The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has claimed that European gays are “recruiting” Ugandan citizens.

Speaking at the Young Achievers Awards ceremony on Saturday at the Kampala Serena Hotel, he said: “I hear European homosexuals are recruiting in Africa.

“We used to have very few homosexuals traditionally. They were not persecuted but were not encouraged either because it was clear that is not how God arranged things to be.”

According to the Daily Monitor, he added: “You should discourage your colleagues [who are gay] because God was not foolish to do the way he arranged.

“Mr and Mrs, but now you have to say Mr and Mr? What is that now?”

The premier concluded by urging his audience to say no to religious bigotry.

His words came just after human rights groups and world powers called for an anti-gay bill passing through parliament to be scrapped.

America, France and the UK have already expressed concern over the bill, which would create a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality”.

It would mean death or life imprisonment for those convicted of homosexuality. Those found guilty of “promoting” homosexuality would also received harsh punishments.