Africa

Act II in Uganda vs the gays

By Rebecca Davis 8 September 2011

Nobody appears to be paying much attention to the fact that Uganda’s infamous anti-gay bill is on the table once more. According to activist group Behind The Mask, the chairman of Uganda’s legal and parliamentary affairs committee has announced that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be debated on Wednesday again. By REBECCA DAVIS.

The cabinet debate happens a week after South Africa’s ambassador to Uganda, columnist Jon Qwelane, successfully defended a claim that a homophobic column did not constitute hate speech. Qwelane may well be cheering the proposed Ugandan law from the sidelines, since the Ugandan government appears to concur with Qwelane’s sentiment that “gay is NOT okay”.

The legislation proposes to imprison gays and execute those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality” offences. The bill was originally tabled in May, but the Ugandan cabinet initially voted to discard the legislation after coming under intense international pressure from donor countries. It also argued there was little point in spending time and money to pass the bill when Uganda’s existing anti-homosexuality laws are very strict, with homosexuality already punishable by a jail term.

The new impetus behind its re-tabling now has now been provided by the anti-gay “Pass the Bill Now” campaign, spearheaded by the Uganda National Parents Network and the Uganda Coalition for Moral Values. This time they are proposing Uganda sever all international relationships that might impede the implementation of the law. In a statement to government, the campaign urged them to “Remember that it is the Ugandans who elected you and not donors or foreign governments,” suggesting Uganda focus on strengthening ties with nations that “share common values”. We can only hope, if nothing else, the threat of losing a lot of aid again discourages the Ugandan government from making the bill into law. DM



Read more:

  • Parent group supports Uganda Kill the Gays bill, on Care2.com.

Photo: REUTERS

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