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 plans to pass new version of anti-gay law by Christmas

21 November 2014, 16:17

Kampala - Drafters of a revised anti-gay law want parliament to pass it in time to be a "Christmas gift" for Ugandans, a lawmaker said on Friday, after a controversial earlier version was quashed because of legal technicalities.

Legislation passed by parliament almost a year ago, which would have punished gay sex with long prison terms, provoked a storm of international protest and led some donor countries to withhold aid. A constitutional court overturned the law in August.

Abdu Latif Ssebagala, a member of a parliamentary committee formed in September to draft a new version, said it had finished the bill and was ready to present it to parliament for debate.

"The draft is ready and we have strengthened the law, especially in areas of promotion and luring children. Next week we expect to meet the speaker to fix a date for the re-tabling to parliament," he told Reuters.

Ssebagala said the committee wanted it passed within weeks so that Ugandans "can celebrate it as a Christmas gift".

The earlier version would have punished gay sex with long prison terms, including life sentences for "aggravated homosexuality".

The latter category included an HIV-positive person having gay sex or gay sex with anyone vulnerable, such as when the victim is disabled or a child in the perpetrator's care.

In August, President Yoweri Museveni said he wanted the law amended to remove penalties for consenting adults. Ssebagala said however the new version still punished gay sex among consenting adults.

In October the president wrote in a newspaper that re-introducing the law risked triggering a trade boycott by the West.

Read alsoPolicemen in Uganda use forged documents to join the force

Analysts say Museveni - expected to run for re-election in 2016 - is walking a tightrope, trying to appease his conservative domestic constituency while wary of alienating donors who finance about 20 percent of Uganda's budget.

"This bill is inconsistent with fundamental freedoms and human rights ... accepting it would be a display of weakness rather than leadership," said Asia Russell, Uganda-based director of international policy at Health GAP, an HIV advocacy group.

Like most of sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda is highly religious and socially conservative. Disapproval of homosexuality is widespread and attacks on gays common.

Influential evangelical pastors have urged Ugandan legislators to reintroduce the law since it was quashed.

Presidential spokesman Tamale Mirundi said Museveni "is a democrat" and could not dictate to parliament what to do.

"We'll only know his views when the new law is passed and is sent to him for signing," he said.

The constitutional court overturned the earlier law on the grounds parliament had passed it without the required quorum.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

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

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Helping you find the type of man ...

To put it simply, you can’t go looking for fish in a meat market; you have to go to a fish market. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Mudavadi set for 2 month long wes...

Musalia Mudavadi is set for western Kenya campaigns.

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
I need a miracle to win in 2017, ...

An MP says that he needs a miracle to win the 2017 elections but has not given up on victory despite the odds being against him. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Raila ungrateful for my help, MP ...

An MP says that he made ODM famous in Meru and has accused the party of ungratefulness despite his hard work. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
I'm ready for by-election today, ...

I'm ready for a by election, an angry ODM rebel MP tells Raila Odinga. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
ODM kicks 6 MPs out of Parliament...

ODM has kicked 6 rebel members out of house committees. Read more...