Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who earlier this year signed a draconian "jail the gays" bill into law, could be rewarded next month with the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly. Sam Kutesa, Uganda's extremely corrupt foreign affairs minister and a key Museveni spokesperson, is reportedly the top contender for the job. The election for the position will be held June 17.
If Kutesa wins and ascends to the prestigious post, he will preside over a body that is regularly addressed by major world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama. As Milton Allimadi, publisher of New York's Black Star News writes, a Kutesa presidency would be nothing less than an outrage.
Kutesa's boss Gen. Museveni thumbed his nose at world leaders including Obama when he signed the anti-gay hate law in Uganda on February 24 and the continuing corruption scandals and political repression in the country.
In addition to the anti-gay law Uganda earlier passed a law which bans meetings of more than three people without obtaining police approval which is designed to stifle dissent and legitimate political opposition activity. The Stalinist sounding law in Gen. Museveni's increasingly police state is referred to as the Public Order Management law.
As foreign affairs minister Kutesa is Gen. Museveni's top spokesperson to the world including on the bigoted anti-gay law and the Public Order Management. When he signed the anti-gay law Kutesa's boss told CNN gays were "disgusting" and said "what sort of people are they" and "what they do are terrible."
More information, after the jump.
Allimadi speculates that Museveni is angling for a Ugandan General Assembly presidency in order to burnish his administration's image ahead of the country's upcoming 2016 presidential elections, which are expected to be contentious. But, he writes, "the international community is not obligated to reward destructive regional military aggression, dictatorship, corruption, and homophobic bigotry, with the prestigious presidency of the General Assembly."
The General Assembly presidency is a one-year post that rotates between five geographic groups: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, and Western Europe and other States. This year is Africa's turn, and after the leading candidate -- the foreign minister of another incredibly anti-gay country, Cameroon -- withdrew, Uganda's Sam Kutesa became the front-runner.
Allimadi is urging the U.S. government to deny visas to Kutesa and any other representatives nominated by Museveni, in order to prevent them from entering the country. He notes that the United States took similar action last month to bar the entrance of Hamid Aboutalebi, whom the Iranian government nominated as its United Nations ambassador, after allegations surfaced about Aboutalebi's alleged participation in the takeover of the embassy in Tehran and the Iran hostage crisis in 1979-80.
Allimadi has also launched a Change.org petition asking UN member states to vote against Kutesa.
The Obama administration has been strangely silent on the matter; neither President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, nor U.S. United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power have spoken out publicly against Kutesa's bid. However, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, New York's Democratic senators, have both released statements denouncing it. Gillibrand called the possibility of Kutesa presiding over the General Assembly "disturbing," and Schumer called on the UN to "review Mr. Kutesa's participation in" Uganda's anti-gay law.
h/t: Melanie Nathan, O-blog-dee-o-blog-da.