President Yoweri Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni

Earlier reports that Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni had refused to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Parliament in December could be premature.

He may still do so – if he can’t be given scientific proof that homosexuality is “normal”.

According to the Ugandan media, Museveni is planning to consult scientists to prove to him that homosexuality “is a normal behaviour” and that gay people are born that way.

Unnamed sources have claimed that caucus members of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), Uganda’s ruling party, pressured Museveni to sign the bill at a meeting on Friday last week.

According to The Observer, Museveni was booed by MPs at the meeting when he said that gay rights activists had “told him that gays were born just like albinos”.

According to the Sunday Monitor, Dr Medard Bitekyerezo, MP for Mbarara Municipality, responded to the President, saying that “Homosexuality is not genetically transmitted. It is a behavioural deviation but on the negative side”.

Dr Chris Baryomunsi, MP for Kinkizi East, is quoted as saying: “The President wanted the science which we gave him and he agreed with us that recruiters and promoters should be dealt with accordingly. We told him that homosexuality started as a result of adventurism.”

The Monitor further reported that it had been informed that South Africa’s Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu had contacted Museveni, urging him not to sign the bill.

It appears that a team of scientists could be asked to present a report on homosexuality at next month’s NRM caucus retreat.

Museveni has previously stated that he believes that homosexuality is “abnormal”. Whether he can be convinced otherwise would likely depend on which “scientists” he chooses for this team.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill punishes “aggravated homosexuality” with life imprisonment. In addition, anyone who “aids, abets [or] counsels” any gay person and anyone who rents a home or room to a gay person could also be sentenced to seven years in jail.

The bill further includes criminal penalties of three to seven years in prison for anyone who fails to turn over gay people to the police or anyone who “promotes” homosexuality.

If Museveni refuses to sign the bill after it’s been sent to him twice by Parliament, MPs have the power to force it into law without his approval with a two-thirds majority vote.

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