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Gov’t rules out reintroduction of anti-gay bill

FILE PHOTO: Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government has said it does not intend to re-introduce the contentious Anti-gay bill contrary to reports that a new law was in offing.

The bill was first introduced in 2009 drawing worldwide condemnation for gay rights activists because of the tough penalties including death for aggravated homosexuality, defilement and knowingly spreading HIV.

However, the punishment was reduced to life sentence. Some donors threatened to withdraw funding to Uganda. However, the constitutional court annulled the law on grounds that it was passed without quorum in parliament.

The proposed law has never returned to parliament. Members of Parliament have time and again praised the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and the President, Yoweri Museveni for standing firm against homosexuality.

Following local and international media reports, the Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo clarified that there is no bill in the offing.

Earlier reports had indicated that the bill would return back in its earlier form.

“Government hereby clarifies that it does not intend to introduce any new law with regards to regulation of LGTB activities in Uganda because the current provisions in the penal code are sufficient. Ofwono Opondo says on his twitter handle.

Attempts to Speak to the Minister of Ethics Father Simon Lokodo, who is quoted by several media on the proposed introduction of the legislation was futile as his phone went unanswered on several attempts to reach him.

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Spokesperson, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda says government would risk so much if the bill is brought back to Parliament.

He contends that President Museveni still wants to continue rubbing shoulders and enjoying support from the West. According to Ssemujju, the bill can only be brought as a private members bill.

Amnesty International, a global movement on human rights has condemned Uganda over its stance of LGBT.

“If this bill is allowed to pass it could have global ripple effects for LGBT activists all over the world.

Even Ugandans living abroad, under the proposed bill, could face extradition and imprisonment if charged with being homosexual or in aiding homosexuals in Uganda.

If past harassment of the Ugandan LGBT community is any indicator, the proposed bill would likely lead to witch hunts, more harassment, violence, and even extrajudicial executions” they state in a press release.

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