MP Steve Mbikayi (Facebook)

MP Steve Mbikayi (Facebook)

There are concerns that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could be faced with an anti-homosexuality law inspired by Uganda and Nigeria’s draconian legislation.

This week we reported that there are moves afoot in Kenya to target the LGBT community, but the new wave of African state homophobia may also be spreading to the DRC.

According to Think Africa Press, Congolese MP Steve Mbikayi introduced a draft bill in Parliament in December to criminalise homosexuality.

Unlike most African nations, the country does not have such a law in place.

Mbikayi has, said the site, been actively campaigning across the country in recent months promoting the proposed legislation.

It also revealed that it has seen the bill, which will jail anyone found guilty of homosexual acts for between three to five years. Transgender people would also be criminalised and would face a jail sentence of three to 12 years.

Under the bill, the state would pay most of the costs to “correct hormonal disorders that may result in homosexuality.”

“In relation to our culture, homosexuality is an ‘anti-value’ that comes from abroad,” Mbikayi told Think Africa Press. “Already, in our country, seeing a man with a man or a woman with a woman is considered scandalous. So I promised my base that I would take care of the issue and penalise homosexuals.”

While homosexuality may not currently be a criminal offence in the DRC, the US Department of State’s 2010 Human Rights Report found that “individuals engaging in public displays of homosexuality were subject to prosecution under public decency provisions in the penal code and articles in the 2006 law on sexual violence.”

There is no clarity on if and when the bill might be voted on by the Congolese parliament. It’s worth noting that it took more than four years for Uganda’s bill to become law from when it was first tabled in 2009.

If the bill is passed, the DRC would join the 37 other African countries that already criminalise homosexuality. The laws passed in Uganda and Nigeria, where gay sex was already illegal, extend the oppression of LGBT people to areas of public affection, marriage and even the formation of gay rights groups.

It remains to be seen if these laws will spark further legislative attacks on LGBT Africans under the guise of protecting children and upholding Christian and African “values”.

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