(WB) A spokesperson for the Ugandan government says it will not reintroduce a bill that would impose the death penalty upon anyone found guilty of homosexuality.
“Government hereby clarifies that it does not intend to introduce any new law with regards to the regulation of LGBT activities in Uganda because the current provisions in the penal code are sufficient,” tweeted Ofwono Opondo on Oct. 12.
Opondo’s comments come a day after Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo spoke with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Homosexuality is not natural to Ugandans, but there has been a massive recruitment by gay people in schools, and especially among the youth, where they are promoting the falsehood that people are born like that,” said Lokodo.
Uganda is among the countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized. Lokodo nevertheless said his country’s “current penal law is limited.”
“It only criminalizes the act,” he told Thomson Reuters. “We want it made clear that anyone who is even involved in promotion and recruitment has to be criminalized. Those that do grave acts will be given the death sentence.”
President Yoweri Museveni in 2014 signed Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, which imposed a life sentence upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual act. The law was known as the “Kill the Gays” bill because it once contained a death penalty provision.
The Obama administration after Museveni signed the law cut U.S. aid to Uganda and imposed a travel ban against officials who carried out human rights abuses. Uganda’s Constitutional Court later struck down the Anti-Homosexuality Act on a technicality.
OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern and Kasha Jacquelin, a prominent Ugandan LGBTI advocacy group, are among those who sharply criticized Lokodo’s comments. A State Department spokesperson told the Washington Blade last week “there has been no credible information that the government of Uganda is seriously considering introducing this bill.”