Protesters gathered outside the Ugandan embassy in London yesterday to call on the country’s government to repeal its anti-homosexuality bill.
According to gay group OutRage!, almost 100 people attended the demonstration, including activists from Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
They held signs calling the law a “colonial hangover”, while others read: “Uganda! Hands off queers”.
The bill was designed to impose execution and life imprisonment on gays. The country’s ministry for ethics and integrity said this week that the most controversial clauses would be removed but maintained that the bill would still punish gays.
The keynote speakers were gay Ugandan John Bosco and straight Ugandan human rights activist Michael Senyonjo.
John Bosco was recently jailed in Uganda, after he was returned to the country by the British Home Office while seeking asylum in the UK.
He condemned the anti-homosexuality bill as “an attack on the civil liberties of all Ugandans,” denouncing it as “dividing Ugandans against each other and requiring people to report on their own family members who are gay.”
Michael Senyonjo told the crowd: “In the last five years we have seen Idi Amin return to Uganda and his name is [president] Yoweri Museveni. We cannot allow fascism to return to Uganda. He should leave power and go because he is not taking the country anywhere but to disaster.”
Peter Tatchell of OutRage! echoed this view.
He said: “President Museveni is fast becoming the Robert Mugabe of Uganda and that’s a threat to the civil rights of every Ugandan person – gay or straight….There’s a huge groundswell of public opinion that this bill goes way too far. Even people who say they’re against homosexuality say this bill is excessive and a threat to the human rights of all Ugandans.
“The Ugandan government should drop this law and abide by international human rights legislation.”