John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "Gay Rights"

Nigerians Circle the Wagons Against West on Anti-Gay Law

by John Campbell
Members of religious groups campaigning against homosexuality hold placards during a rally in Kampala, August 21, 2007. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters) Members of religious groups campaigning against homosexuality hold placards during a rally in Kampala, August 21, 2007. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigerians across religious, ethnic, and regional divisions are strongly supportive of the anti-gay measure recently signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan. The legislation criminalizes virtually all aspects of gay life, not just gay marriage. There has been support from spokesmen for the Christian Association of Nigeria (the principal Christian umbrella group), the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the sultan of Sokoto (the premier Muslim traditional ruler), and Jama’atu Nasril Islam, perhaps the most important Islamic group with a national membership, as well as an outpouring of support from much of the population. Read more »

Gay Marriage and Goodluck Jonathan’s Tricky Position

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
President Goodluck Jonathan presents his administration's midterm report during Democracy Day in Abuja May 29, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) President Goodluck Jonathan presents his administration's midterm report during Democracy Day in Abuja May 29, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Dominic Bocci, assistant director at the Council on Foreign Relations’ David Rockefeller Studies Program.

The passage of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill on May 31, 2013, by the Nigerian House of Representatives places President Goodluck Jonathan in a tricky position. Not signing the bill risks alienating his own government and signaling to the general public that he does not support one of the few issues that brings the majority of Nigerians together. Alternatively, signing such legislation may cost the country substantial sums of international aid and investment. Either way, gay marriage—an otherwise unlikely political issue—may significantly influence the Nigerian political debate leading up to the 2015 national elections. Read more »

Anglicans in Zimbabwe Regain Cathedral and Other Properties

by John Campbell
File photo of Zimbabwe Anglican Bishop Kunonga. 26/10/2003. (Howard Burditt/Courtesy Reuters) File photo of Zimbabwe Anglican Bishop Kunonga. 26/10/2003. (Howard Burditt/Courtesy Reuters)

For the past five years, Robert Mugabe’s government has, in effect, persecuted the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.  As I blogged previously in 2011, the ex-bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, a long-time Mugabe supporter, sought to take his diocese out of the Anglican Communion, ostensibly because of Anglican Communion support for gay rights.  The church thereupon deposed him and chose a new bishop, Chad Gandiya. But, Mugabe continued to support Kunonga and a pro-Mugabe judge gave him “custody” of church property pending a high court ruling. Kunonga also ended up with a confiscated, previously white-owned, farm. Pro-government goons over the past five years have, in effect, overseen the transfer of the cathedral in Harare, Anglican schools, orphanages, and parish churches to Kunonga and his supporters. The archbishop of Canterbury protested directly to Mugabe last year. Read more »

Mugabe Fights the Proposed Zimbabwe Constitution With Homophobia

by John Campbell
Police escort a group of 46 arrested Zimbabwean activists into a Magistrates Court in Harare 24/02/2011. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) Police escort a group of 46 arrested Zimbabwean activists into a Magistrates Court in Harare 24/02/2011. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

Human rights organizations are charging the Zimbabwe police with accelerating harassment of the gay community as the country approaches the election season.  Robert Mugabe is opposed to provisions in the draft constitution that would dilute presidential authority, and is angling to create popular support against the draft before it is submitted to a voters referendum.  Though the current draft makes no reference to gay rights or gay marriage, Mugabe and his supporters may be using that silence on both issues to rally opposition to it by association. Earlier in the year, Mugabe tied the new constitution to gay rights by saying that there were efforts to insert a same-sex marriage clause in the draft. He is quoted as saying, “we won’t accept that.” Read more »

Gay Rights in Africa

by John Campbell
Members of Uganda's gay community lead a choir during a memorial service for David Kato, a slain prominent gay rights activist, on his first death anniversary in Kampala January 26, 2012. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters) Members of Uganda's gay community lead a choir during a memorial service for David Kato, a slain prominent gay rights activist, on his first death anniversary in Kampala January 26, 2012. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters)

Unfortunately, much of sub-Saharan Africa is homophobic. Recent legislation, some proposed, some passed, condemns gay marriage and sometimes outlaws gay sexual activity. Nigeria, Uganda, and Liberia all have such legislation pending or passed, often with the provision of draconian penalties. Such legislation appears to be very popular. Read more »