A bill introduced by Member of
Parliament (MP) David Bahati, a member of the ruling National
Resistance Movement, includes a provision that calls for the death
penalty for gay men and women in Uganda, the BBC reported.
Bahati's Anti-Homosexuality Bill
would approve the death penalty for having gay sex with a disabled
person, anyone under 18 or when the accused is HIV-positive.
The bill increases the penalties for
being gay in a country where it is already illegal.
It would also criminalize the
“promotion of homosexuality,” effectively banning political
organizations, broadcasters and publishers that advocate on behalf of
gay rights. The bill's provisions that ban sexual intent are its
most noxious and likely to be abused.
“A person who keeps a house, or a
place of any kind for purposes of homosexuality commits an offense
and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years,” the
Friends and family of gay men and
lesbians would also become criminals if they failed to report a
“It will almost certainly lend itself
to misapplication and abuse, and implicitly encourages persecution of
LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people by private
actors,” the gay rights group International Gay & Lesbian Human
Rights Commission (ILGHRC) said in a statement.
“HIV prevention activities in Uganda,
which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide
condoms and other safer-sex materials, will be seriously damaged.
Women, sex workers and people living with AIDS, and other
marginalized groups may also find their activities tracked and
criminalized through this bill,” the group adds.
The bill enjoys wide support in the
Parliament and President Yoweri Museveni, a conservative, is likely
to support it.
“Members of parliament are
overwhelmingly supporting this bill because homosexuality is illegal
in Uganda, and we have that clearly in the penal code,” MP John
Otekat Emile told the BBC.
Last year Uganda's controversial ethics
and integrity minister called on lawmakers to draft stricter laws against gay men and lesbians.
“Who's going to occupy Uganda 20
years from now if we all become homosexuals,” James Nsaba Buturo
said at an October press conference. “We all know that homosexuals
“It is an attempt to end
civilization. It is that serious,” he added.
“The state of moral health in our
nation is challenging and we are concerned about the mushrooming of
lesbianism and homosexuality. Ten years ago, this phenomena was not
there, but the disease has penetrated everywhere,” Buturo said in
calling for tougher penalties.