MPs in Uganda have passed a slightly amended version of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Defiant lawmakers in Uganda have passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill for the second time, with only minimal changes to its inhumane and extreme penalties.
Last month, President Yoweri Museveni sent the extreme bill – originally passed by MPs on 21 March – back to Parliament, requesting several revisions before he was prepared to approve it.
Museveni did this on the advice of Deputy Attorney General Kafuuzi Jackson Karugaba, who argued that some provisions in the bill could lead to it being struck down by the courts.
On Tuesday, MPs debated and passed the bill again after making relatively minor changes. Speaker Anita Among urged lawmakers to refuse to bow to international condemnation of the bill and threats of economic repercussions.
“I want to urge the members of parliament to remain steadfast. No amount of intimidation will make us retract what we have done. Handouts or small envelopes should not be the ones to destroy you. The Western World will not come and rule Uganda,” she said.
The State Minister for Sports, Peter Ogwang, addressed fears that international donors could cut back on funding for HIV programmes in Uganda and also parroted the false narrative that homosexuality is un-African.
“Have they been giving us that aid for the purposes of promoting homosexuality in Uganda? Studies have shown that homosexuals are the ones spreading AIDS. Friends, do not be shy. You were born to be in Uganda, and we will remain Africans,” asserted Ogwang.
According to the website of Uganda’s Parliament, amendments were made to five clauses. Among the changes, the bill was amended to only criminalise homosexual acts and not an LGBTQ+ person’s identity, sexuality, or appearance.
The provision to jail people for not reporting a person who has committed homosexual acts was revised to only criminalise not reporting homosexual acts committed against children and vulnerable persons.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, however, retained its most severe penalties of life in prison for engaging in a homosexual sexual act, the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality (e.g. serial “offenders”), and 20 years in prison for the “promotion” of homosexuality.
The bill will now be sent back to President Museveni’s desk for his signature.