A new anti-gay bill will be top of the agenda in Uganda’s churches this Christmas as politicians return home to celebrate the holidays.
But it won’t just be a time for friends and families for members of the Ugandan parliament. They will also be starting an election campaign.
The party primaries to choose the next leader of Uganda are early next year and campaigning is already under way even though the final vote is not until 2016.
Speaking with Gay Star News Frank Mugisha, of Sexual Minorities Uganda, the world’s most famous LGBTI activist from the country, warned politicians will use the anti-gay message to whip up votes this Christmas.
The previous Anti-Homosexuality Act was scrapped in August when the country’s Constitutional Court ruled there weren’t enough MPs in parliament – a quorum – when the law was voted through this time last year.
But rather than accepting the decision, politicians have moved to replace the law. Under draft legislation leaked to the media, event sending a text message about something gay is enough to be criminalized. And landlords will be punished if they rent a house to LGBTI people.
Mugisha explained: ‘The President formed a committee to produce a draft on the nullification of the act and instead they created this legislation.
‘We are moving into a time of elections. Primary campaigns begin in February next year so most members of parliament are going to go to their constituencies at Christmas.
‘Christmas in Uganda is church time. And the only question that is asked in church is “where is our law?” So every member of parliament is going to have to go with information about the law.
‘It is a very big threat.’