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Uganda MPs demand secret vote on ‘Kill The Gays’ bill

Uganda MPs demand secret vote on ‘Kill The Gays’ bill

Ugandan members of parliament have said they want to discuss and vote on the Anti-Homosexuality bill in private.

With many fearing retribution from Western interests, many MPs say they are pushing for a closed-door session.

This will mean no member of the press or public will be allowed access to the debate.

According to a survey by the Ugandan Observer, around 40 lawmakers say their constituents are in full support of the draft anti-gay law.

Monica Amoding, who refused to say whether she supported the bill, described it as ‘very sensitive’.

‘Some of us fear that if it is discussed in public view, we will be persecuted for holding particular views,’ Amoding said.

Another MP, who requested anonymity, said supporting the bill publically could lead to being blacklisted by the West.

‘We have some projects that are funded by donors and at the same time we don’t want to be misunderstood by voters. So, it is better to remain silent to avoid being blacklisted,’ he said.

Support for the bill is still high, with many Ugandans saying they want it passed ‘immediately’.

The US and many European countries’ leaders have condemned the bill, with Canada’s Minister for Foreign Affairs John Baird describing it as ‘odious’ and offending decency and family values.

While Speaker Rebecca Kadaga’s promise the legislation would pass as a ‘Christmas gift’ to Ugandans failed to materialize, the ‘Kill The Gays’ bill continues to linger on parliament’s order papers under ‘Business to Follow’ – meaning it could come up for debate at any time.

Opposition to the bill within the Ugandan parliament is almost non-existent and many LGBT activists predict if there is a vote, it will pass.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but the bill calls for harsher penalties for people convicted of ‘aggravated homosexuality’.

It is loosely defined as gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, pedophiles and repeat offenders. If convicted, they will face the death penalty.