Uganda parliament set to re-introduce anti-gay law

2014-08-06 13:11

Kampala - Uganda's parliament will try to re-introduce an anti-homosexuality law that was thrown out by a court, a lawmaker leading the effort said on Wednesday, a move that could once again damage relations with the West.

Last week, the east African country's constitutional court nullified the law, signed by President Yoweri Museveni in February, on a technicality, saying it had been passed by parliament without quorum.

That ruling - two days before the president flew to Washington for a US-Africa summit - appeared to have handed Museveni a way out of a dilemma by striking down a law that he had backed enthusiastically but which was condemned by Western countries and threatened vital aid and investment.

It was not immediately clear whether Museveni would support the bill a second time, if passed by parliament again.

"We're mobilising members to pledge their support for re-introduction of this bill when the House comes back from recess [in about two weeks' time]," Abdu Latif Ssebaggala, told Reuters.

Ssebaggala said he had started collecting signatures on Tuesday of members of parliament in favour of re-introducing the bill and that he expected to have over 200 - in a house of 383 members - by the end of Wednesday.

Homosexuality is taboo in much of Africa and is illegal in 37 countries there. But the punishments in Uganda were among the harshest.

Under the Anti-Homosexuality Act, the crime of "aggravated homosexuality" - someone with HIV having gay sex or anyone having gay sex with someone considered "vulnerable", such as a disabled person - was punishable by life in jail.

The United States, Uganda's biggest donor, called the law "atrocious" and compared it to anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany and apartheid in South Africa. In June, Washington reduced aid, imposed visa restrictions and cancelled a military exercise with Uganda in response.

The World Bank, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands also suspended or redirected aid. Sweden resumed financial support to Uganda last week.

Ssebaggala said that as the law had already been debated, it could be put directly to a vote.

During the bill signing, Museveni said homosexuality was emblematic of the West's "social imperialism" in Africa. Powerful Christian groups with links to US evangelical movements call homosexuality an imported Western social evil.

  • Brad Kavoki - 2014-08-06 13:39

    guess they were waiting for donor money to come through

  • Annette - 2014-08-06 13:41

    stop all international aid into Africa !!!!!!

      Chris Hougaard - 2014-08-06 14:05

      I dearly hope that you will be one of the first to suffer the negative consequences then.

      Alex Afrika - 2014-08-06 15:22

      And what will happen about their businesses in Africa?

  • Anakin Stealthwalker - 2014-08-06 13:51

    "Powerful Christian groups with links to US evangelical movements call homosexuality an imported Western social evil" RELIGION - again, interfering in everything... >>> Back from the future...>>>

      theJoPot - 2014-08-06 14:51

      @Michelle, thank you for actually understanding your faith. So many people pick and choose which parts of the bible suit them when relevant.

      WollieVerstege - 2014-08-06 15:57

      @Michelle Yes, most Christians argue from the fallacy of "The Greater Sin", i.e. that murder is worse than telling your wife a white lie to make her feel better. According to the bible ALL SIN is equal before God.

      Michael McN - 2014-08-06 19:26

      Amen to Michelle's post!

  • BarakYeshua ForPeace - 2014-08-06 15:07

    I don't really care where gays want to stick their poles, it is between consenting adults, but you can't compare Uganda's anti-gay laws to S.A Apartheid or the Nazis persecution of the Jews, because homosexuality is a choice, while your race is not. You can't change your race, but you CAN abstain from homosexual acts! So the argument from the USA does hold up to scrutiny. I agree that anyone having sex with another person, whether homosexual OR heterosexual, while they now they are HIV positive, should be jailed for life, as to me that is a criminal act - likened to murder!

      Tharina Van Der Westhuizen - 2014-08-06 15:25

      Barak how do you know homosexuality is a choice?

      LizK - 2014-08-06 15:37

      No, Barak, homosexuality is NOT a choice. Many homosexuals have, time and time again, made this clear to people like you who are extremely misinformed. A friend of mine has explained that when he realised that he is homosexual, he tried and tried to suppress it. He was severely bullied and ridiculed - all through this time he tried to "be straight" but he simply had no sexual attraction towards females. He didn't want to be gay, he didn't choose to be gay; if it was a mere 'choice' he would've chosen to be straight. You can't choose your race and you can't choose your sexuality. Persecution based on either of those factors makes you a straight up a55 hole.

      JJ Terblanche - 2014-08-06 15:53

      @BarakYeshua ForPeace, one can abstain from being stupid and uninformed too you know.

  • Willie Olivier - 2014-08-06 15:14

    So is taking fotos of yourself also a "sin" Taken any fotos of yourself lately Mambo Jambo?

  • Mundus Uys - 2014-08-06 15:47

    Where you stand on homosexuality is irrelevant. This is a matter of principle: Liberties of minorities must always be protected. Labeling homosexuality as "unafrican" or "an imported Western social evil" is such a primitive way of thinking. It reminds me of an interview with Julius Malema on 3rd degree, about Caster Semenya, when JM said he spoke to three chiefs and all of them agree that there is no such thing as intersex. Also, it appears most people think homosexuality is a choice - it is not. You are what you are and that's OK with me. South Africa should take a stand against the +-37 anti-gay countries in Africa.

  • Saffa - 2014-08-06 15:58

    If homo is genetic, why do homo men still have testicles and produce sperm, hm? And why do homo women still have ovaries and produce egg cells? What would a homosexual need perfectly functioning reproductive organs for?? What would the point be if their homo genes clearly determined that is was going to produce a homosexual?? No argument! Homo is in the mind and a lustfilled, perverse, vulgar personal choice. HOMO IS EVIL!!!

      Mundus Uys - 2014-08-06 16:21

      Saffa. Not everything genetic is visible from the outside - almost everyone has a brain (your goodself may be the exception if your comment is anything to go by). So, it is believed that homosexuality is a physical 'abnormality' in the brain. A tendency towards this 'abnormality' could be genetic but one's experiences during the formative years plays the biggest role. There is difference between mind and brain.

      Saffa - 2014-08-06 16:39

      Oh homos and their regulation insults. ''So it is believed.....'' and ''could''. Therefore it is not FACT. Btw they will NEVER find a biological reason for homo and they would have to prove how such an 'abnormality' (and thankyou for admitting homo is NOT normal) makes a person homo. (You would also have to explain how that works in bi's). Celebrating their choices naked on parade rafts?? HOMO IS LUST! And you know it. Any excuse and lie to not have to change.

      Mundus Uys - 2014-08-06 17:15

      Saffa. As requested, to explain how it works in bi's: Picture a line - one end is totally straight, the other, yeah you guessed it, is totally gay. One is born somewhere along the line, and your experiences during the formative years moves you left or right along the line. A bi will then be in the middle somewhere. (Of course there's not really a line) You can work out the NORMAL/ ABNORMAL debate with your dictionary - also check NORM I am glad you brought up their parades. Homosexuality is historically taboo in almost every culture, Africa is not unique in that respect. Every now and then, they take to streets, look as gay as can be, to show the overwhelming majority of hetero's they exist and to shock some sense into them. It worked for me, who grew up hating gays.

  • painted.canvas.9 - 2014-08-07 09:59

    Ok, the begging mission to Obama is over. Back to jungle mentality. Cut off all aid and investment to Uganda and other countries with shocking human rights records. Let them rot in their own misery,

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