A Ugandan government spokesperson has said via Twitter that the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has indicated he will sign off on an anti-gay measure lawmakers passed in December.
“Pres Museveni has told NRM MPs he will assent the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law,” Ofwono Opondo says. In additional posts, Opondo says a report submitted by 14 medical experts, claiming that “homosexuality is not genetic but a social behaviour,” has apparently influenced Museveni’s decision.
Opondo adds, “The NRM caucus has welcomed the development as a measure to protect Ugandans from social deviants.”
BuzzFeed reports that it received confirmation of Opondo’s announcement from a spokesperson for the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Museveni had said he wouldn’t sign the legislation, which would see some gay people imprisoned for life, unless scientists could prove that gay people choose their orientation and are not born that way, a previous report in the Observer stated. Both Museveni and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi had also objected to the passing of the law without the requisite quorum.
A Jan 18 release from the Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights said that Museveni, who met with a delegation from the center, had called the measure “fascist” and had promised to reject it in favour of developing new legislation to protect minors from “being coerced into sexual activity.”
Other MPs — Sam Otada and Fox Odoi — had expressed their misgivings about the law, criticizing it as discriminatory and noting that homosexuality is already banned in existing legislation.
Gay Star News reports that as recently as yesterday, Feb 13, Odoi continued to register his objection to the legislation, citing the opinion of unnamed legal experts that it is unconstitutional and violates the freedom of expression, association and conscience.