Current Affairs

Ugandan MP: President will water down anti-gay law for ‘our Western friends’

Nick Duffy August 12, 2014
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A Ugandan lawmaker has claimed the country’s President, Yoweri Museveni, is attempting to water down the country’s anti-gay law after diplomatic pressure from the West.

Earlier this month, the country’s Constitutional Court struck down the Anti-Homosexuality Act, finding that Speaker Rebecca Kadaga acted illegally by moving ahead with an initial vote on the law despite at least three lawmakers objecting to a lack of quorum.

However, following the ruling, a group of MPs have scrambled to put the law back in place, and have now gained enough support to change parliamentary regulations and allow it to be re-tabled.

According to one MP, President Yoweri Museveni – who has previously been a strong supporter of the law – is now attempting to water it down.

Lawmaker Medard Bitekyerezo said: “We agreed to come up with a new version that doesn’t hurt our Western friends but also protects Ugandans.

“[Museveni] said he wants the law back in the house but now says if two consenting adults go into their room and decide to be stupid, let them be.

“What he said he doesn’t want, and which we must even increase the penalties, is recruitment of children and exploiting financially vulnerable youths.”

Uganda was hit by strong economic sanctions following the introduction of the law, though Museveni has denied that this changed his approach.

Speaking to the ruling National Resistance Movement’s parliamentary caucus yesterday, President Museveni said of the law: “A country which has no vision punishes a divided house. We need to work together through consensus and use of collective methods.”

Referencing a Luganda saying, he said: “This is now an issue of Semusota guli muntamu (a snake which has entered into a cooking pot). If we try to kill the snake, we may break the pot, if we don’t we won’t.”

He claimed last month: “Uganda does not need aid. Uganda is so rich, we should be the ones to give aid.”

More: Africa, Anti-gay, anti-homosexuality act, Law, president, Uganda, Uganda, Ugandan, yoweri museveni

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