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One World with Zain Asher
Ugandan President Signs The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 Into Law; Erdogan Becomes New President Of Turkey; Biden And McCarthy Convince Lawmakers To Support Agreement To Limit Non-Defense Spending And Raise Debt Ceiling; Russia Steps Up Aerial Assault On Kyiv; Ukrainian Tennis Player Marta Kosciuk Booed After Refusing To Shake Hands With Belarusian Opponent, Aryna Sabalenka; Grand Canal Turns Bright Green Over The Weekend. Aired 12- 12:45p ET
Aired May 29, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Zain Asher in New York and this is ONE WORLD. There's fear, anger and sadness in Uganda
after the nation imposed one of the world's harshest anti-gay laws in the world. We are going to die, says one activist. Many are fleeing the
country. This, after Ugandan President signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 into law, defying international pressure.
The bill passed through Uganda's parliament earlier this month, while LGBTQ rights in Uganda have been eroding for years. This law imposes a litany of
punishments, including the death penalty for, quote, aggravated homosexuality. It criminalizes sex education for the gay community and
stipulates a 20-year prison sentence for anyone promoting homosexuality, as well.
CNN's David McKenzie has been following this story. He joins us live now from Johannesburg. So, David, going back a decade or even more, Uganda, as
we all know, already had one of the toughest anti-gay laws in the world. It wasn't a safe place. It has never been really a safe place for members of
the gay community. This law goes even further. Just walk us through what this law means for members of the gay community who are in Uganda right
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zain, it means a huge amount, and it's certainly very scary for those tonight in
Kampala and around the country. I spoke to several activists and lawyers in Uganda today and over the last several weeks anticipating this law being
signed by President Museveni. They are living in fear, frankly. They are worried that, of course, that they might face direct jail time based on
these laws, including a lifetime sentence for acts of homosexuality, and as you say for promoting homosexuality.
And that is very broad. It means that those teaching in schools, sexual education could run afoul of the law. It is also a provision in that law to
say that neighbors and family members need to out those who they believe are LGBT to the authorities, in some cases under punishment of the law.
And there's also the worry that people will be blackmailed now because of this law and the general sense from the community that I've been speaking
to, that people will just take the law into their own hands. And we've seen this happening in other countries, including Ghana, where a similar law has
been pushed, if not yet signed, by the president. Zain.
ASHER: All right, Dave McKenzie, live for us, thank you so much. Turkey's opposition leader is warning of hard days ahead, after the country's
president survived the biggest test of his political career to secure an unprecedented third term. Recep Tayyip Erdogan received 52 percent of the
vote in Sunday's runoff election, while his challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, won a nearly 48 percent.
But the newly elected president faces some big challenges ahead, including a looming economic crisis. Critics, meanwhile, worry about Erdogan's
increasingly authoritarian rule and his close relationship with Vladimir Putin.
CNN's Nada Bashir joins us live now from Istanbul. So, Nada, we knew sort of going into last week that there was a strong possibility that President
Erdogan would remain, would emerge victorious here, but this wasn't an easy victory for him. The fact that Kemal Kilicdaroglu came within striking
distance of the presidency here must be cause for concern. What does President Erdogan change, if anything from this moment forward?
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, you're absolutely right, Zain. And this is actually something that the opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu touched
on yesterday, addressing President Erdogan's victory. He said that this is a clear message, that there is a large portion of the Turkish population
that wants change after more than two decades of leadership by President Erdogan. And there are some huge challenges ahead for the president as he
enters this next term.
Of course, the economy is a big focus, the aftermath of the earthquake, and of course, real questions around the state of democracy. And that was
something that Kilicdaroglu also touched on questions around the democratic freedoms of Turkish people under Erdogan's leadership and that is a real
But we were outside the AK Party headquarters yesterday where supporters of President Erdogan
had gathered upon hearing of this victory. They were telling us that for them, this was a vote for political stability, a vote for the vision that
President Erdogan has for Turkey's future. Take a look.
BASHIR (voice-over): Cheers of triumph, a declaration of victory. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan securing yet another term in office. After a closely
fought runoff election on Sunday, Erdogan of the incumbent AK Party came away with just over 52 percent of the vote, according to preliminary
results. A comfortable win in the face of what many analysts believe to be his biggest political challenge in over two decades.
