Julius Peter Oyet is a powerful and well-connected conservative evangelical Christian leader in Uganda who has used his ties to President Yoweri Museveni and other government officials, and his leadership positions within conservative evangelical networks, to encourage the demonization and persecution of LGBTI people.
David Bahati, the Ugandan legislator who sponsored the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, named Oyet to a task force in 2009 to seek funds for anti-LGBTI activism in Uganda and to mobilize support for the bill. In discussing the legislation, Oyet insisted that “it is not Uganda that is putting a death penalty on homosexuals. It is God and his word.” He has taken credit for helping to conceive and lobby for the legislation.
In April 2011, Oyet worked alongside Martin Ssempa—another well-known Ugandan religious leader and key figure behind the Anti-Homosexuality Bill—to generate support for a petition warning that advocates for LGBTI rights were recruiting youth to engage in homosexual acts. Claiming that the petition had two million signatures, Ssempa and Oyet presented it to the Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, who is now the country’s vice president. “We cannot allow one of the top pillars of our culture and civilization to crumble,” Oyet warned.
Oyet is a key leader of Born Again Faith—Uganda. The association claims that “born-again Christians” constitute 12 percent of Uganda’s population of about 35 million people, and that its goal is to double the number of evangelical churches in Uganda by 2020. One of its “core doctrinal values” is that “we must firmly stand against and denounce homosexuality, adultery, sexual perversion, [and] scientific interference with natural human progeny.” Oyet has called for the imprisonment and possible execution of “practicing homosexuals” and has said that “even animals are wiser than homosexuals.”
Though Oyet often wears the purple liturgical garments traditionally worn by consecrated Anglican bishops, his religious and political authority comes from his ties to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). An NAR “apostle,” Oyet is president of the College of Prayer Uganda, part of a global network of similar NAR colleges, and he travels frequently to the United States to speak in churches, train leaders of the movement, and raise funds for his work in Africa.
In his role as an apostle, Oyet ordained Christine Ondoa as a pastor in his Life Line Ministries network. Odnoa, who is also a pediatrician, has claimed that HIV/AIDS can be cured through prayer. She was named Uganda’s minister of health in 2011, and Museveni named her the director general of the Ugandan AIDS Commission in 2014.
For more details, see American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism.