Museveni wants to water down anti-gay law

2014-08-12 16:04
Anti-Homosexual activists march on the streets of Kampala carrying placards. (Isaac Kasamani, AFP)

Anti-Homosexual activists march on the streets of Kampala carrying placards. (Isaac Kasamani, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kampala - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni wants to issue a watered-down version of a divisive anti-gay law, stripping out tough penalties for consenting adults, a ruling party lawmaker said on Tuesday.

The original version of the law passed in February punished gay sex with long prison terms and alarmed Western donors, some of whom withheld aid in protest. Uganda's constitutional court overturned it on a technicality this month.

"We agreed to come up with a new version that doesn't hurt our Western friends but also protects Ugandans", lawmaker Medard Bitekyerezo said.

Homosexuality remains taboo in many socially conservative African societies where some religious groups have branded it a corrupting Western import.


But governments seeking to criminalise gay sex have clashed with the more liberal attitudes from the Western governments they depend on for their aid. Donors finance about 20% of Uganda's annual budget.

Both the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and the opposition vowed to re-introduce the law after the constitutional court ruled it had been passed without the presence of the required number of lawmakers in parliament.

Bitekyerezo said Museveni told an NRM meeting late on Monday he backed its return, in a limited form.

"He said he wants the law back in the house but now says if two consenting adults go into their room and decide to be stupid, let them be", Bitekyerezo said.

"What he said he doesn't want, and which we must even increase the penalties, is recruitment of children and exploiting financially vulnerable youths", he added.

The new law would penalise the promotion of homosexuality and the "recruitment" of children and economically vulnerable groups into gay sex, Bitekyerezo said.

Western donors and gay rights groups in Uganda were not immediately available for comment on the new proposal.

Legislation banning the "promotion" of homosexuality in Russia and other countries has been regularly condemned by activists.

Bitekyerezo said the meeting had appointed a committee headed by the country's Vice President Kiwanuka Ssekandi to come up with a new version of the law, without saying when it might come before parliament.

During the bill's signing in February, Museveni said homosexuality was emblematic of the West's "social imperialism" in Africa.

Gay rights activists say it was actually colonial western powers who first criminalised homosexuality in many parts of the continent.

Read more on:    yoweri museveni  |  uganda  |  gay rights

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.