BASHIR (on-camera): We're here outside the AK Party headquarters in Istanbul. You can see the crowds behind me. Thousands of President Erdogan
supporters have gathered to celebrate his election victory. And there is a real sense of jubilation, of triumph here. These are some of his most
UNKNOWN (through translator): We love him very much. He is our father, our grandfather, our everything. We voted for him because we trust him. We love
him very much. We are always with him.
BASHIR (voice-over): In the opposition camp, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of an alliance of opposition parties, fell by more than two million votes
behind Erdogan. A bitter blow to a once optimistic coalition, hopeful for change in Turkey.
KEMAL KILICDAROGLU, TURKISH OPPOSITION LEADER: In this election, the will of the people will change an authoritarian government it came to despite
all the pressures.
BASHIR (voice-over): The challenges ahead for the president are many. Chief, among them, the economy. Turkey is in the depths of a severe cost of
living crisis, with soaring inflation and a plummeting lira, caused in large part by Erdogan's own unorthodox monetary policies. Meanwhile, anger
over the state's poor preparation and chaotic response to February's devastating earthquake is still raw, with more than 50,000 people killed
and millions more displaced by the disaster.
On the global stage, Turkey's strongman has cemented the country's place as an influential power broker in the region, sometimes at the cost of
straining relations with the West. But at home, his leadership has stoked fears over the future of democracy in Turkey.
Over recent years, Erdogan has doubled down on quashing dissent, centralizing his grip on state power and ensuring his near total influence
over the country's media. Despite criticism, supporters maintain that this is a win for political stability. For opponents, however, Sunday's result
has only deepened fears that the country could be heading ever closer towards authoritarian territory.
BASHIR (on-camera): Look Zain, this is a real blow to Turkey's opposition. It's the first time we've seen them so unified behind a single candidate,
six parties from very different ends of the political spectrum coming together. But when we spoke to voters and supporters of the opposition,
they told us that while they did expect President Erdogan to win, in modest words, a disappointment they hope that this is a first step for the
opposition, that this could well put them in a good place for the next coming presidential elections here in Turkey.
ASHER: All right, Nada Bashir, live for us, thank you so much. Nigeria's new president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has been officially sworn into the office
during a ceremony in Abuja. It comes despite an ongoing legal challenge to his election from the country's opposition. And that's not the only test
that he's facing. Mr. Tinubu is inheriting a struggling economy, growing insecurity and widespread poverty and hunger. But he is vowing to reunite
the deeply divided nation.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are turning up the pressure today on members of their own parties. They're
trying to convince lawmakers to support their agreement to limit non- defense spending and raise the debt ceiling. It's a race against time because Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the U.S. could default on its
debt one week from today. To avoid that, the deal must pass both the House and the Senate. Still, both sides remain optimistic
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Mr. President, what do you say to members of your own party who say you have too many concerns on this deal?
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: They'll find I didn't.
KEVIN MCCARTHY, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: I think you're going to get a majority of Republicans voting for this bill. This is a good bill for the American
public. The president agreed with this bill. So, I think there's going to be a lot of Democrats that go vote for it, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: CNN's Lauren Fox is live on Capitol Hill. Just to Kevin McCarthy's point there, just how hard will it be to get progressives on board? You
think about the fact that this deal reinstates student loan payments? It also imposes work requirements for certain entitlement programs? Just walk
us through what that will mean for getting progressives on board.
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zain, the reality is that this was always going to be a bill that passed because moderates in
both parties, in the Republican Party and in the Democratic Party, rallied together to support it. On both sides of the aisle, the expectation is that
they are going to lose some members on the Democratic side, on the left flank, some of those progressives, on the Republican side, from the right
flank, some of those members of the House Freedom Caucus already expressing concerns, many of them saying that they will not vote for this proposal.
So, the focus for leadership at this moment is making sure that they can find that coalition in the middle. There is a furious attempt today to whip
these votes, both from Republicans and Democrats. The White House doing a series of very detailed briefings trying to help their members understand
what these provisions are, including some of the provisions that are now updated so that there's a stricter work requirement on programs like food
Like you noted, that is something that progressives are opposed of, something that they have expressed a lot of concern about. But at the end
of the day, their votes may not be needed. There is already a key group of Democrats, the New Dems, which is about a hundred members.
There's also another group of Republicans and Democrats who are already expressing that they are going to support this in large numbers. So, the
key here is to get 218 votes, but that coalition is just going to look very different than what it typically looks like in the House of
Representatives, where usually you have these votes passing along party lines. Zain.
