Molefe Seeletsa

Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

‘Rooted in hate’: EFF slams Uganda’s ‘draconian’ anti-homosexuality bill

The Red Berets have urged Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the bill.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have joined the chorus of condemnation against Uganda’s anti-homosexual bill.

The bill was passed by the Ugandan parliament this week and aims to criminalise people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+).

The legislation, which has proposed harsh penalties such as life imprisonment and a death sentence for some offences, must now go to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for assent.

‘Rooted in hate’

Reacting to the eastern African’s move, the EFF denounced the bill, saying it was a gross violation of human rights.

The Red Berets believes that the passing of the “draconian law” was a step backward for the African continent because it was “rooted in religious fundamentalism and hate”.

“The stigma and hatred towards the LGBTQI+ community, not only in Africa but across the world, infringes on the rights of individuals to identify as they see it fit to express their sexuality without fear or persecution.

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“It is completely irrational, as it is based on homophobic and baseless rhetoric which collates sexual crimes with queer identity. It is a bill that criminalises the existence of people on the basis of their identity, and will open doors to numerous human rights violations,” the party’s statement reads.

The party urged Museveni to sign the bill into law.

“The harmful rhetoric and propaganda that is pervasive in Africa against the LGBTQI+ community is baseless and illogical, as crimes committed by all sexes and genders of society are without justification, attributed to the community.”

‘Grave assault’

United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk also urged Museveni not to promulgate the bill into law.

“The passing of this discriminatory bill -– probably among the worst of its kind in the world –- is a deeply troubling development,” Turk said in a statement.

“If signed into law by the president, it will render lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Uganda criminals simply for existing, for being who they are.

“It could provide carte blanche for the systematic violation of nearly all of their human rights and serve to incite people against each other.”

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Amnesty International also appealed to Museveni to reject the “appalling” legislation, describing it as a “grave assault” on LGBTQ people.

“This ambiguous, vaguely worded law even criminalises those who ‘promote’ homosexuality,” said Amnesty’s east and southern Africa director, Tigere Chagutah.

The bill will hand authorities broad powers to target gay Ugandans who already face legal discrimination and mob violence.

It will ban the promoting and abetting of homosexuality as well as conspiracy to engage in homosexuality, in addition to same-sex intercourse.

The death penalty can be invoked for cases involving “aggravated homosexuality” by a “serial offender,” or involving incest, according to the legislation.

Additional reporting by AFP

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