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Museveni declines to sign Anti-Homosexuality Bill, returns it to parliament

According to a tweet shared by Mr Dombo, one of the resolutions the party agreed on is to send the bill back to Parliament for improvement.

President Museveni. PHOTO/ FILE

KAMPALA, UGANDA: President Museveni has declined to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 passed last month and returned it to parliament for further improvement.

The decision was among the many resolutions the legislators from the ruling NRM party reached at during Thursday’s meeting with the President at Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala.

According to Emmanuel Dombo Lumala, the NRM Communications Director, the core resolution to return the bill came after “exhaustively examining all related issues and reviewing previous discussions on the subject,” and the party agreed in whole to send the bill back with proposals for its improvement.

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The President in his remarks said he was supportive of the Bill adding that homosexuals had no room to publicise or promote this vice within Uganda. It was not clear what the president’s recommendations were.

This is the second time the Anti-homosexuality bill is suffering such setbacks since 2014 and it’s not clear if it will ever become law in the country.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda — as it is in more than 30 of Africa’s 54 countries — under a colonial-era law criminalizing sex acts “against the order of nature.” The punishment is life imprisonment.

Background of the Bill

On 21 March 2023, Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, with 387 out of 389 MPs voting in favour. For the Bill to pass into law, however, President Museveni must give his assent to the new legislation.

The bill which was introduced by Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwaearly this year proposed among others 20 years in jail for anyone engaging in acts of consensual same-sex acts and the death penalty for convicts of aggravated homosexuality.

The proposed legislation which was passed last month in a fully packed parliament attracted global condemnation, with the United States National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby saying Washington would “have to take a look” at imposing economic sanctions on Uganda.

International companies operating in Uganda have threatened to leave the country if the bill is signed into law, while European countries have vowed to withhold donor aid should the President assent to it.

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The President while addressing the nation recently had promised to convene a meeting with the Ugandan MPs to harmonize the bill and see how best to protect the children from homosexuality.

“Africa should provide the lead to save the world from this degeneration and decadence, which is really very dangerous for humanity. If people of opposite sexes stop appreciating one another, then how will the human race be propagated?” he asked.

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