ASHER: It's going to be the case this time, a little bit more complicated than that. Lauren Fox, live for us there. Thank you so much.
Russia is stepping up its aerial assault on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and is apparently changing tactics by launching missile and drone attacks
during the day, not just at night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: This video shows children screaming in fear as they run to a shelter. Ukraine says its air defenses shot down dozens of cruise missiles
and drones launched at the capital. But even missiles that get shot down still, of course, pose a danger. This falling debris almost hit a car after
Ukraine intercepted a missile attack.
Ukrainian military officials are vowing swift retaliation for the Russian aerial attacks. All of this comes as Ukraine's top general hints that his
country's counteroffensive could be imminent.
CNN's Sam Kiley joins us live now from eastern Ukraine. And Sam, you've actually just spent some time with recruits who could see the front line
any day now. What did you learn?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, Zain. I mean, in the context of what's going on in Kyiv, clearly the Russians are
returning to their tactic of trying to go after targets where they could maximize the death and damage they do to civilian infrastructure and to
people themselves. And that has provoked commanders here on the ground, not really threatening retaliation, but once again saying that the imminent
counteroffensive is just that. It is close and it is threatening to Russia. But Ukrainians themselves are under no illusions as to what that would mean
to ordinary soldiers themselves.
KILEY (voice-over): These are new recruits training. They could be on the front line in a couple of weeks. Getting a whole load of blue on blue. In
training, mistakes are harmless.
KILEY: And what happened to you?
MAKSIM, UKRAINIAN RECRUIT: I got hit me in the face by a pellet.
KILEY: How long have you been doing this training?
MAKSIM: Two months. I recently joined the army. So, for now, I'm here for two months training.
KILEY: What do you think about the coming offensive? Do you wanna get involved?
MAKSIM: Yes, I do.
KILEY: You're not worried?
MAKSIM: I think we're going to win.
KILEY (on-camera): These are young men, they've been having quite a lot of fun running around in the woods and sometimes things get quite funny. But
ultimately, this business is deadly serious.
KILEY (voice-over): These recruits could be weeks away from combat. Pretend war, turning to this where death is all too real.
UNKNOWN (through translator): He's not breathing. He's not breathing.
KILEY (voice-over): Wounded Veteran Colonel Olexandr Piskun runs the training.
OLEKSANDR PISKUN, COLONEL, UKRAINIAN NATIONAL GUARD (through translator): I know what it's like to lose loved ones but this is war and there is no
other way out. Of course, once the unit goes into action, some of these guys will die. They are all aware of that.
KILEY (voice-over): That experience is hard won. Oleksandr came face to face with the Russian, who shot him in Bakhmut last week.
KILEY: What would you say to young volunteers or conscripts joining now?
PISKUN (through translator): That you have to be prepared for anything, to be prepared for the good and the bad.
KILEY (voice-over): The hospital's got plans for dealing with Ukraine's offensive, which is expected this summer.
IHOR, UKRAINIAN ARMY: they will be tough to force back. Hard. They won't give up territory that easily. It's going to be a big fight.
KILEY (voice-over): Colonel Piskun knows that this will not be his last memorial service. This military cemetery has space to grow. Soldiers are
confronted with grim truth here, that many young men are forever entombed in this parade of graves.
KILEY (on-camera): Now, Zain, clearly that is a rather grim reminder of what really happens here to so many Ukrainian forces, but this is also a
message that the Ukrainians have been trying to send to the Russians now for some time, both with the attacks against their logistics bases which
have been increasing, but also with wide range of their own social media posts, all suggesting to the Russians that they might want to think about
running away rather than fighting.
