Anti-gays Bill was rushed - Museveni

President Museveni (L) speaks to Bishop Ibrahin Nathan, the head of Born Again Faith in western region, at Daystar Cathedral in Mbarara yesterday. Mr Museveni said the MPs rushed the anti-gays Bill. Photo by Alfred Tumushabe

What you need to know:

The President says he will first go through the specifics of the Bill and that if he finds that “it is not right”, he will send it back to Parliament.

Nationwide- President Museveni has said he will send the Anti-Homosexuality Bill back to Parliament if he finds some clauses “not right”.

The President was quoted in a State House statement issued yesterday saying that before assenting to the Bill, he would first go through the specifics, adding that if he finds that “it is not right”, he would send it back to the House.

Voicing concerns against the Bill passed amid protests from lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sympathisers, the President said: “They (MPs) never consulted me (on the Anti-Homosexuality laws).”
“I had told them to wait because I have a lot of work, but they rushed and have passed them,” he said.

Pastors appeal to Museveni
The President said this while attending Christmas prayers at Daystar Cathedral in Mbarara on Wednesday.
Mr Museveni’s views on a piece of legislation that has rattled Western donors were targeting comments made by the head of one of the Pentecostal Churches associations in Uganda, Pastor Joseph Serwadda, calling on the President to sign the Bill against Homosexuality.

Pastor Sserwadda told Mr Museveni that he has the backing of the religious leaders and should, therefore, go ahead and assent to the Anti-Pornography Bill and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as they were passed by Parliament.

However, the President said whereas he supports the fight against homosexuality, it is also important to consider how the laws are written.

His remarks cast a shadow over the private members’ Bill brought to Parliament by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, a compromise carefully negotiated over several years. At first, the Bill had proposed a death penalty for offenders but the clause was later dropped after international community and human rights defenders piled pressure on government.

Kadaga maintains stance
In a related incident, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has called on Ugandans to shun homosexual behavior.

Speaking during a Christmas service at St Paul’s church in Mbulamuti, Kamuli, Ms Kadaga called on Christians and Ugandans to shun homosexuality and reject ideas from activists “who want to be given freedom to spread the act”.

Gay rights have lately become a sticking political and diplomatic issue and divided opinion between Africa, where they are unpopular, and the West that markets the sexual orientation as a human right.
The Bill seeks, among other things, to slap charges of life imprisonment to those found guilty of homosexual acts.

Threats from the West

In October last year, UK Prime Minister David Cameron warned African countries that those receiving British aid should respect gay rights. But Ugandan presidential adviser John Nagenda in response to Mr Cameron told the BBC that Ugandans were “tired of these lectures” and should not be treated like “children”.

Reported by Alfred Tumushabe, Yasiin Mugerwa, Opio Sam Kaleb and Isaac Imaka