- East Africa
- Justice - Sexuality - Governance
Uganda to withdraw anti-gay bill as economy nosedives
The controversial anti-gay bill which was recently tabled in Uganda’s parliament could soon be withdrawn by Uganda’s government. According to Uganda’s minister of state for investment, Aston Kajara, the proposed bill has already started affecting foreign investment.
Towards the end of last year, a Member of Parliament, David Bahati, tabled a private members’ bill against homosexuality in parliament which proposed very tough punishments, including the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality.
A lot has been written in the internationl media against the bill and the government of Uganda, since the proposed bill was made public.
"We are not happy with what is being said about Uganda because of the anti gay bill. Ever since the anti-gay bill was tabled, there has been outcries not only here but from allover the world against it. This is likely to affect the flow of foreign investors into the country," Aston Kajara said.
According to the minister, it is unfortunate that the international community is attacking the government of Uganda because of the bill. He said that the government had no hand in the formation and tabling of the anti-gay bill. This opposes a statement made, two weeks ago, by the deputy speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, who said she would ensure "that the parliament plays its role so that the bill is passed."
A few days before Chrsitmas, minister of state for ethics and integrity, James Nsaba Buturo had announced that Uganda will not be intimidated by donor countries which have threatened to cut aid to the country if the bill is not dropped.
But Mr. Kajara says the government is considering having the bill withdrawn. "The anti-gay bill is a private members’ bill. It was tabled by an MP called David Bahati. The government is considering talking with Bahati so that he withdraws the bill."
However, anti gays in Uganda are not happy with the government’s possible withdrawal of the bill. One of the leaders of the anti-gays in Uganda, pastor Solomon Male said, "If the government withdraws the bill, it will be the worst disaster to befall Uganda in this century."
Two weeks ago, groups of Christians demonstrated in Uganda’s capital Kampala against first world donor countries who had criticised the anti-homosexual bill. The demonstrations were organized by several religious leaders coordinated by the anti-gay pastor Martin Sempa.