A preacher in Uganda decided to ring in 2013 by urging the country to pass its lingering Anti-Homosexuality Bill at a major Christian rally.

During a New Year’s Eve event at Uganda’s national stadium in the capital, Kampala, Pastor Joseph Sserwadda of the Victory Christian Church said: “I am hoping that as parliament resumes this February, the first thing tabled [is] the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.”

Uganda’s Observer newspaper, which referred to homosexuality as a “growing evil” in its article, reported that Mr Sserwadda, who co-organises the Passover Festival with his wife, was met with a roar of approval from the thousands gathered inside Namboole stadium.

Pastor Joseph’s Victory Christian Church runs several faith-based radio stations and an adoption service.

Uganda is considering legislation aimed at increasing penalties for homosexual acts – which are already illegal in the country.

Although Ugandan MPs broke up in 2012 without debating the measure, the bill, which threatens to impose draconian sentences and even the death penalty for those found convicted of breaking the proposed law, could still be introduced in parliament in 2013.

Elsewhere in Kampala on Wednesday, a case against UK theatre producer David Cecil, charged with breaking Uganda’s laws in relation to his play featuring a gay storyline, was thrown out by a court