Uganda’s Parliament Retains Death Penalty as it Passes Revised Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Leaders of the US conservative Christian group Family Watch International travelled to Uganda and met with Uganda’s first lady, Janet Museveni and other government officials to encourage the passing of the Bill.

Uganda’s Parliament passed a revised Anti-Homosexuality Bill on Tuesday, retaining executions for certain same-sex activity and introducing harsher penalties for some categories of ‘offences’.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had declined to sign into law an earlier version of the Bill after the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) had advised him that it would be open to various legal challenges, sending it back to Parliament to be tightened up.

The inclusion of the death penalty in particular would leave the bill open to legal challenge in a country that has effectively ended the use of capital punishment, wrote DAG Kaafuzi Jackson Kargaba in a letter to the president.

However, Parliament has voted to retain the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” – defined as sex with a child or disabled person or while living with HIV. A 20-year prison sentence for “knowingly promoting homosexuality” has also been retained.

However, the Bill no longer makes it a crime to simply identify as LGBTQ and people are only obliged to report homosexual activity if a child is involved.

The Bill had the support of all but one of the MPs, many of whom have persistently equated homosexuals with paedophiles.

Speaker Anita Among took issue with Kargaba for pointing out the flaws in the earlier Bill and when he tried to explain his position, she refused to allow him to speak.

“Today Parliament has once again gone into the history books of Uganda, Africa and the world and clearly brought up the issue of homosexuality, the moral question, the future of of children and protecting families,” said Among.

“We have a culture to protect. The Western world will not come to rule Uganda,” she added.

Ironically, however, US conservative Christian groups have been pushing for the legislation since 2014 when a “kill the gays” Bill was passed but never implemented after being overturned in a legal challenge, and Among has been part of the high-level government officials meeting with these groups, including the Arizona-based Family Watch International.

“This legislation… is here to erase the entire existence of an LGBTQ person in Uganda, but also it radicalizes Ugandans into hatred of the LGBTQ community,” LGBTQ activist Frank Mugisha told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in an interview on Monday.

Since the previous Bill was passed a month ago, hate crimes and violence against LGBTQ people have risen sharply, according to the Human Rights and Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), a legal aid organisation.

In addition, police have arrested people on suspicion of being LGBTQ, according to HRAPF.

The Bill goes back to the president to be signed into law amid intense pressure for him not to from the US and European Union in particular.

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