The Speaker of the National Assembly, Urška Klakočar Zupančič, and the Freedom Movement (Gibanje Svoboda) MP, Mojca Šetinc Pašek, have been in Africa on an official visit to Uganda and Rwanda since Monday. On her first day there, Klakočar Zupančič was hosted by the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Anita Annet Among. What also happened on the day of Zupančič’s visit is that the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, called on African leaders to reject the “promotion of homosexuality,” which means he will sign the anti-LGBTQ+ bill passed by Parliament last month.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Urška Klakočar Zupančič, has had quite a busy week of visits. Since the beginning of her term of office, she has visited Uzbekistan, Morocco, Japan and, with the Falcon airplane, our neighbouring Austria. She is now strengthening relations in Africa. On Monday, she was hosted in Uganda by Anita Annet Among, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament. On Wednesday, Klakočar Zupančič and MP Šetinc Pašek will be received by Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Republic of Rwanda.
Last month, the Ugandan Parliament approved a bill that bans individuals from identifying as LGBTQ and defines this as a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison. Their Parliament approved the new law almost unanimously. The law also requires family members of LGBTQ people to inform the authorities of their gender and sexual identity. It also includes penalties and prosecution of organisations that would advocate for the protection of homosexuals.
“The Parliament will not be ashamed of restricting any rights” and prayer following the adoption of the law
On the passing of the law, the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament said: “We hear and acknowledge the advice of human rights experts, but we are mindful of the thoughts and spirit of the framers of our Constitution. We are aware that the Constitution contains non-derogable rights, and in this process, Parliament is seeking to recognise these non-derogable rights. However, the norms and aspirations of the people of Uganda will always remain paramount. This Parliament will not be ashamed of restricting any non-derogable rights, as long as this recognises, protects and safeguards the ruling will, norms and aspirations of the people of Uganda. That is what the majority has done today, and it is through the majority that the people of Uganda have spoken.”
Promoting cultural values?
“I appreciate Slovenia’s support in strengthening our cultural ties; the Memorandum of Understanding we signed in 2019 further encourages our efforts in preserving and promoting our cultural values,” wrote the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament during Klakočar Zupančič’s visit. I guess our Speaker of the National Assembly did not tell her that she does not agree with their culture, which does not tolerate homosexuality.
Annet Among also wrote that Klakočar was arriving at the very time when the national budget was being debated. “As leaders, I would like us to explore more areas where we can work to empower and uplift our legislators, especially women,” she wrote, adding that she appreciated Klakočar’s interest in working with women’s organisations such as the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET).
“The future of women in male-dominated spaces lies in women like us holding hands and working together,” she said, adding that she has no doubt that Uganda and Slovenia will continue to follow the same path of cooperation.