Uganda’s ‘kill the gays’ bill is hurting the country’s economy, claims a senior government minister.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was widely expected to go before the African nation’s parliament before Christmas but was delayed. It further criminalizes homosexuality and even demands the death penalty for repeat ‘offenders’ among others.
The draconian bill has sparked outrage from the international community and Keith Muhakanizi, the deputy secretary to the Treasury, has now admitted the controversy over the proposed legislation is having a damaging effect on the country’s coffers.
During a debate with other MPs, he slammed politicians for not recognizing the long-term potential damage the law could have on the country’s economy.
‘I have never seen a country like this where politicians hurt the economy instead of building it,’ he said, reported Ugandan publication The Observer.
Shadow finance minister Geoffrey Ekanya added he was concerned aid was being cut because of the bill.
The bill is tabled for debate again when parliament returns from the Christmas break on 4 February.
If 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’.