Uganda: Government denies plans to introduce new gay law

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KAMPALA, Uganda

Government has said it does not intend to re-introduce the contentious Anti-gay Bill contrary to reports that a new law was in offing.

The Bill was first introduced in 2009 drawing worldwide condemnation from gay rights activists because of the tough penalties including death for aggravated homosexuality, defilement and knowingly spreading HIV.
However, the punishment was reduced to life sentence. Some donors threatened to withdraw funding to Uganda. The Constitutional Court later annulled the law on grounds that it was passed without quorum in Parliament.

The proposed law has never returned to Parliament. Members of Parliament have time and again praised the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and President Museveni for standing firm against homosexuality.
Following local and international media reports, Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said there was no such Bill in the offing.
Earlier reports had indicated that the Bill would return to the House in its earlier form.

“Government hereby clarifies that it does not intend to introduce any new law with regards to regulation of LGTB activities in Uganda because the current provisions in the penal code are sufficient,” Mr Opondo tweeted.
Attempts to Speak to the Minister of Ethics Father Simon Lokodo, who is quoted by several media outlets on the proposed introduction of the legislation was futile as his phone went unanswered on several attempts to reach him.

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Spokesperson, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said government would risk so much if the Bill was brought back to the House.
He contends that President Museveni still wants to continue rubbing shoulders and enjoying support from the West. According to Mr Ssemujju, the Bill can only be brought as a private members Bill.

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