ASHER: All right, Sam Kiley, live for us there, thank you so much. The opening round of the French Open did not fall short of drama. The crowd at
Roland Garros booed the Ukrainian Tennis Player Marta Kosciuk after she refused to shake hands with her Belarusian opponent, Aryna Sabalenka,
following her defeat. Mink has been one of Moscow's, Minks rather, has been one of Moscow's staunchest allies during the Russia's 15th month war on
Ukraine. In a post-match interview, Sabalenka says her rival didn't deserve the crowd's negative response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARYNA SABALENKA, BELARUSIAN TENNIS PLAYER: I understand why they're not shaking hands with us. I can imagine if they're going to shake hands with
us and then what's gonna to happen to them from Ukrainian side. So, I understand that and I understand that this is not kind of like personally,
you know. That's it. And I think probably she don't deserve -- not probably. I think she don't deserve to be --yeah --to leave the court that
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Russian and Belarusian players are currently competing as neutral athletes without their flag or country displayed. Visitors in Venice were
in for a bit of a shock when the famous Grand Canal turned bright green over the weekend. Authorities are trying to figure out what caused the
water to take on the fluorescent hue. The curious coloring comes as the city is celebrating a boating event. Barbie Nadeau has more on the
BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Venetians are used to just about anything happening in their beloved Grand Canal. Tourists
jumping into it, even surfing in it. They're used to high water, low water. But on Sunday, they were seeing green. At first, one city official was sure
it was another episode of climate activism, giving the term going green a whole new meaning.
None of the groups usually involved took credit. Instead, the region's president announced on Twitter that authorities believe a tracing agent
used in small quantities to find leaks in underwater structures somehow got spilled into the water. He says it isn't dangerous for the canal's flora or
fauna and hopes it doesn't give climate activists any ideas for their next stunt. Officials say they don't know how long it will keep the canal system
looking like slime or exactly how to get rid of it. Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, Rome.
ASHER: All right, still to come here. This is what driving through a wildfire looks like in scary moments as one family tries to flee the flames
in Canada. We'll have an update for you when we come back. And we'll take a deep dive into Turkey's election and look at whether President Erdogan's
third term will be any different than the first two.
ASHER: Dashcam video showing some scary moments there as one family tries to flee a wildfire engulfing parts of Canada. The flames and smoke make it
almost impossible to drive. The eastern Canadian city of Halifax has declared a state of emergency for seven days. Dozens of homes were damaged.
Thousands evacuated from the area and power temporarily disconnected. The wildfire sent a huge amount of smoke over the port city. Strong winds and
tinder dry woods are hampering rescue services.
Let's take a closer look at one of our top stories, the presidential runoff election in Turkey. Now that the election is in the rear-view mirror.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has to confront Turkey's mounting problems. The biggest by far, of course, as we've said many times here is, of course,
the economy. Turkey has a double-digit inflation which now sits at a whopping 44 percent but instead of raising rates to combat inflation,
President Erdogan has kept rates down. That means more spending which actually triggers more inflation.
Meantime, the value of the lira earlier hit a new record low against the dollar in a reaction to President Erdogan's victory. The government has
been propping up the value of the lira. When that ends it is sure to lead to even further economic challenges.
This, as Turkey is still reeling from the February earthquake that claimed 50,000 lives across the region. Many blamed shoddy construction rules and
the government's chaotic response for making it worse. And then there's a 3 million Syrian refugees that fled to Turkey during the country's decade-old
civil war. The Turkish President is promising to resettle one million of them in Syria.
We are joined live now by Gonul Tol, she is the Director of the Middle East Institute's Center for Turkish Studies. Thank you so much for being with
us. So, why is it that so many of President Erdogan's supporters have been so ready and willing to shrug off some of the major economic challenges
that Turkey is facing? They're supporting him no matter what.
GONUL TOL, DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE'S CENTER FOR TURKISH STUDIES: That's right. And I think the main reason there is Turkey is a deeply
polarized country facing extreme uncertainty.
And that uncertainty has been triggered by a serious economic crisis and the refugee influx, millions of Syrian refugees living in the country,
institutional breakdown. So, the country, the voters are facing this extreme uncertainty, but yet they are very polarized, and mostly thanks to
Erdogan's polarizing rhetoric policies in the last few years.
So, in polarized societies, both sides -- they view elections as an existential war for survival. And that's why it's very difficult for them
to defect, to change their voting behavior based on policy preferences or the incumbents, in this case, Erdogan's performance or opposition's
promises. They stick together because they see this as an existential war.
ASHER: So, given that the country is so polarized and so divided, as you mentioned, I mean, I guess the number one priority aside from the economy
is bringing the country together again, healing the divisions. Is that a priority for President Erdogan, do you think?
TOL: Well, judging by his victory speech from last night, I don't think so. He delivered one of his most aggressive polarizing speeches -- Balkan
speeches in his 20 years in power. He attacked the LGBTQ community. He attacked, he called the opposition parties terrorists. So, I think he will
double down on that polarizing rhetoric. He will double down on the culture war, and he will further depress his political opponents. So, I think
difficult days are ahead for the country's pro-democracy forces.
