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Uganda: President withholds assent on anti-gay bill

Yoweri Museveni says gay people 'abnormal' with some 'recruited' with financial incentives

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has not given assent to an anti-gay measure passed Dec 20, reportedly confronting parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga about its passage without the requisite quorum. Credit:

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has reportedly not given his assent to an anti-gay bill, taking to task parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga and MPs for passing the measure without quorum and despite his advice that it should undergo further study, according to The Daily Monitor.

The Monitor notes, however, that Museveni went on to call homosexuality "abnormal," saying that sometimes nature goes awry in a "minority of cases." He rejected the idea that homosexuality is "an alternative sexual orientation."

The Monitor quotes him as saying, "The question at the core of the debate of homosexuality is; what do we do with an abnormal person? Do we kill him/her? Do we imprison him/her? Or do we contain him/her?”

In the report, he claims that some gay people become homosexual for "mercenary reasons" and are "recruited" with financial incentives. Museveni also gave his perspective on why women become lesbians, claiming some "go into the practice" because they are sexually starved since they have failed to marry.

He cites economic empowerment as the key remedy for rescuing people from homosexuality.

Prior to the bill's passage Dec 20, the country's prime minister, Amama Mbabazi, had expressed surprise that it was up for a vote and tried unsuccessfully to have debate on it deferred. He noted there was a lack of quorum and the government was still in the midst of consultations about the measure.

Other MPs — Sam Otada and Fox Odoi — expressed their misgivings about the bill, criticizing it as discriminatory and noting that homosexuality is already banned in existing laws.

Passage of the measure sparked immediate outrage in the international community, with human rights groups and a number of governments urging Museveni not to sign off on the measure.

Kadaga slammed international criticism of lawmakers' approval of the bill, saying that her country is a sovereign state and won't be bullied, Red Pepper report says. She was reacting to information that Uganda's ambassadors are being harassed about the bill.