Uganda sets plans for new anti-gay law

Uganda's government last month set up a committee to investigate the alleged 'promotion' of gay, lesbian and transgender rights in schools.

Uganda will propose a new anti-gay bill on Wednesday, the speaker of the country’s parliament said, as conspiracy theories accusing shadowy international forces of “promoting homosexuality” flood social media.

According to an audio recording accessed by AFP, Annet Anita Among told a prayer meeting on Tuesday that “tomorrow we are going to bring a bill for anti-homosexuality”. 

Among also posted a video clip of the meeting on her Twitter account, writing: “We shall Jealously protect our cherished values and culture.”

Conspiracy theories

Western governments and aid agencies working in Uganda are routinely accused of “promoting homosexuality” in the East African nation, and have repeatedly defended the LGBTQ community from attacks related to their identity.

In recent weeks, online conspiracy theories conflating child sexual abuse at boarding schools with consensual same-sex acts between adults have reached fever pitch.

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Uganda’s government last month set up a committee to investigate the alleged “promotion” of gay, lesbian and transgender rights in schools.

In 2014, a Ugandan court struck down a bill passed by MPs and signed by President Yoweri Museveni that sought to impose life imprisonment for homosexual relations.

The bill had prompted global outrage, with some donor nations cutting aid to the country following its passage through parliament.

Homosexuality illegal

According to the audio clip heard by AFP, Among said: “We want to appreciate our promoters of homosexuality for the socio-economic development they have brought to the country… but we do not appreciate the morals they are killing.”

“We do not need their money, we need our culture.” 

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Frank Mugisha, executive director of leading gay rights organisation Sexual Minorities Uganda, which was suspended by the authorities last year, told AFP that he had already been inundated with calls from LGBTQ people over the proposed law. 

“Community members are living in fear,” he said.

“Homosexual acts are already illegal and a new law would mean more harassment and discrimination against people who are already vulnerable.”

Under colonial-era laws, homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda but since independence from Britain in 1962 there has never been a conviction for consensual same-sex activity.

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