Joy, anger as Museveni signs law against gays

The signing of the Bill into law has drawn mixed reactions both from local and foreign gay sympathisers, communities.

Tuesday February 25 2014

Pastor Martin Ssempa celebrates the signing of

Pastor Martin Ssempa celebrates the signing of the Bill at the National Theatre in Kampala yesterday. Photo by Micheal Kakumirizi 

By Risdel Kasasira

Entebbe- President Museveni yesterday signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law, eliciting joy and condemnation across the world.

A tough-talking President told a fully-packed room at State House, Entebbe that western powers that have been pressuring him against signing the bill are social imperialists who want to impose their culture on Africans.

The President said supporters and promoters of homosexuality had “lost the argument” and warned development partners that Uganda was ready to live without aid.
“The outsiders cannot dictate to us. It’s our future and let them take their aid. In fact, it has been a problem,” he said.

A greater part of President Museveni’s speech dwelt on the scientific study done by 10 Ugandan scientists that concluded that homosexuals are “nurtured” and not “natural”.

“We reject the notion that homosexuality can be by choice. When I was fighting after the bill was passed, I didn’t’ know I was fighting a wrong war. I cannot understand why a person cannot be attracted to the beauties of women and go for men,” he said.

Mr Museveni said it was after getting this advice that he realised he was fighting a “wrong war”, adding that the practice was being fuelled by poverty.

“Many of our homosexuals are prostitutes,” said the President. “They are recruited because of money. There are no single nature-driven homosexuals. Nature without nurture, you cannot get homosexuals. Why don’t you remove this nurture and we rehabilitate them?”

Whereas Parliament passed the bill in December last year, the President initially hesitated to assent to it, at first citing the lack of quorum but later indicating he would seek expert scientific opinion.

At the just-concluded NRM party retreat at Kyankwanzi, the President announced he would sign the bill after scientists told him the practice is largely nurtured and not natural.
Offering more advice yesterday, the President warned against oral sex, which he said exposes those involved to health risks.

“I hear some of them do oral sex. The mouth is for eating, not for sex. You can get gonorrhea of the mouth on account of oral sex. Why should you get diseases because of going to a wrong address?” he asked.

Mr Museveni said Africans survived slave trade, colonialists and would also “win the war” against homosexuality.

Moments after news spread that the President had assented to the bill, there were pockets of celebration in parts of downtown Kampala, with traders saying the law will protect their families.

At Omega Healing Centre children carried placards as they praised Museveni, Cabinet and Parliament for enacting the law.

The Church’s pastor, Michael Kyazze, told a congregation of mainly primary and secondary students: “President Museveni has saved you, the future generation.”

Renowned anti-homosexuality crusader Pastor Martin Ssempa, who led a group of followers in celebration at the National Theatre, said he would help rehabilitate homosexuals.
“As Kayihura (police chief) will be playing his part (of arresting), we shall also be playing our part of rehabilitating our brothers and sisters,” he said.

1/2 next