Uganda, formerly known as Kampala, was a colony of the British Empire and recognised the British monarchy as their head of state. In more recent times, you will have seen Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich winning a gold medal in the men’s marathon race at the London 2012 Olympics, now seemingly overshadowed by the reintroduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Ugandan parliament.
This repugnant bill was first introduced in October 2009 by David Bahati – an MP in Ugandan parliament and for the constituency of Ndorwa West, he is also a member of the National Resistance Movement. The bill (renowned by the media as the “Kill the Gays bill”) was proposed to increase the legislative criminalisation of same-sex relations, dividing acts of homosexuality into either the “aggravated homosexuality” category whereby the so-called offender would receive capital punishment, or “the offense of homosexuality” where the offender would receive lift imprisonment. So what are the conditions for being charged under either of these offences?
- Aggravated homosexuality would be charged where a person committing homosexual acts and is HIV-positive, is a parent or authority figure, administers intoxicating substances, homosexual acts committed with those under 18 or people with disabilities as well as repeat offenders.
- The offense of homosexuality would be charged where a person commits a homosexual act, is involved in a homosexual marriage, or attempts to commit aggravated homosexuality.
It is also set to be inclusive of Ugandans who engage in homosexual relations outside of Uganda, ensuring provisions be put in place that they are extradited back to Uganda, in order to receive punishment in a Ugandan court. There are also penalties for individuals, companies, media organisations, or non-governmental organisations that know any homosexuals (and fail to report them) or if they support LGBT rights (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).[quote align=”right” name=”David Bahati” role=”Ugandan MP”]We are not targeting anybody – we are just trying to protect the majority of Ugandans from this evil.[/quote]
Currently in Uganda, regardless of this bill being carried through, same-sex relationships are illegal and are punishable by incarceration in prison for anywhere up to 14 years. The bill was not voted on and the Ugandan parliament adjourned in May 2011, however it was reintroduced by Bahati in February 2012 and has since attracted a great deal of international pressure, with US president Barack Obama describing it as “odious”. It proved to rub salt in the wounds of the family members of murdered gay Ugandan activist David Kato, reportedly killed during a robbery, however human rights activists believe that his murder was due to his campaigns. Kato’s picture, as with many homosexuals in Uganda, had been published in a newspaper that demanded gays be executed – reinforcing Uganda’s homophobic reputation.[quote align=”right” name=”David Bahati” role=”Ugandan MP”]The west is saying that for us to give you money, we want you to accept behaviour that you abhor. President Obama [is]a man who stood on a platform of change but certainly, this is not the change the world is looking for. It is the evil the world should fight[/quote]
To make matters worse – David Bahati previously attended Cardiff University and Manchester Business School before unleashing his homophobic ideology on the Ugandan people. The puerile reintroduced bill includes the drop of the death penalty and the reduction of prison sentences to between two and seven years – irrelevant of the fact that homosexuals are still being persecuted and making it appear that Bahati is in some way generous.
Needless to say that this despicable act of oppression and hate needs to be irradicated and stood up against and if you feel like making a difference, as little as it may be, at least sign this petition and speak out for equal rights.