If you’re gay, Uganda is not a country you need to be visiting. Today (February 24), the African nation’s president, Yoweri Museveni, signed an anti-gay bill aiming to harshly punish anyone engaging in homosexual acts and to counteract the West’s tolerance of same sex relationships.
Reports The Grio:
President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill at his official residence in an event witnessed by government officials, journalists and a team of Ugandan scientists whose report —which found that there is no proven genetic basis for homosexuality — cited by Museveni as his reason for backing the bill.
“We Africans never seek to impose our view on others. If only they could let us alone,” he said, talking of Western pressure not to sign the bill. “We have been disappointed for a long time by the conduct of the West. There is now an attempt at social imperialism.”
Without naming them, Museveni accused “arrogant and careless Western groups” of trying to recruit Ugandan children into homosexuality, prompting local pressure for the law.
The original bill called for the death penalty for certain homosexual acts.
What it still included is a 14 year prison sentence and even a life sentence for particular situations (i.e. repeat offenders or knowingly being HIV positive and engaging in sex).
Needless to say, this isn’t going over so well with other countries in the world.
Some European countries such as Sweden have threatened to cut aid to Uganda if the measure was enacted and U.S. President Barack Obama warned that signing the bill would “complicate” this East African country’s relationship with Washington.
“By signing this bill, Museveni has not only let down gay Ugandans; he has also failed the very constituencies he claims to be protecting, including children,” said Maria Burnett, a Uganda researcher for Human Rights Watch. “Laws to protect children from abuse by perpetrators of either the same or the opposite sex are on the books, but are poorly enforced in Uganda; policing consensual same-sex activity between adults and criminalizing talking about sexual rights will only distract from important police work and take away resources from the hard work of protecting children from abuse.”
Uganda’s stance on homosexuality, it is illegal in the country isn’t an anomaly in African. Last month, Nigeria passed an anti-gay bill.