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One of Uganda’s worst homophobes announces ‘miracle cure’ for coronavirus – but there’s a glaring problem

Josh Milton March 18, 2020
Coronavirus: One of Uganda's worst homophobes announces bogus 'cure'

Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Rebecca Kadaga, has claimed a "cure" of the coronavirus which vaguely sounds like... soap, sparking criticism. (Mustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A leading Ugandan lawmaker and one of the chief architects of the ‘Kill the Gays’ bill has claimed a “miracle cure” to the coronavirus which basically sounds like soap.

Yes, soap.

Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga announced Monday that a local pharmaceutical company will start producing a “cure” for COVID-19  in two weeks’ time.

In an address to parliament and a tweet, Kadaga described a “spray” which “instantly kills the coronavirus”, and its inventor donated the patent to Ugandan officials.

Uganda has no known reported cases of COVID-19, “not that we should be relaxed,” Kadaga stressed, “but there’s hope.”

Senior doctors and LGBT+ activists remain “sceptical” over the reported remedy, however.

Elsewhere, working at a breakneck pace, scientists are scrambling to identify a vaccine against the delicate but deadly virus that has killed more than 8,000 and sickened 200,000.

Ugandan politician claims ‘spray and hand-wash’ will beat coronavirus.

Kadaga has made many promises in her time as speaker.

In 2012, she vowed to pass a piece of legislation that would have introduced the death penalty for gay sex as a “Christmas present” to Ugandans.

Her latest is promising the people of Uganda a cure to a pandemic that has winnowed chaos across the world, and one that Ugandan officials are bracing themselves to experience.

“A professor who manufactured a treatment for coronavirus in the US was here last week and has donated the patent to Uganda,” she told parliament.

“And within a fortnight, the treatment will be right here in Uganda.”

The treatment, she claimed, stem from Indian “inventor” Sarfaraz Niazi and will be made by a company called “Dei International”.

Kadaga shared video footage of Niazi, an adjunct professor of biopharmaceutical sciences at the University of Illinois and the University of Houston, meeting with Ugandan president Yoweri Musevenu.

Businessman Mathias Magoola, according to local media, met with the president to pitch the professor’s “spray and hand-wash”.

Holes poked in Ugandan parliament speaker’s ‘coronavirus cure’.

But backlash bubbled as countless Twitter users extinguished Kadaga’s announcement.

Magoola’s rap sheet of being arrested for fraud, Niazi’s lofty credentials and how the fabled “cure” sounds like soap all became lightning rods for criticism aimed at Kadaga.

Kaguma, seemingly stung by criticism, sought to tamper them down by sketching out Niazi’s seemingly spotless track record.

In the Tuesday tweet, she claimed the professor was the “brainchild” of Obamacare and has penned “five technical books”, all of which she has on her desk.

Little record appears to exist on Niazi’s involvement with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, other than sparse press clippings.

On his press page, the moustachioed and often hatted author references a Medium blog post that profiles him which mentions him as being a “good friend” of former US president Barack Obama.

Indeed, in the post, the writer details how Niazi has laboured to make medicine more affordable and accessible as part of his involvement in the act.

When combing through the University of Illinois directory, Niazi’s name does not appear as a faculty member.

Moreover, the Spring 2015 alumni magazine produced by the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy profiled him and said that he graduated from the school in 1970. However, it does not reference his alleged involvement in the historic legislation.

Ugandans ‘will be the losers’ if treatment exposed as false, warns LGBT+ activist and medics. 

Edwin Sesange, of the African Equality Foundation, said in a statement: “I am sceptical of the scientific innovation commissioned by the president who twisted science to justify gay hate and criminalisation of LGBT+ people in Uganda.

“Of course, Sesange and everyone would dearly love the claims to be true.

“But in reality, we suspect Museveni and Kadaga’s charlatanism is about to be exposed again.

And, just as with their anti-LGBT+ laws, the people of Uganda will be the losers.

Uganda Medical Association chiefs also decried the speaker’s claim.

They stressed in a press release that caution must be exercised, and said: “To date, there is no single medicine that can cure this disease or a vaccine that can prevent it, much as many are being tested. 

“We express particular displeasure about the quack cadre scientists who desire to misinform the leadership of our country.

“From what we understand, whatever was purported as a treatment, cure or vaccine is actually a disinfectant meant for external body use.

“It’s unlikely the same has approval by the USA Food and Drug Administration where it is claimed to have come from.

“Why would the USA give the patent of a potential cure to country with not a single case when it has several thousand cases?”

More: Coronavirus, COVID-19, kill the gays bill, Uganda

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