What you need to know:
- While the legislators and proponents celebrated the passing of the Bill which now awaits President Museveni to sign, messages of condemnation started pouring in from the global community, including key partners such as the UN and the United States, terming the law as discriminatory and regressive.
- Other countries in Africa where homosexuality is banned include Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia, among others.
The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among revealed Thursday that she was flooded with threats ahead of the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023 by the House.
Parliament on Tuesday passed the Bill, introducing tough penalties, including death for aggravated homosexuality, as well as imprisonment of up to 20 years for acts of homosexuality, promoting homosexuality, child grooming and promotion of homosexuality.
In the revelation made during the special service prayers in remembrance of her predecessor, the late Jacob Oulanyah at Parliament on Thursday morning, Ms Among indicated that she was forced to switch off her phones hours to presiding over the plenary session that passed the controversial Bill that has stirred mixed reactions from stakeholders.
"For your information I got a lot of threats. I was intimidated. We are going to lose out drugs of AIDs, aid is going to be cut off. Tourism, trade, export [is going to be cut] I said so what?" the Bukedea Woman MP said.
She added: "I got a lot of calls, I was forced to switch off my phones. I said let me finish this session. I want to thank the legal brains [in the House like] Hon [Medard] Ssegona; you did a great job. I want to promise the Ugandans, MPs that once we are united, nobody will separate us."
She however, insisted that such threats would not dampen Parliament's need to safe guard morals of Ugandans.
"Whatever we did, the legislation on the Anti-Homosexuality that we passed was basically showing people that we are a people-centered Parliament. We do it for the majority of the people; we are not working for the few people," Ms Among added before echoing her vows: "We will work for the people. We will work for humanity. We are people's servants, we are here to serve the people of Uganda wherever they are..."
Speaker Among was lauded a big section of the lawmakers for being brave in processing of the Bill.
While the legislators and proponents celebrated the passing of the Bill which now awaits President Museveni to sign, messages of condemnation started pouring in from the global community, including key partners such as the UN and the United States, terming the law as discriminatory and regressive.
In a statement, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Volker Turk, asked Mr Museveni to abstain from assenting to the Bill.
“The passing of this discriminatory Bill - probably among the worst of its kind in the world –- is a deeply troubling development,” he said in a statement. If signed into law by the President, it will render lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Uganda criminals simply for existing, for being who they are. It could provide carte blanche for the systematic violation of nearly all of their human rights and serve to incite people against each other,” he said.
Similar sentiments were echoed by the US Secretary of State, Mr Anthony Blinken.
“The Anti-Homosexuality Act passed by the Ugandan Parliament yesterday would undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/Aids. We urge the Ugandan government to strongly reconsider the implementation of this legislation,” Mr Blinken tweeted.
These reactions mirror events of the aftermath of the passing of a similar law in 2014, when donors, including the US government, imposed sanctions on Uganda for its “counter to universal human rights” laws. Individuals, including now State Minister for Trade David Bahati, who sponsored the Bill, were banned from entering the US. The sanctions also affected funding to health and security exercises that are heavily donor-reliant.
Other countries in Africa where homosexuality is banned include Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia, among others.