Ugandan president: Colonial anti-gay law is good enough

Uganda’s President Museveni

Uganda’s President Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni doesn’t think a new anti-gay law is needed in Uganda and that colonial-era legislation is sufficient to criminalise homosexuality.

Just over a year ago, Uganda’s Constitutional Court struck down the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Act on a technicality. There have been threats by MPs to re-table another similar law ever since.

Speaking to AP on Saturday, Museveni addressed the discredited legislation; effectively acknowledging that early laws criminalising homosexuality were introduced by the continent’s previous colonial masters and are not indigenous to Africa.

“That law was not necessary,” said Museveni about the Anti-Homosexuality Act, “because we already have a law which was left by the British which deals with this issue.”

The colonial-era 19th century legislation was enshrined in the Penal Code Act 1950 by the British. It remains in force and criminalises “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” between two males, allowing the state to imprison anyone found guilty for life.

In 2000, the law was extended to also criminalise sex between women.

While Museveni may not feel that new legalisation is necessary, this does not prevent Ugandan lawmakers from attempting to enact additional anti-gay laws.

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