophilia (60 yr old man can marry 9 years old girl).
      3. Woman r half value of man in court..
      4. Gay should be killed!
      Under ISLAMIC Shariah Law, e.g. Saudi, Pakistan, Afghan, Yemen, etc
      wwwDOTyoutubeDOTcom/watch?v=0hCewyaok4k
      wwwDOTyoutubeDOTcom/watch?v=gk56SiScrBA

      February 25, 2014 at 5:56 am | Reply
    • JT

      Religion is a choice. Being gay isn't.

      February 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  2. ktl

    long live president yoweri museveni for fighting human vice.what you have done has erased all the wrongs you did before and it will remain in ugandan history though it has been a silver bullet in the heads of westerners.FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.we as ugandans we are tired of west insanity, live uganda for ugandans please back off.

    February 24, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • Andreas

      You're right. Uganda knows it all... Ultra developed rich country with instructed people. The folks in Norway, Iceland, Finland, USA, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Germany, France, Spain are all wrong in giving gay people these rights. And it also is so correct to dictate how other people should live by hiding their nature just because the society doesn't want it. Kinda reminds me of a policy that existed in the WWII... C'mon.. I hope you one day you can understand and accept how erroneous your thoughts are.

      February 24, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Reply
      • krobbie

        i sure while we speak of these states, lets not forget tht for decades they ve been having on common interest and thts the NEW WORLD ORDER where we all under one system.... one government.. how about China, Korea, the middle east, Russia coz as far as i know they run the economic strength apparently. correct yourself if your with tht. This freemasonary and illuminati way of life can only save their souls for who cares but matters of Ugandans are best if dealt by us, your opinion could only suffocate you coz its a done deal, so lets face it

        February 24, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
      • Kim

        Well said Andreas. History would leave to judge us someday if we let our culture sovereign go down the drain for physical pleasures. What shall we tell our our children or their children that our slice of the cake was when we looked on as treasured society morals were washed away Folks, SODOM and GOMORRAH were real...and some day, we'll all be judged .

        February 25, 2014 at 2:38 am |
      • nothingbuttruth

        Its NOT nature. It has already been scientifically proven, that its a CHOICE!. Its against the countries religious belieifs (96% of Ugandas oppose!) Yes, 96%!!! You cant argue with the voice of the poeple, and or the scientific data

        February 25, 2014 at 3:30 am |
      • Fidelis Afam

        We Africans have the fear of God and we also love to obey God, our maker, that is why such things as gay is evil, abomination to us. You may do whatever you like in your country, but please do not force upon us an abomination. It is just not part of our culture.

        February 25, 2014 at 5:56 am |
  3. Olagunju Emmanuel Ayobode

    So how does it concern you Amanpour? Are you gay or a gay activist?

    February 24, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • Eyvind

      One doesn't have to be gay to support gay people's human rights. Just like supporting Nelson Mandela's struggle against apartheid didn't make me black.

      February 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  4. Name* Henry

    I am sure that the country or the president did the right thing let try and imitate Uganda

    February 24, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  5. Rufai

    Infact if there is any thing more than what was proclaimed should be done to them I will like it. They are Demons and Africa can't harbour Demons.

    February 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  6. Andreas

    I am just incredibly happy that my country approved the law for the gay marriage. For that i am proud to say im latin american. Im not gay but totally am in favor of other people's happiness. I just cant understand how the weak minds of these folks work. How can a government take away someone else's happiness using a "moral" excuse by saying that it is how Uganda is. No, a country is made of all the people, black white yellow gay straight poor or rich. A country should never be against them, whoever they are. And just to look forward, take a look at the world map: which countries have best GDP and HDI. They are the same countries who protect gay rights. Coincidence? No, that is called intelligence.

    February 24, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Reply
    • krobbie

      its worse to think tht our governmrnt is against its own which is a minority but how about you speak of your own which bought $6 billion worth of bullets, ready to disarm you, building FEMA camps where you and your family and friends will be pushed as soon as you cant clear up ur bills and home care (obamacare), being spied on by your government, having drones positioned to attack Americans on their own soil and more American drama. i mean isnt tht enough for you to contain already???

      February 24, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Reply
      • Pedro

        krobbie, the message you replied to was posted by someone who said they are Latin American. That means that they do not live in the USA, but in one of the non-English-speaking countries in America, e.g. Argentina. Therefore, all the nonsense you wrote (or tried to, as your English is worse than a first grader's) does not apply. I suggest you educate yourself before you share your ideas. Maybe you should try to finish elementary school (I guess college if you are in Uganda).

        February 25, 2014 at 12:13 am |
      • nothingbuttruth

        What Krobbie said is a FACT! Dont believe him, do your OWN research. I am sure you will then come back and apologize for being DEAD wrong!

        February 25, 2014 at 3:39 am |
    • Kold

      Errr...U are welcome to take in all of the "intelligent" gays from Uganda, Nigeria and other areas of the world where this reprehensible lifestyle is discouraged. Imagine what that would do for your GDP and HDI? So what's stopping you?

      February 25, 2014 at 10:19 am | Reply
      • Andreas

        Wow... your ability to understand texts is overwhealming. No wonder you have that opinion.
        Let me try to explain again (in a simpler way). Countries with highter IDH and GDP per capita standards are the ones with higher education statuses ALONG with improved gay rights. WHICH MEANS that if you are a country that understands how gay rights are important and respect each other, you know better how to live in a society and have better living conditions. Take Norway as an example. All this Gay blah blah blah is so in the past for Norway people... It will still take hundred of years for Uganda and some other retrograde countries get even close to these advanced levels. It is simply a matter of choice of its residents and government. Mine, thankfully, has chosen a good side.

        February 25, 2014 at 11:59 am |
  7. Jared

    Good job on swallowing Western propaganda, Africa! We never taught you to be gay; we taught you to hate gays. Now that we're trying to fix this one out of the many wrongs we have perpetrated against Africa, Uganda steps in to take over the Western job of making Africa a worse and more hateful place to live.

    February 24, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  8. Mwangi

    God has brought us this far-we shall not go against his law-we are Christian and muslims not nonbelievers.

    February 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Reply
    • John

      and yet christian and mulsims use to kill each other and oppress each other ans still do ..you are willing to tolerate each others life style choices yet both your religions condone each other to hell for worshiping the wrong god and are destined for hell ..both support slavery why dont you read those books.

      February 24, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  9. Nattiest

    People are comparing this LGBT nonsense with the fight against racism. Uhm... no. Being black is something you're born with. You can't maltreat a person because of how they are. Being gay however, is a choice. No one is born gay, it's not genetic. It's a sign of poor parenting or an absence of parenting. It's okay to be gay, but it's not okay to assume every nation in the world should legalize this sodomy.

    This article says some have fled the country, I say that is excellent. No one says you can't be gay, just go find a place where it's legal and everyone will be happy. It's kinda like smoking only in smoking areas. No one says you can't smoke, just don't smoke in the non smoking areas.

    By the way, I'm proudly Nigerian, and I support Uganda on this. We Africans have something that the western world will never understand. Something called TRADITION.

    February 24, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Reply
    • Al

      Being gay is not a choice you moron. You belong in Nigeria.

      February 24, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Reply
    • nothingbuttruth

      Sooooo True! people need to STOP compaing being black, with being a sodomite! People have NO choice in being black. Sodomites make the choice to be sodomites! This has been proven, time, and time again. Amercia was founded on Christian beliefs, which include Sodomy being a Sin. If your relegion teaches against it, why must you be forced into accepting it? What happened to freedom of religion?

      February 25, 2014 at 3:44 am | Reply
      • Oskar

        "Freedom of religion" means that you can believe in any religious system you want without being punished by the government for having that religion. It DOES NOT mean that you can do whatever you like in the name of religion.

        February 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
  10. Mike Nsereko

    Much as everyone has rights so do the rest of Ugandans who are not gay, they still have the right to access US aid & the US should not at moment dare cut aid. http://www.afrosocio.com

    February 24, 2014 at 10:46 pm | Reply
    • Pedro

      @Mike: I do hope that the US cuts aid. Why would I give charity to you, when there are so many others who also need help and are not mean to others?

      February 24, 2014 at 11:40 pm | Reply
      • Proud Ugandan

        Actually we can do without the aid

        February 25, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
  11. Al

    May Jesus forgive Ugandan and Nigerian ignorance and hatred. He would be ashamed of you hiding behind the cloak of "tradition" to act like odious fools. Some traditions should rightfully cease to exist.

    February 24, 2014 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  12. khasim kimbowa

    we have got too much atension from the west,The president sought the scientific prof against the vice! why cant the progy people support their side by scientific backing!

    February 24, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Reply
    • Pedro

      Khasim, are you sure the scientists your president consulted with were free to express their true opinions? Considering the politics around this issue, I seriously doubt it. Also, how is it possible that the conclusions of those "scientists" are the exact opposite to what hundreds of studies have shown? Are the Ugandan people so different than the Western people?

      February 24, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  13. kogs

    @Pedro, you are a fool and all your responses to other peoples comments are bogus, I wonder what your point of interest would be in such matters.

    February 25, 2014 at 1:03 am | Reply
  14. Daniel Johnson

    This lovely bit of legislation is being brought to you by the same soul sisters
    who sing the great AfricanTradition of ethnic cleansing which even now is killing millions- now oppressing
    and murdering those who are different in their God's chosen- people society.
    They will perish on the garbage dump of failed human history purges and pogroms.

