In what appears to be an attempt to extinguish the fire of controversy surrounding its soon to be signed anti-gay law, the Ugandan Government has put out a statement offering “reassurance” to the international community.
The statement, which has already been questioned by the Ugandan LGBT community as it does not specifically say whether or not President Museveni will sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law.
The law increases the punishments for those found guilty of homosexuality and includes life sentences for “repeat offenders”.
It was announced earlier this week that President Museveni would sign the bill following a report which claimed that homosexuality was “not a genetic but a social behaviour”. He previously said he would not sign it without clarification.
The statement released today by Ofwono Opondo Executive director of the Uganda Media Centre and spokesperson for the Government.
Following the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill by the Parliament of Uganda in December, 2013, fears have been expressed by sections of the international community that this could lead to the persecution of some sections of Ugandan society.
The 1995 Constitution is the supreme law of Uganda.
Article 21(1) of the said Constitution states “All persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.
Article 21(2) states “Without prejudice to clause (1) of this article, a person shall not be discriminated against on the grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability.”
Government of Uganda reiterates its commitment to uphold and protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons in Uganda as guaranteed by the Constitution.
No person shall be prosecuted outside the provisions of the law.
Government of Uganda therefore reassures all Ugandans and the international community of its continued commitment and respect for the rule of law in Uganda.
Ugandan LGBT rights activists have questioned the meaning behind the statement, and the intention of the government for releasing it.
Edwin Sesange Director African LGBTI Out and proud diamond group told PinkNews: “This statement is not clear, it does not clearly state whether the President is not going to sign the bill. We accept that the government now promises to uphold the constitution therefore they should use this opportunity to repeal all the anti-gay laws that are not compatible with the Constitution. . We will continue to campaign until Each and every LGBTI person in Uganda is free.”