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Ugandan ambassador withdraws from MLK event over LGBT legislation

Ugandan ambassador withdraws from MLK event over LGBT legislation

The Washington Blade is reporting news that it had a hand in making.

Uganda’s ambassador to the United States abruptly withdrew on Friday as the keynote speaker for a Jan. 16 Martin Luther King Day event sponsored by the United Negro College Fund in Greenbelt, Md.

The withdrawal by Ambassador Perezi K. Kamunanwire came one day after United Negro College Fund President and CEO Michael L. Lomax sent him a letter saying UNCF supporters had expressed concern over an anti-homosexuality bill recently introduced in the Uganda Parliament. The letter was triggered by an inquiry from the Blade. …

“UNCF’s history and mission make us especially alert to violations of human rights, wherever they occur,” Lomax said in his letter. “So while we recognize that these issues are matters of internal Ugandan policy, we are dismayed at present polices in Uganda (and in many other African countries) criminalizing sexual orientation, and we view with alarm the draconian penalties, including the death penalty that the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill would impose if passed.”

Lomax added, “Given the interest expressed in the Washington community, I hope that you will address this issue when you speak at the King Day and take questions at the conclusion of your remarks.”


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Chris Arnold

It sounds as though the letter sent to Ambassador Kamunanwire was seen as threatening to the ambassador, essentially warning him that he would be addressing a crowd that would be somewhere between suspicious and actively hostile to him. Perhaps he read between the lines?


I’d be interested in learning what reason, if any the ambassador gave for canceling.

Bill Dilworth

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