The LGBTQ community in Uganda could face more harsh penalties in the near future as a new bill is being proposed against gay sex which is set to be introduced in Uganda’s national assembly based on reports by a senior official.
According to state minister for ethics, Simon Lokodo who has in the past and still continues to fight hard to have a law punishing homosexuals in Uganda introduced, recently spoke about a new law that is yet to be tabled at the national assembly that will see harsh penalties levied against those who are part of the LGBTQ community.
Lawmakers supporting the anti-gay bill have refocused their energy on having a new anti-gay legislation law drafted in hopes of gaining strong support when its put to a vote at the national assembly, the state minister for ethics, Simon Lokodo, told local broadcaster NTV on Thursday.
While Uganda’s penal code “only criminalizes the act,” the East African country needs legislation against “recruitment, promotion, exhibition” activities related to gay rights, he said.
“With the standard of proof, when do you get people doing it in their houses? You only have to imagine,” Lokodo said.
However, the LGBTQ community isn’t standing idly by as news of a new bill resurfaces. Frank Mugisha, a gay rights leader told The Associated Press that activists will fight any effort to introduce legislation that violates the rights of LGBT people.
“Once they bring the bill we will fight it the same way we fought the other one,” he said Friday. “Ugandans are really tired. This is not an issue for Ugandans now.”
Will the law makers be able to pass the new bill despite having faced international condemnation back in 2014 for the anti-gay law enacted by President Yoweri Museveni? Time will only tell.
The minister for ethics, Mr. Lokodo has been known for his campaigns against homosexuals and has been on several occasions accused of breaking up LGBTQ events.
It should be noted that, the bill that faced backlash in 2014 was considered null and void because it had been passed by lawmakers during a session that lacked a quorum and it had prescribed punishments of up to life in prison for those convicted of engaging in gay sex.
It also prescribed lengthy terms for those convicted of “attempted homosexuality” and “promotion of homosexuality.”
It’s not yet clear whether the new bill will have similar terms or it will come with some new changes however, there is a high chance it will meet a lot of resistance from not only those within Uganda but also the international community.
According to Human Rights Watch, 32 African nations have varying laws criminalizing homosexuality. In many cases anti-gay laws are left over from the colonial era, one reason gay rights activists have fought vigorously to have the laws jettisoned.
Source: Washington Post
Author: Allan Bangirana
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