The Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament wants to bring the country’s anti-gay law back from the dead – after it was struck down by the Supreme Court.
The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act was originally passed in Uganda on 20 December 2013, bringing in life imprisonment for gay people – which Speaker Rebecca Kadaga described as a “Christmas gift” to the nation.
The law was widely met with international criticism and threats to cut aid to the country.
Though the Ugandan government never officially backed down over the issue, within months of the boycott the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled the Act invalid on procedural grounds, and President Museveni opposed any provision to replace it.
But Kadaga – who the court found to have illegally forced through the law despite a lack of quorum – insists the issue is not dead.
According to the Ugandan Insider, she told local radio hosts this week that there could soon be “movement” on a revived bill.
She said: “In 2014, I promised Ugandans that I will give them a Christmas gift by passing the anti-homosexuality, which I did.
“Unfortunately, the bill annulled by the court after president Yoweri Museveni had assented to it. However, the bill can still be deliberate on in parliament if the movers bring it back to the floor of parliament.”
President Museveni previously warned against renewing the legislation, saying ‘the possibility of trade boycott’ could harshly impact the nation’s economic growth.
He wrote: “I supported the idea of punishing harshly those who lure minors into homosexuality. We should also punish harshly those who engage in homosexual prostitution.”
“Our scientists argued that all homosexuality was by nurture not nature. On the basis of that, I agreed to sign the bill, although some people still contest that understanding.”
However, he added, “it is about us deciding what is best for our country in the realm of foreign trade, which is such an important stimulus for growth and transformation that it has no equal.”
President Museveni said he feared “the possibility of trade boycott by Western companies under the pressure of the homosexual lobbies in the West.”
“It is now an issue of a snake in a clay cooking pot. We want to kill the snake, but we do not want to break the pot. We want to protect our children from homosexuality, but we do not want to kill our trade opportunities.
“That now forces us to disassemble this whole issue.”