Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Uganda adopts anti-gay bill

20 December 2013, 16:08

Kampala - Uganda's parliament on Friday adopted an anti-homosexuality bill that will see repeat offenders jailed for life, with lawmakers hailing it as a victory against "evil" for the deeply religious nation.

Deputies voted overwhelmingly in favour of the text, which has been widely condemned by rights activists and Western leaders -- with US President Barack Obama describing it as "odious".

The lawmaker behind the bill, David Bahati, said a death penalty clause was dropped from the final version of the bill, which must now go to President Yoweri Museveni for approval.

"This is a victory for Uganda. I am glad the parliament has voted against evil," Bahati told AFP.

"Because we are a God-fearing nation, we value life in a holistic way. It is because of those values that members of parliament passed this bill regardless of what the outside world thinks," he said.

First proposed in 2009, the bill had been shelved following international condemnation, but parliamentary spokeswoman Hellen Kaweesa said the changes meant that it had secured "majority support" among MPs.

The initially proposed bill would have introduced the death sentence for anyone caught engaging in homosexual acts for a second time, as well as for gay sex where one partner is a minor or has HIV.

Homophobia is widespread in Uganda, where American-style evangelical Christianity is on the rise. Gay men and women in the country face frequent harassment and threats of violence. Rights activists have also reported cases of lesbians being subjected to "corrective" rapes.

In 2011, prominent Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was bludgeoned to death at his home after a newspaper splashed photos, names and addresses of gays in Uganda on the front page along with a yellow banner reading "Hang Them".

While homosexuality was already illegal, the new bill stiffens penalties and also criminalises the public promotion of homosexuality -- including discussions by rights groups.

The bill sparked a strong reaction from activists.

"I am officially illegal," Ugandan gay activist Frank Mugisha said after the vote.

Leslie Lefkow of Human Rights Watch said that President Yoweri Museveni "should not sign the abhorrent anti-homosexuality law just passed".

The vote also comes a day after parliament passed an anti-pornography law that bans anything that "shows sexual parts of a person such as breasts, thighs, buttocks", according to the Monitor newspaper.

It also outlaws "any erotic behaviour intended to cause sexual excitement or any indecent act or behaviour tending to corrupt morals".

In 2008, former ethics and integrity minister James Nsaba Buturo tried to pass similar legislation claiming a woman wearing provocative clothing risked causing traffic accidents by distracting drivers.

President Museveni called an uproar in 2012 when he told female school students to "keep a padlock on your private parts until the time comes to open them when you have a husband".

In addition to outlawing "provocative" clothing, the anti-pornography bill will result in scantily dressed performers being banned from Ugandan television. It will also closely monitor what individuals watch on the Internet.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Man released on Presidential amne...

He was caught taking money from a church offering bag at Ol Jabet Independent Pentecostal Church in Laikipia West on October 23. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Simple lifestyle changes for a he...

Here are simple lifestyle changes for a healthy body: Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Mandera attack victims were shot ...

The attackers used IEDs to break the metallic doors of the lodge before shooting the victims. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Why he does not call your name

A slip of the tongue can happen just any time. Read more...

Submitted by
Wasike Elvis
Joshua Arap Sang declares interes...

He will be running on a Jubilee Party ticket. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Why Boniface Mwangi wants DP Ruto...

Photojournalist and activist Boniface Mwangi is now demanding for the Deputy President William Ruto’s tax returns. Read more...