    February 25, 2014 at 1:11 am | Reply
  15. julius

    it was a blessing when our president signed the bill, in fact it even rained just after the president signed yet we are in a dry season and it had not rained for the past two months. remember in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah it was fire not rain. We are not lazy chaps to go by any practice because of aide we shall not sell our country because of aide just like Esau sold his inheirentence because of food.FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY MOTHER UGANDA.

    February 25, 2014 at 1:26 am | Reply
    • nothingbuttruth

      AMEN!!

      February 25, 2014 at 3:45 am | Reply
  16. albert

    why the west joking Africa with values that doesn't serve their interest in africa we cherish polygamy why has not u.n made it mandatory to the rest of the world . we all know that our bodies compliment each other how can one use is rectum meant for food to do other stupid things or leave our girls flat out.

    February 25, 2014 at 3:05 am | Reply
  17. james

    those guys fighting for African gays,please also allow polygamy by repealing the bigamy law and we can talk. polygamy is more natural than gayism

    February 25, 2014 at 4:21 am | Reply
  18. Eyong m

    for those WHO want to take thier lives because of the anti gay law,,satan recieve your souls i hope.rubbish.useless fools,or may be they should grant them stay over the western countries,not africa.good president continue your Work.

    February 25, 2014 at 9:01 am | Reply
  19. Ray

    There is no petrol in Uganda. If there was, the US would have kept quiet. Why is the US not speaking up against Saudi Arabia's tough laws dat violate human rights.

    February 25, 2014 at 9:09 am | Reply
  20. Layoi

    There is a saying that " If you are in Rome behave like a Roman" therefore if the Gay culture was not part of any Uganda's culture then The President is very right to sign that Law. Because we expect every Ugandans according to the Uganda's culture. not any other imported culture.

    February 25, 2014 at 9:45 am | Reply
    • Oskar

      What or who defines Ugandan culture? Since there exist gay individuals that are born in Uganda with Ugandian parents, they are clearly a part of Uganda, and therefore a part of Ugandian culture.

      February 27, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  21. Proud Ugandan

    The point that people are missing is that ,african society or Ugandan in particular , is deeply rooted in tribal culture and religion,if it doesnt pass those two,,then you can trust that its headed no where.That is why polygamy is not really criminalized yet we all know its not so good a social lifestyle. Do not try to understand Africa from the western perspective.

    February 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  22. bipolarblue

    Why is pastor Scott Lively from Springfield Oregon allowed to go to countries like Uganda and Russia and help develop antigay laws? Americans have themselves to blame in these deaths to occur, government approved, the next few days!

    February 26, 2014 at 11:59 am | Reply
  23. Steph

    Why would anyone who lives in an environment in which they will be harassed at best and killed at worst, choose to be gay? You keep saying it is a choice but if it was truly a choice, why would anyone living under such draconian laws choose this?!? Oh right, because it's not a choice...

    February 26, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  24. Nikky

    America and Europe have no shame , no remorse, and will never stop evil deeds. They are coursed by the devil they serve. They are so blind to see that Africa can never be destroyed .What worse can they bring to African after the atrocity of human slavery. They always trigger trouble in Africa and quick to send their troops to kill our people in pretends that they are saving civilians, they directly and indirectly killing Africans and African Americans and claiming self defence, They are always, always jealous and afraid of Africans why, because we are godly and naturally blessed with every thing. Organic food, mineral recourses , elegant and beautiful human creatures especially our ladies, wonderful skin that stands any kind of weather, what is it that Africa don't have above all we know, respect and fear the God of creation who gave us the strength and the ability to withstand even the power to always forgive America and Europe their evil against us (Africa) though we forgive the story of their evil deeds to Africans will never be forgotten until God judge them to bring justice to Africans. Now let me tell you fools that are falling to their trap of gay nonsense, You think they are supporting you by shouting human rights, No they know quite well that Africa will not allow or tolerate such abomination instead they will kill those that will what to practice such act. so they want all of you African gay people to be killed. So stop being ignorant enough of your foolish imitation of western useless lifestyle it is not our life style period and we will not buy it, it is abomination and against the Law of God almighty.They always triggers something that will course more death in Africa . SO you guys that wants to be like them may want to go to their country and practice that evil or you will die . It is a must that you obey the Law of your country if you want to live there. They will never bring anything good without taking the best you have they are hypocrites. The only thing they have is GUN and immorality, they are developed because they use gun to take and enslave Africans into developing their country they have no man power I bet you they see through African eyes and they want to teach us human right, evil murderers wants to bring human rights to Africa haaaaaaa you see they have no shame god forbid them.

    March 1, 2014 at 12:40 am | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.