Campaigners have welcomed the decision of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law.
According to Uganda’s Daily Monitor, President Museveni has said there are better ways to “rescue” people from homosexuality.
He has written to Parliamentary Speaker Rebecca Kadaga criticising her for passing the bill without a quorum - the minimum number of members needed to conduct legislative business.
The UK based African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group has welcomed the news.
But Director Edwin Sesange told PinkNews.co.uk that President Museveni should go further.
“Today’s news is welcomed but we are urging him to do more by publicly declaring the anti-gay bill unlawful.
“President Museveni should come out and tell the public that he doesn’t support it. He should also tell the public that he doesn’t support sections 145, 146, 148 of the penal code – which stipulates that homosexuality should be criminalised as ‘unnatural offences’.
“He should also ask the MPs to vote against the bill when it goes back to Parliament. The President should work towards striking down both sections of the penal code in order to achieve equality and justice for the LGBT people in Uganda.”
Kazibwe Simon, a Ugandan living in London who has fled homophobic persecution in his home country, told PinkNews.co.uk: “The bill shouldn’t be signed at all. We all want to live a happy life. Parliament should have thought twice before doing this in the first place.
“I am praying that Parliament changes its mind and that we can all live freely.”
However, it is possible for parliamentary supporters of the bill to bypass the need for presidential approval if a further vote is tabled. They require a two-thirds majority.
The bill has been condemned by world leaders since it was created in 2009 – US President Barack Obama called it “odious”.
The private member’s bill, by MP David Bahati, originally proposed the death penalty for some offences, such as if a minor was involved or the perpetrator was HIV-positive, but this clause has been dropped.