The committee of Ugandan MPs that endorsed the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill have dropped the death penalty provision, claims MP Medard Segona. He told media outlets there had been “substantial amendments” to the horrific bill that increases penalties for being gay in the African nation, however he said he was not allowed to reveal further details. Segona, is on the Legal and Parliamentary committee of Uganda’s parliament said “I can confirm it has been dropped.” Adding “Some of us who are human rights activists would discourage the death penalty.”
The Ugandan parliament will shortly debate the bill and Segona believes this will happen before Christmas, although refused to be more precise. In recent statement the speaker of the Ugandan parliament, Rebecca Kadaga promised the bill would be passed as a “Christmas gift” to all its advocates and supporters.
The bill has been tabled by MP David Bahati, well known for his deeply homophobic views, proposes longer jail terms for homosexual acts, including a life sentence in certain circumstances. Before the change , the original bill included the death penalty for those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality” which was defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a “serial offender”.
The original drafting of the bill also prohibited the “promotion” of gay rights and called for the punishment of anyone who “funds or sponsors homosexuality” or “abets homosexuality” and sentences will be long.
There appears to be broad support for the bill in the Ugandan parliament, even President Yoweri Museveni who would have to sign the bill before it becomes law, is known to be supportive however international pressure is likely to increase dramatically.
US President Barack Obama who described the bill as “odious” and many International donors have threatened to cut off aid to Uganda if the country does not do more to protect the rights of gay people, including the UK, Canada and the US.
“If the Americans think they can tell us what to do, they can go to hell” said
John Nagenda, Ugandan presidential adviser recently.
Uganda is one of 38 African nations where homosexuality is currently illegal where penalties range from 1 year to life imprisonment. Three nations, Sudan, Mauritania and Nigeria still have the death penalty for being gay.