Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni says gay people can be viewed as “deviants” and has accused European countries of trying to promote homosexuality and sexual liberalisation.

“In our society, there were a few homosexuals. There was no persecution, no killings and no marginalisation of these people but they were regarded as deviants. Sex among Africans including heterosexuals is confidential,” AllAfrica.com reports the president as saying.

Mr Museveni made the remarks on Monday during a discussion with human rights activists from the Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights.

The centre’s president, Kerry Kennedy, niece to former US president John F Kennedy and daughter to the latter’s younger brother Robert F Kennedy, met with Mr Museveni.

The delegation expressed its dismay at the recent decision of a Ugandan tabloid to publish lists of citizens it believed were gay.

Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill was also raised during the meeting.

It specifies long jail sentences for those convicted of homosexual acts and in certain cases has suggested the death penalty.

The Ugandan Parliament for a second time has gone on recess without debating the bill.

Despite widespread documentation by international human rights groups, Mr Museveni was keen to downplay Uganda’s reputation for violent homophobic persecution and accused European countries of trying to promote homosexuality and sexual liberalisation.

“If am to kiss my wife in public, I would lose an election in Uganda. Western people exhibit sexual acts in public which we don’t do here,” he said. “There is no discrimination, no killings, no marginalisation, no luring of young people using money into homosexual acts”.

Last December, Mr Museveni said gay people should not be killed or persecuted, but added: “We cannot accept promotion of homosexuality as if it is a good thing.”