Uganda’s promise of passing a ‘kill the gays’ bill as a Christmas present looks unlikely to happen now as parliament enters its last day before it breaks until the New Year.
The proposed law would give life in jail for gay sex and even the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’.
However, despite the Anti-Homosexuality Bill listed under a ‘notice of business to follow’ on the Uganda parliamentary schedule for the last two weeks, it has steadily slipped further down the agenda.
The bill now languishes in seventh place on the list of topics to be discussed once the main work of the day has been completed – meaning there is little or no realistic chance of a debate taking place.
Parliament is due to close today and it is unlikely the bill will be raised again until politicians return in January 2013, despite Speaker Rebecca Kadaga promising the law as a ‘Christmas present’ to her homophobic supporters.
There are also signs that the government is trying to distance itself from the proposed legislation after Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi suggested Uganda was not ready to proceed with the bill because the penal code already provides penalties for homosexuality.
Speaking to Uganda’s WBS TV, he said: ‘We know that in our own penal code, we carried this from the British. We amended this law.
‘That particular provision was amended. So it is unlawful already. So to the extent that it is unlawful, and the attempt in this bill to repeat what is already unlawful, is not something we’ll support, supporting what is already in the bill. Why? Why won’t we support it? Because it’s already covered.’
However, he did hint at the possibility of passing a law banning the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality, similar to those passed in Russia.
If the bill is eventually passed, men or women who have gay sex could be imprisoned for life – even if he or she merely ‘touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality’.
Those guilty of ‘aggravated homosexuality’ include HIV positive people who have gay sex or ‘serial offenders’. They will be executed.
The bill originated in 2009 but was shelved due to international pressure.
It was put back on the agenda by Kadaga who believes gay people pose a ‘serious threat’.
Meanwhile it has emerged that the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, blessed Kadaga during a mass attended by thousands of pilgrims at the Vatican yesterday (13 December) – despite her planning the judicial murder of gay people.
The homophobic Speaker called the encounter a ‘moment that cannot be repeated’.
She added: ‘We have been reading about him, hearing stories about St Peter’s Basilica but now we are here physically. I think it is something that I will remember all my life. Its a very great moment and I thank God for this opportunity.’
Watch the Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi speaking about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill below: