The government of Uganda announced this week that it will reintroduce legislation making homosexuality a capital offense, the Daily Mail reported.
What’s going on?
Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, which was passed but overturned by the nation’s high court in 2014, would allow the government to execute people caught in the act of homosexuality or involved in the promotion of or recruitment for such behavior, according to the country’s ethics and integrity minister, Simon Lokodo.
The court struck down the law on technical grounds, which left open the possibility that the government could revive the bill, the New York Times reported at the time.
Legal proscriptions on homosexuality are not unusual in Africa, the Daily Mail noted. Several African nations have criminal penalties for homosexual acts, including imprisonment, whippings, and execution.
The laws are an extension of the extensive cultural opposition to homosexuality across much of the continent.
“Homosexuality is not natural to Ugandans, but there has been a massive recruitment by gay people in schools, and especially among the youth, where they are promoting the falsehood that people are born like that,” Lokodo said, the Daily Mail reported.
“Our current penal law is limited. It only criminalizes the act,” he continued. “We want it made clear that anyone who is even involved in promotion and recruitment has to be criminalized. Those that do grave acts will be given the death sentence.”
According the Lokodo, the bill will be reintroduced in the Ugandan legislature within the next several weeks and has the full support of President Yoweri Museveni. The Daily Mail reported that the bill is expected to be voted on and passed by year’s end.
The ethics minister noted that the government had been lobbying members of Parliament heavily and that he believes the bill will garner the necessary two-thirds support from members of Parliament.
“We have been talking to the MPs and we have mobilized them in big numbers,” Lokodo said.
Is there opposition?
When Uganda passed the “Kill the Gays” bill in 2014, international opposition was significant. In addition to civilian protests, several countries and institutions threatened to cut or withhold aid to the African nation and made other legal moves.
Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and the World Bank, the Times reported, cut or postponed foreign aid to Uganda.
The U.S. suspended aid, imposed visa restrictions, and canceled a military exercise in the region in order to “reinforce our support for human rights of all Ugandans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” the Times said.