Ugandan President: Foreign pressure had ‘nothing to do’ with striking down of anti-gay law
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has denied that a court’s decision to strike down the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act was related to diplomatic pressure.
This week the country’s Constitutional Court struck down the law, finding that the speaker of parliament acted illegally by moving ahead with a vote despite at least three lawmakers objecting to a lack of quorum.
Museveni had previously a strong proponent of the harsh law – which increased prison sentences for homosexuality to 14 years and makes it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay.
The Ugandan leader told AFP that the timing of his upcoming trip to the US had nothing to do with the bill.
He said: “I was going to Washington with the bill when it was stopped. It has nothing to do with us going to Washington.”
Though he did not confirm he would fight to re-enact the legislation, he did say there had been no ‘catastrophe’ as a result of the law.
He told reporters: “What has happened to Uganda now? Have you seen any catastrophe? Isn’t the economy growing?”
However, his rhetoric is toned down from last month, when he claimed it would be “sinful” to repeal the act in exchange for Western aid.
He said at the time: “Uganda does not need aid. Uganda is so rich, we should be the ones to give aid.
“The only thing we need from the world is trade, if they can buy our products. Aid becomes important only when people are asleep.
Despite this week’s ruling, homosexuality remains criminalised in Uganda.