Pastor Martin Ssempa
Supporters of Uganda’s anti-gay bill are moving to revive the bill while a university group claims that students are being paid to ‘become gay’.
According to the Daily Monitor, a petition – reportedly signed by two million people – calling for the bill’s passage was presented to Speaker of Parliament Edward Ssekandi by homophobic pastor Martin Ssempa on Wednesday.
“We as religious leaders and civil society are distressed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is being deliberately killed largely by the undemocratic threats of western nations,” he was quoted as saying by Voice of America.
“These same nations who promote democracy don’t want our representatives to discuss laws to protect our children from the human trafficking of recruiting our children into homosexuality.”
The bill’s supporters listed 19 organisations that they claim are “promoting” homosexuality.
The Monitor also reported that Ssekandi told Ssempa that the bill will indeed be debated in parliament, even if only in its next session.
“Since the Bill was tabled, I have received numerous calls from the international community to throw it out but I always tell them that I don’t have those powers,” he said.
The newspaper went on to report that a Makerere University student group, the Coalition of Concerned Youth Against Homosexuality, met with Steven Tashobya, chairman of the committee overseeing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
They told him that “recruitment of gays was rampant at the university campus” and that students are being paid an astonishing sum to ‘become gay’.
“The students told Mr Tashobya that each of their colleagues who join homosexuals is paid a monthly salary of Shs 800,000 [around R2,200],” said the newspaper.
Derrick Waiswa, head of the university group, was later held and then released after trying to hold an unauthorised press conference about the issue in Parliament.
“This was a handful of young people influenced by anti-gay groups, they did not know what they were doing or even why they are homophobic, in fact they almost got arrested for breaking parliamentary rules”, said Frank Mugisha, Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, on Facebook.
Last month, reports from Uganda indicated that the anti-homosexuality bill had been scrapped because it duplicates existing legislation criminalising homosexuality.
Originally tabled in 2009 by MP David Bahati, the bill would impose the death penalty in cases of multiple convictions of homosexuality and would penalise those who support or lobby for LGBT people.
The legislation has generated international outrage and placed Uganda’s government under considerable pressure.