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Ugandan president to sign anti-gay bill once ‘expert’ statements in hand

‘Then we shall have a war with the homosexual lobby’: Museveni

“If the authorities here give me their signed statements, my . . . job is finished, I will sign the bill,” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told a cheering crowd. Credit: (NTV Uganda)
Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni speaks about Anti-Homosexuality Bill. (NTV Uganda)

An NTV Uganda report on YouTube shows Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni telling a cheering crowd he will sign an anti-gay bill passed by lawmakers in December “if the authorities give me their signed statements.

He later added, to more cheers and applause, “Then we shall have a war with the homosexual lobby in the world but backed by these people and you.

A Ugandan government spokesperson recently said via Twitter that Museveni had indicated he would sign off on the anti-gay measure.

“Pres Museveni has told NRM MPs he will assent the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law,” Ofwono Opondo said. 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.

Museveni, who was on retreat with members of his government to discuss the issue, made his decision after reviewing a report from Uganda’s Ministry of Health that called for “regulation” of homosexuality.

One recommendation reads, “That vulnerable populations (including children, minorities, refugees, the poor, the elderly, mentally ill etc) need to be protected against sexual (and other) exploitations is not in question. African cultures had contained sexual vices. May be we need to revisit them to contain the present explosion of overt and coercive homosexual activity with the exploitation of our young children.

Museveni had said he wouldn’t sign the legislation 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.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but the proposed law would add harsher punishments for “aggravated homosexuality,” meaning repeated offences or offences in which one partner is infected with HIV. 

In a Feb 16 statement, American President Barack Obama says he is “deeply disappointed that Uganda will enact the legislation, calling it “more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda.

He adds, “As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda. At a time when, tragically, we are seeing an increase in reports of violence and harassment targeting members of the LGBT community from Russia to Nigeria, I salute all those in Uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons.