Ugandan gay rights advocacy group, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has condemned the re-introduction of the notorious Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 which seeks the death penalty for gays.
In a press release issued on Monday in Kampala, SMUG also clarified media reports suggesting that the reintroduced bill had dropped the death penalty as the bill’s author David Bahati has been widely quoted as saying by a number of media outlets.
SMUG noted that while Bahati has indicated his willingness as the MP moving the Bill to remove the provision, the version that was re-tabled appears to be the original, intact form.
According to SMUG, even if such an amendment were to be recommended and adopted, the bill would still be unacceptable. The statement said, “With or without the death penalty, this Bill remains unacceptable, and Ugandans who love their country, regardless of sexual orientation, should stand against it.”
The re-tabling of the Bill came barely a week after the first anniversary of the murder of SMUG’s Advocacy and Litigation Officer, David Kato, who was killed on January 26 2011.
Dennis Wamala, Vice Chair SMUG Executive Board said in the statement, “This bill if passed will only serve to show that the state is not committed to protecting minority groups within its borders.”
Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of SMUG and 2011 Laureate – Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award said, “This bill is not only about homosexuality, but it can actually target the heterosexual community, who, for instance, fail to disclose people they know are homosexuals. We shall fight it to end.”
The statement also called on Ugandan MPs and the Executive to focus on the real issues that are affecting the nation such as unemployment, inadequate health services such as with the outbreak of “nodding disease” in Northern Uganda. Nodding disease is a fatal, mentally and physically disabling, little-known disease which emerged in Sudan in the 1980s.
“It is un-African to suggest killing, whether it is because of sexual orientation or any other reason. We think this bill is very unfair. We are lobbying for its removal,” said Anglican priest Michael Kimindu, the African president of the Other Sheep, a Gay Rights group based in Kenya.
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