One of international diplomacy’s most infuriating political footballs is back in play. Uganda’s infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill, versions of which have threatened the death penalty for gays and imprisonment for anyone who fails to inform on them, has passed a committee and is once again awaiting discussion in parliament, which could come any day. The issue has been in and out of the spotlight since 2009, and isn’t quite getting the media attention it has in previous years.
After meeting in Uganda this week, the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a troubling warning: over the next several decades, “unprecedented extreme weather” will become much less unprecedented. Because global warming has continued mostly unabated, future generations can expect more floods, cyclones, and droughts—and, of course, more heat waves. A century from now, heat waves that today are once-in-a-generation events will occur every other year.
Despite lingering concerns about the cost and scope of the mission, President Obama’s recent decision to send 100 combat-equipped Special Forces to quell the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA—a group of insurgents marauding around Central Africa—was met with a decent display of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill this past month. Senator Jim Inhofe is on board. So is Obama’s old nemesis, John McCain, albeit with reservations.
Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy [with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] In late 2009, the parliament in Uganda began formally debating a law that would have sentenced gays and lesbians to life in prison – or, in some cases, to death. Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, but the lawmakers hoped the new law could improve enforcement. And very few people outside of the human rights advocacy community noticed. But Rachel Maddow did.
Last fall, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed decided to use vacation days he had saved up in his eight years as a regional compliance specialist in the Buffalo office of the New York Department of Transportation. He told his co-workers he would be traveling to Mogadishu—the city he was born in, but had not seen since 1985—and that he would return in three weeks. What he didn’t reveal was the purpose of the trip: to interview to become prime minister of Somalia. Mohamed, who is known among Somalis by the nickname Farmaajo, got the job.
Kampala, Uganda—Pink is political in Uganda. But not in the way most outsiders think. This past May, opposition leaders in the capital of Kampala were targeted with firehoses that drenched them in bubblegum-colored liquid, dying their clothes and skin. Their crime? Attempting to hold an “unauthorized” rally in the city’s Constitutional Square. Since April, opposition groups have been leading an intermittent campaign called “Walk to Work” to highlight the country’s soaring commodity prices (food inflation recently topped 44 percent).
Benghazi, Libya—Earlier this week, a delegation from the African Union (AU), composed of 53 African states, shuttled between the Libyan capital of Tripoli and the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, seeking to end the fighting that has been peppered with airstrikes by the NATO against Muammar Qaddafi’s forces.
The month of February gave observers of African politics a curious case study in political geography. At one end of the Nile, protesters in Egypt were breaking the chains of autocracy through the revolution in Tahrir Square. At the other end of the Nile, voters in Uganda were preparing for an election that ultimately gave the country’s quasi-autocratic ruler, Yoweri Museveni, another five years in power.
If you’re a betting person, here’s a safe bet: On August 9, the balloting in the east African state of Rwanda will give world-famous military leader Paul Kagame yet another seven-year term as president. The astonishing margin of victory will impress even the modern grand viziers of Central Asia.