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Uganda president to sign anti-gay bill into law

Uganda president to sign anti-gay bill into law

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has decided to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, his spokesman has said.

The series of tweets from government spokesman Ofwono Opondo says: ‘Pres Museveni has told NRM MPs he will assent the anti-homosexuality bill into law.

‘This comes after 14 medical experts presented a report that homosexuality is not genetic but a social behavior.

‘The NRM Caucus has welcomed the development as a measure to protect Ugandans from social deviants.

‘Ugandan traditionalists, religious leaders and politicians have been urging Museveni to sign the bill.’

It comes a day after it emerged Museveni was going to stop homosexuals from being allowed bail, alongside those accused of rape.

The bill was previously dubbed the ‘Kill the Gays Bill’. The death penalty has now been dropped but it still offers life-imprisonment for ‘aggravated’ homosexuality, including repeat offenders.

Museveni has been under internal pressure to sign the bill into law since it was passed on 20 December and under international pressure to veto it.

Pepe Julian Onziema, a LGBTI rights activist in Uganda, told Gay Star News: ‘I am speechless. We thought we had done everything we could.

‘I am shocked and I am worried.

‘When it was actually passed in December 2013 there’s been significant people leaving the country, people going underground, people withdrawing from the movement.

‘It’s because they themselves feel the effect of the bill. Now it’s taking minutes to be law, it’s scary for the community.

‘We need the world to keep helping us, we will continue calling for global action. LGBT people need shelter and secure travel.

‘For them, it’s not safe to be in Uganda anymore.’

Ugandan gay activist Edwin Sesange, of the Africa Out and Proud Diamond Group, told GSN: ‘I feel so bad that the president could come up with a such a decision but I kind of sensed it yesterday when he brought up the other bill to scrap bail for homosexuals.

‘Now we have to be prepared to fight this law, to fight it through the courts, through campaigns and protests, all peaceful means. And we call on the international community to join us.

‘It is going to be more than worse. We can not get bail. There is no hiding place, we are not going to have justice because if we can not get bail and the law is in place, life is going to be really difficult in Uganda.’