Uganda president says he won’t sign anti-gay law without question

President Yoweri Museveni’s is all that stands in the way of the most viciously anti-gay bill written in the world for years becoming law

Uganda president says he won’t sign anti-gay law without question
26 December 2013

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has said he will not just sign the new Anti-Homosexuality Bill without checking it carefully.

The bill, passed by parliament in a shock move last week, no longer has the death penalty for gays, but does offer life in prison for repeat homosexuals.

It also requires people in authority, including persons exercising religious or social authority, gay or straight, to report offences under the act within 24 hours or else face imprisonment for three years or a fine.

Museveni attended Christmas prayers in Mbarara, a town in west Uganda, and said he would push the bill back to parliament if he didn’t agree with it.

‘I will first go through it, if I find that it is right I will sign but if I find that it is not right I will send it back to parliament,’ he said.

He was responding to a demand by Uganda’s Head of the Pentecostal Churches, Apostle Joseph Serwadda, calling on him to sign the bill into law.

Meanwhile a prominent Ugandan ragga musician has spoken out against the bill on his Facebook page.

Bebe Cool said: ‘I can’t support the bill. Did the parliament know some people are born gay?

‘Does the parliament know what position they are putting the president and Uganda as a whole in, in the face of the international community?

‘Don’t u think those who are gay in Uganda now have their same equal rights as humans? And if your son became gay, would you want them to be taken to jail?

‘In my view it’s a one-way ticket to international rejection.’

He went on to suggest it was a plot by the opposition to create a political problem for Museveni.

‘The president if he signs it is in an international dilemma or if does not sign it he is in a local dilemma.

‘I didn’t say I am supportive of gayism but neither do we have a right to condemn them. Merry Xmas to you all, gay or not gay.’

Responding, Ugandan Edwin Sesange, director of the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, again appealed to Museveni not to sign and also to scrap the current law criminalizing homosexuality, Section 145 of the penal code.

He told Gay Star News: ‘The bill violates the Ugandan constitution, Commonwealth Charter 2013 and the African Charter on Human Rights. It does not even conform to the parliament’s own Human Rights Checklist.

‘The bill is scaring away foreign investors, expatriates, tourists and foreign donors. They fear to be blackmailed and prosecuted under this bill and Section 145 of the Penal Code. This affects the innocent people of Uganda economically.

‘For years Uganda used to be known as the Pearl of Africa, a peaceful and tolerant nation and a magnet for foreign investors. However the atrocities of past political leaders tarnished its international image.

‘The current president has done a lot to change the above image but now the bill is tarnishing Uganda’s international image and moral fibers.

‘Uganda is a country well known for mob justice, blackmail, mistreatment and abuse of detainees by the police.

‘Even though the government will find it hard to enforce this bill, it will be easily used by the anti-gay vigilantes. The witch-hunt of all those perceived to be LGBTI and those supporting them will increase. Even heterosexuals might be victims.’

He said the people of Uganda have been deceived into thinking the bill is about tackling rape and sexual violence – but laws already exist against such acts.

He added: ‘We know President Museveni has always championed good causes like the fight against HIV and AIDS the struggle for women equality, regional peace, and the rights of the minorities like squatters.

‘The president accepts LGBTI people exist in Uganda and have always existed; therefore legislating against their existence will only incite violence against them.

‘President Museveni prides himself as a liberator and a protector of all Ugandans. This bill however is not liberating neither protects any individual.

‘We are calling on the President of Uganda not to sign this bill into law and also eliminate Section 145. Even though the parliament has passed the bill the president can use his powers to veto the bill.

‘The bill was passed without the right quorum and it was not on the parliament order book. We are calling on the rest of the Members of Parliament to oppose it when it comes back to the parliament.’

Like Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Sesange has promised to fight the bill through peaceful means and called for international help.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Mexico's first openly gay mayor takes office to fight drug cartels

47-year-old Benjamin Medrano is foregoing marriage equality campaigns as mayor to ensure the safety of his town's 23,000 citizens
Pat Robertson tells gay man he can overcome his 'tendency' if he starts acting like a man

Pat Robertson tells gay man he can overcome his 'tendency' if he starts acting like a man

Says anti-gay televangelist: 'It is a miracle but God can do it'
No thumbnail available

AIDS conference honors researchers and activists who died in MH17 plane crash

'It's a really important time for what we think everyone needs, which is a space to grieve and to respect the six members of our community that died on MH17'
No thumbnail available

Jake Gyllenhaal takes it as 'huge compliment' if you think he's gay

Also says Brokeback Mountain co-star Heath Ledger's death like losing a family member
No thumbnail available

Monstrously good speakers up for grabs

GSN loves mini-monster speakers so much, we're giving them away to lucky readers
No thumbnail available

Happy birthday Sam Smith: his 23 most amazing moments so far

Following his Top Male Artist award win at last night's Billboard Music Awards, we count down the best of the birthday boy – from Brits to Grammys to shirtless selfies
No thumbnail available

At attorney general's request, same-sex marriages in Indiana halted by appeals court

But Lambda Legal vows that 'Greg Zoeller will not have the last word, justice will'
No thumbnail available

Eurovision finals: a smorgasboard of glitz and glam

The European Song Contest reaches an epic conclusion with not one, but two gay kisses, and an appearance by Bonnie Tyler
No thumbnail available

Lohan: I did not attack club woman

Bisexual actress Lindsay Lohan claims she was at home so could not have assaulted a woman in a West Hollywood nightclub
No thumbnail available

Andrew Garfield wants to know why Spider-Man can't be gay (and involved with Michael B. Jordan)

'He’s so charismatic and talented ... we’d have interracial bisexuality!'