Is Uganda’s anti-gay law about to return?

Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity Minister, Simon Lokodo

There are fresh reports that Uganda’s reviled 2014 anti-gay law will be reintroduced into the country’s parliament.

According to the notoriously homophobic Ethics and Integrity Minister, Simon Lokodo, this may happen as soon as this week.

“On homosexuality, I am strong, firm, determined,” he told NTV Uganda in an interview posted on Saturday.

“That is why I will never stand [for] a situation of a homosexual exhibiting himself, recruiting and canvassing people to come and join them.”

Lokodo reportedly also confirmed to NTV Uganda that Bufumbira East Member of Parliament Dr James Nsaba Buturo will this week seek leave of the house to re-table the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The legislation was first passed by the Parliament of Uganda in December 2013 and signed into law by President Museveni in February 2014, despite a wave of international condemnation. Later that year, however, the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled the Act invalid on procedural grounds because not enough MPs were present when it was voted on.

While he said that the original passage of the law was “botched”, Lokodo insisted that “now it is coming back and members of parliament are determined to come in big numbers and ensure that the law is put in place.”

Since its repeal, anti-LGBTQ legislators have repeatedly threatened to reintroduce the law but there has been little political will to do so to date.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act extended the country’s existing ban on gay sex and also punished repeat “offenders” and attempts by same-sex couples to marry, all with life imprisonment.

In addition, anyone who “aids, abets [or] counsels” a gay person and anyone who rents a home or room to a gay person could also be sentenced to seven years in jail. The law further included criminal penalties of five to seven years in prison for anyone who “promotes” homosexuality.

Previous colonial-era legislation criminalising gay sex remains in force in Uganda, allowing the state to punish anyone found guilty of the “offence” with life in prison.

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