8 February 2012

Uganda: Government Resurrects Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Photo: riekhavoc
A protest at the Ugandan mission to the United Nations: The country's cabinet is amending a proposed anti-gay law after strong foreign protests (file photo).

The controversial Anti-homosexuality Bill, 2009, is among the 10 Bills that were re-tabled in Parliament yesterday.

The mover of the private members Bill, also Ndorwa West legislator, Mr David Bahati, re-tabled the Bill for its first reading.

"Our Bill, our kids," the legislators shouted in unison as others gave Bahati a standing ovation.

The Speaker, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, who presided over yesterday afternoon's session, was quick to announce that the Bill must be expeditiously scrutinised and brought back to the House.


"The Bill will be committed to the relevant committee for expeditious scrutiny and back to the House," Ms Kadaga said.

The Bill is among the 22 pending Bills that expired with the Eighth Parliament. Proposed in 2009, the Bill outlaws homosexuality and introduces stringent penalties for those convicted.

If passed into law, gay adults who have sex with those of the same gender under 18, will be hanged.

Gay sex is illegal in Uganda and MPs supported their colleague to have it banned. However, human rights activists and the international community protested the Bill saying it was infringing on the rights and freedom of gays.

The donors also threatened to cut their aid to Uganda if such a Bill was passed into law.

President Museveni had in 2010 indicated that the government would bow down to international pressure as the matter had become a foreign policy and needed further consultation before Parliament can pronounce itself on it.

Just last year, Mr Frank Mugisha, a Ugandan gay activist, was presented a Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in Washington, the first time the award was bestowed on an advocate for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.

When a gay rights activist David Kato was killed, the West branded Uganda a 'gay killing nation'.

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