Uganda’s President Gen Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni is banking on a team of officials from his government to convince a top US envoy with the view of making President Joe Biden reconsider his view on kicking Kampala out of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade deal.
A notice by US President Joe Biden to the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate indicates that Washington would remove Uganda, Gabon, Niger and the Central African Republic (CAR) from the list of AGOA beneficiaries over human rights and rule of law violations. (See Details Here).
Hours after news of Biden’s decision became public knowledge, a minister in Museveni’s government revealed that a team of officials from Kampala would travel to the South African city of Johannesburg to convince US representatives on reversing the decision.
State Minister for trade Harriet Ntabazi has been quoted as revealing that the Johannesburg meetings will be attended by all African nations benefiting from AGOA.
The six-day meeting will also see officials from the Ugandan delegation interface with representatives from the US and the United Nations. Envoys are expected to engage in high-level discussions on what concessions can be made to reverse Biden’s decision.
Museveni has given his blessings to the team travelling to South Africa and the discussions are being seen as the last best opportunity for decision reversal ahead of January 2024 when the removal from the list is expected to take effect.
But the contentious issue behind the Biden decision is not one that can be resolved within one day. Ntabazi has told NTV that Ugandan representatives will try to explain to their US counterparts about the Anti-Homosexuality Act and how its provisions are not as illogical as they have been portrayed.
“It is not that if you are caught raping somebody of the same sex you will be punished differently from somebody who is raping a person of different sex. It is all rape. We need to explain these things very well to the Americans so that they understand what we meant,” Ntabazi said.
The international community continues to punish Uganda for choosing to criminalize gay relations as powerful nations and influential organizations move to force homosexuality onto citizens of the East African nation.
The Biden administration has also moved to impose travel restrictions on Ugandan officials, with some like the Speaker of Parliament already having their visas cancelled. (Read Stories Here and There).
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