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Former South African president Mbeki slams ‘kill the gays’ bill

Former South African president Mbeki slams ‘kill the gays’ bill

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has hit out at Uganda's 'kill the gays' bill during a visit to the country.

Speaking at a public question and answer session in Kampala on Thursday, Mbeki slammed Ndorwa West MP David Bahati’s bill, which seeks the death penalty or life imprisonment for homosexuals, saying what two consenting adults do in private 'is really not the matter of law.'

'Sexual preferences are a private matter,' said Mr Mbeki. 'I don’t think it is a matter of the state to intervene.'

Mbeki went on to liken the bill to apartheid South Africa's Immorality Act which banned sexual relations 'across the colour lines' and allowed police to 'raid people's bedrooms at night.'

He added: 'I mean what would you want? It doesn’t make sense at all.'

His comments will come as a boost to gay rights activists in the African nation and follows claims by Ugandan ambassador to the US, Perezi K Kamunanwire, that the bill had now been shelved.

South African gay rights group SA GLAAD have applauded Mbeki, thanking him on Facebook and Twitter.

However, speaking to Uganda's Daily Monitor, Bahati said the bill was brought to curb several issues including inducement, recruitment and funding homosexuality.

'His Excellency [Mbeki] needs to read the bill and understand the spirit in which it was brought and the context in which we are talking about.'