Uganda’s Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, has compared gay people to “mongols” who should be treated with pity rather than being jailed.
“I think in our traditions, and this is what I believe, homosexuality is treated as an abnormality,” said Mbabazi at a Foreign Affairs Ministry meeting on Monday, filmed by NTV Uganda.
“Given that as a fact, the next question is how do we treat abnormalities in society? Do you kill them?” he asked.
“If you identify an abnormality and you say ‘let’s kill these abnormals’, my conclusion is that you are the one that is abnormal… They need help. How do you treat your children who are born… I don’t know what better word to use… as mongols? Do you execute them, imprison them for life?”
The term ‘mongol’ is an outdated and offensive term for a person born with Down’s syndrome,
The comments, however insulting and discriminatory, have been seen as an expression of Mbabazi’s (and possibly the government’s) opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Uganda’s parliament late last year.
At the meeting, Mbabazi also advised Ugandan ambassadors to “ignore” international concerns about the bill and instead focus on marketing the country to investors and tourists.
The original version of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill included the death penalty for “repeat offenders”. The approved version has retained life imprisonment for those found guilty of homosexuality as well imprisoning anyone who holds a gay wedding, “promotes” homosexuality, or runs a gay or lesbian organisation or venue.
The bill is awaiting the approval of President Yoweri Museveni, who has said that he will study it carefully before deciding to sign it or send it back to parliament.