Kampala, Uganda.- (African Boulevard News) – Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has conditionally supported one of the harshest anti-LGBTQ laws, which could sentence some members of the LGBTQ+ community to death. The law has already triggered a wave of arrests and attacks against LGBTQ Ugandans since it was passed last month. However, Museveni insists on rehabilitating gay people and will pass it back to parliament to include provisions for their rehabilitation.
President Supports the Harshest Anti-LGBTQ Laws
President Museveni lauded the lawmakers for standing firm on what he calls “Ebitingwa,” a Runyankore word for gay men. He congratulated them for their strong stand and appreciated their rejection of pressure from the imperialist powers.
In support of the bill, which prescribes the death penalty in some cases, President Museveni rejected criticism from human rights groups. He said that Africa should not be the prostitute of the world, doing things that they do not believe in, just to get money.
The Rehabilitation Clause
However, despite the president’s backing of the bill, he insisted on a rehabilitation clause. He added that gay people needed to be rehabilitated before being accepted back into society. The president’s stance on rehabilitation is still unclear, but his supporters insist that the law’s goal is not to punish gay people but to correct them.
The bill’s provisions prescribe that those who advocate for or promote the rights of LGBTQ people face up to 20 years in jail. And those found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality” could be sentenced to death. This provision has already triggered a wave of arrests and attacks against LGBTQ Ugandans.
Criticism from the US and the UN
The United States has warned of economic consequences if the legislation is enacted. A group of United Nations experts has described the bill, if enacted, as “an egregious violation of human rights.” However, President Museveni remains unfazed by the criticism from the international community.
With President Museveni’s backing of the anti-LGBTQ laws, Uganda becomes one of the countries with some of the harshest laws against the LGBTQ+ community. While some in the country see the law as a way of correcting gay people, others view it as a violation of human rights. The rehabilitation clause, while still unclear, has given some hope that the law could be less severe than expected. But, with the bill still to be reviewed by parliament, many in the LGBTQ+ community fear for their safety and well-being.