ASHER: So, he's likely gonna double down but just the fact that Kemal Kilicdaroglu really did come within striking distance of President Erdogan
essentially losing his job. Surely, this entire election, the first election and the second round must be a wake-up call for President Erdogan.
He could have lost his job here. What should change going forward, if anything? Do you think that that will change the calculation in terms of
how he governs the country?
TOL: Well, I think in previous elections, too, the opposition did well. But I think right now his priority has to handle -- has to be handling the
country's economic problems. I think that should be number one priority.
Now, the question there is, is he going to change course on that? Because previously, as you just mentioned, he pursued a very unorthodox economic
policy, and that led to a serious economic crisis, double-digit inflation.
And he, on the campaign trail, signaled that he was not gonna change force. But I don't think that's gonna be an option for him, because, again, he
will be facing a very unstable domestic context. And he has to deliver on the economic front, which requires him to change course.
ASHER: One of the things that is interesting is that Kilicdaroglu basically said that he has no plans to contest the results. But that doesn't mean
that he believes that the election was fair. He talked about, you know, the fact that Erdogan obviously had state resources at his disposal and a lot
of media sway.
Based on that, was the selection fair, do you think?
TOL: No, it certainly was not fair. And Turkey, let's remember, is an autocracy. It's not a democratic country. And autocracy is, by definition,
elections are not free or fair. And Erdogan used, Erdogan tilted the playing field so much in his favor that it's not even possible, I think,
for us to talk about how free the elections were.
International observers often point out that elections in Turkey are unfair, but they are mostly free. And I think we have to really change our
way of thinking about elections in Turkey, because Erdogan has changed the rules of the game and in the days leading up to the elections, he
suppressed, he hindered the opposition's efforts to get its message across. He controls media. He even changed the rules of the game to such an extent
that I don't think it's possible for us to call the elections free anymore.
ASHER: Yeah, I thought it was interesting what you just said there that international observers have pointed out the actions. I mean you might
disagree with this, but some people were saying that they might have been free, but they certainly were not fair that Erdogan had completely sort of
tilted the game in his favor. And that is why it was more likely from the get-go that he would emerge victorious here.
All right, Gonul Tol, thank you so much for being with us, we appreciate it. All right, still to come, after pounding Guam, we'll show you where
Typhoon Mawa is headed next and when it might start to weaken, when we come back.
ASHER: Hello and welcome back to ONE WORLD. Let's catch up on the headlines. Typhoon Mawa is not going away just yet. The storm could bring
heavy rain to the northern Philippines and eastern Taiwan. The good news is that it's not expected to make a direct landfall. Forecasters say the
typhoon will begin to slow down and weaken as it heads north and into cooler waters, likely losing its typhoon status within the next few days.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is calling for Parliament to be dissolved and for a snap election to be held on July 23rd. His decision
came just hours after his left-wing coalition suffered stinging losses to conservatives in regional elections on Sunday.
And Uganda's President has signed one of the harshest anti-LGBTQ laws in the world. It includes the death penalty for, quote, aggravated
homosexuality, which includes sex with a minor, having sex while HIV positive, and incest. The west has strongly condemned the law. One activist
expressed grief and made an urgent plea for help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DELOVIE KWAGALA, UGANDAN ACTIVIST: Where are we supposed to go? You don't want us in your country. You're not giving us jobs. You're not giving us
education. You're not giving us medication. You are criminalizing people renting to us. Where do you want us to go?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Time now for the exchange. Our next guest says that while it is not safe to speak, he's willing to risk it. Pepe Onzijema is a Ugandan gay
rights activist and Program Director of Sexual Minorities, Uganda and Advocacy Network. He joins us live now from Kampala.
Pepe, thank you so much for being with us. We've talked a lot about the different facets of what's actually in this bill, but I think what can't be
understated here is the emotional trauma that is bound to be triggered for members of the gay community in Uganda when a bill like this gets signed
How are you doing?
PEPE ONZIEMA, UGANDAN GAY RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Thank you so much, Zain, for having me. I'm overwhelmed. I'm triggered. I'm strangely optimistic.
ASHER: So, we all know that Uganda had relatively tough anti-gay bills already. Obviously, this law takes things an entire step further. You've
been arrested seven times. Just walk us through how this law changes the calculation in terms of how you keep yourself safe. Because not only is it
a very aggressive bill towards members of the gay community in Uganda, but it's also aggressive towards any gay rights activists, for example, family
members, people who may know somebody who is in a same-sex relationship and who choose not to report them to the authorities are also at risk here, as
well. How do you know who to trust?
ONZIEMA: There's no one to trust. I mean, this morning when the news of the bill being assented to by the president came out, my phone was, I had back-
to-back phone calls, mixed people checking on me, members of the community, just being so afraid and needing someone to talk to, media houses, you
know, legal representatives, hotels, you know, people just kind of taking in and saying, okay, what do we do now?
This totally changes a lot of things. Before there was, I mean, there's still a law, the penal code is quite as harsh as it is. It's -- condemns
and punishes same-sex relations which under the law is described as criminal knowledge against the order of nature, which is also under, you
know, different other laws.
So, what this current law does is pick it and take it an extreme notch higher. As much as the issue of identity was removed, I'm an activist.
Activists like me are condemned by this bill that's even speaking to you, yourself and myself are criminalized under this law. Housing -- we already
have a high rate of homelessness within the LGBTQ community because there's no employment opportunities. There's banishment from homes, from clans,
from church. There's nowhere to go. And a country that is supposed to protect us is not protecting us.
Yes, I've been arrested several times. I lost hearing at some point until surgery in my left ear because of being beaten at a police station. Several
things have happened to me. Some of them unimaginable.
But this law now makes those things legitimate. That today, as I'm speaking to you, if someone attacked me here and dragged me out of, you know, the
space where I'm speaking to you from, you know, it's legitimized.
The law legalizes any form of discrimination, any form of violence against LGBTQ persons and people who defend the LGBTQ community in any way, be it a
parent, be it a teacher, be it a doctor, be it a media person who's trying to understand the plight of LGBTQ persons. Be it a lawyer, for instance,
many people are talking about petitioning the law but that in itself alone can also be a criminal act because you're trying to speak positively or to
defend or to protect a community that is being criminalized under this law.
So, several things. The death penalty is just a shocker for all of us. We thought at least that would be dropped out. I mean the entire law, we
thought it would be struck out. But as the hate grew, as the homophobia grew, we knew that the law is not going anywhere. But we thought maybe the
death penalty would be removed. But that hasn't been removed. It has been assented to -- in the copy that it was when the Parliament sent it back to
ASHER: I mean, not only is homophobia essentially legalized and condoned, it almost feels as though homophobia is actively encouraged. And even
though the President removed the aspect of the bill that sort of said that even if you identify as gay, you could be punished. That aspect was taken
out but that doesn't remove the fact that there will be people who, you know, want to be vigilantes, people sort of taking matters into their own
hands and going out into the gay community and seeking out people to report them to the authorities.
ONZIEMA: I mean, that is an important aspect of this, that even though the president removed probably the most dangerous part of it, it doesn't make
you any safer. It doesn't at all. Personally, I'm a non-face. I'm a non- name and people identify me, they pick me out in the crowd. I have my own ways of keeping safe but now those safety measures have been compromised
with this current law. And it doesn't even take anyone knowing that you are a member of the LGBTQ community. It's just a suspicion.
A lot of the violations that the community has faced has been based on what people suspect you to be. So, even that suspicion has been legalized that
you can think anything of anyone, of effeminate men or male individuals or masculine presenting females. So, this is really a legalized witch hunt on
the community or for anyone who looks different.
Of course, for people like me who have been outspoken and who are still speaking, that even makes it more risky for a person like me. And what
we've been saying to the Ugandan society and the Ugandan community and everyone else who is in solidarity with us is that this law is not about
homosexuality. And I want to say it again that this law is not about homosexuality. This law is a scapegoat.
ASHER: It's about using members of the gay community as a scapegoat. Right. That's what I was going to say.
ONZIEMA: Absolutely. Yes, yes. Absolutely. That's what this law is doing. Right. This law is putting quite a number of people in danger.
ASHER: Pepe, I'm so sorry that you're going through this. If we had more time to talk, I would have asked you what more the international community
can do to help in terms of putting pressure on the president, President Museveni. But we have to run, we have to leave it there. Pepe, we
appreciate you joining us on the show.
ONZIEMA: Thank you.
ASHER: And thank you so much for watching ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher. Stay with CNN. I'll be right back with Marketplace Africa.