‘Kill the gays’ bill dead, says Ugandan ambassador

Ugandan ambassador to US, Kamunanwire, says anti-gay bill will not be reconsidered.

‘Kill the gays’ bill dead, says Ugandan ambassador
18 January 2012

Uganda's ambassador to the US says the African country will not be pursuing the controversial 'kill the gays' bill.

Ambassador Perezi K. Kamunanwire said the proposed law, which, if enacted, would make homosexuality punishable by death or life imprisonment, is no longer up for debate.

The news follows an angry exchange between Kamunanwire and the philanthropic organization the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), who 'blindsided and startled' the Ugandan official with a letter asking him to discuss the anti-homosexuality bill during a scheduled speech at a Martin Luther King Day event in Greenbelt.

The ambassador responded angrily by withdrawing a keynote speaker at the event on Monday.

In a letter to William F Stasior, chairman of the UNCF board of directors, Kamunanwire said he had been invited to speak on education-related issues at the King Day event and didn't want to distract from the black civil rights hero's 'legacy'.

The ambassador's letter, obtained by the Washington Blade website, goes on to claim that Lomax's assumptions that Uganda’s existing laws and policies result in anti-gay persecution were false.

'It is important to note that Uganda does not have such policies,' he added, claiming the so-called 'kill the gays' bill was introduced by a single member of the Uganda Parliament and was never officially debated or passed.

Kamunanwire continued: 'Contrary to popular belief, it is not being reconsidered.

'This has been explained to the US government, Department of State, and several other concerned parties to their satisfaction.'

The New York Times and international human rights activists reported in October that the Uganda Parliament voted to reopen a debate on the anti-homosexuality bill, which was first introduced in 2009.

Some of the activists cited a report by Uganda’s Daily Mail newspaper as saying that Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga confirmed that the bill had been sent to several committees for consideration last October and could be brought to a vote.

The US government expressed concern last year after prominent Ugandan gay activist David Kato was found dead in his home, bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

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