Uganda’s parliament has passed the dreaded anti-gay bill today (20 December), leading LGBTI people to fear a ‘hunt’.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga put forward a motion for second reading today and the bill passed.
Originally known as the ‘Kill The Gays’ bill, the death penalty has been dropped but people can still get life in prison for homosexuality.
The bill will make it illegal to ‘promote’ homosexuality and will also jail anyone who does not report homosexual activities to the police.
Ugandan LGBTI people are said to be ‘panicked’ and ‘afraid for their lives’. It has already been predicted it will lead to more deaths in the LGBTI community.
Members of Parliament (MPs) heard every clause in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009. But debate which was expected to run all day was over very quickly.
The bill is now an act of parliament and is just awaiting a signature from President Yoweri Museveni, which could happen as early as tomorrow.
Uganda LGBTI activist Frank Mugisha said he was in ‘total shock’, saying the motion had caught every gay rights advocate off guard.
He said Kadaga, who promised last year to make the bill law as a ‘Christmas present’ to the nation, had been ‘cleaning up’ any shelved legislation.
Similarly delayed legislation, the Anti-Pornography Bill 2009, had its second reading and passed yesterday.
Speaking to Gay Star News, Mugisha said: ‘I am just shocked. I don’t know what to do.
‘I didn’t expect it to come today. I thought there was still more time. I’m really shocked. All of our allies were caught unaware. All of us were unaware.
‘We are going to oppose the bill because it is very unconstitutional. We will do everything we can to oppose it.
‘We need the international community to draw attention to the bill being passed. We need a lot of attention right now. I am very disappointed. All of my colleagues are panicking. They believe there is going to be a hunt. They think it is already law. And they believe they will die.
‘For me, I am very strong. I am very sure we can find a solution and challenge it in any way possible.’