Uganda president to discuss anti-gay bill with lawmakers
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has summoned ruling party lawmakers to a meeting Thursday to discuss draconian anti-gay legislation that has been roundly condemned by the international community and rights campaigners.
KAMPALA - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has summoned ruling party lawmakers to a meeting Thursday to discuss draconian anti-gay legislation that has been roundly condemned by the international community and rights campaigners.
Parliament last month approved the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023, which calls for harsh penalties for anyone who engages in same-sex activity.
Museveni's assent is required for it to become law and has faced widespread calls to reject what has been criticised as among the world's harshest anti-gay legislation.
Under the bill, anyone who engages in same-sex activity could face life imprisonment while repeat offenders could be sentenced to death, according to activists.
A letter was sent by the ruling National Resistance Movement's chief whip to party MPs inviting them to a meeting Thursday at Museveni's official residence in the city of Entebbe to "discuss among other (things) the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023".
The meeting was confirmed to AFP by the chief whip Denis Hamson Obua.
Sources close to Museveni's office have told AFP that they expect the president to reject the current draft of the bill and return it to parliament for reconsideration.
Last month, the White House warned Uganda of possible economic repercussions if the legislation takes effect.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk also urged Museveni not to promulgate the bill into law.
"The passing of this discriminatory bill – probably among the worst of its kind in the world - is a deeply troubling development," he said after the March parliamentary vote.
But many of Uganda's neighbours are also cracking down on gay rights, with politicians in Kenya and Tanzania for example warning against any efforts to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues.
Homosexuality was criminalised in Uganda under colonial-era laws but since independence from Britain in 1962 there has never been a conviction for consensual same-sex activity.