UGANDA’s hard stance on homosexuality and the possible introduction of legislation that would call for the death penalty for homosexuals led to a heated debate at the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand, North of Johannesburg.
The House had taken time off to pay tribute to Uganda as it celebrated 50 years of independence but as praises and congratulatory messages poured in, a remark by South African opposition MP Santosh Vinita Kalyan challenging Uganda government’s hostility towards homosexuality momentarily changed the momentum of the debate.
Kalyan, the Democratic Alliance’s party whip had started off by showering praises on the Museveni government for placing health ‘on top of its agenda” citing the fight against the Aids pandemic as an example.
However, she said, homophobia was "a blot” in the progress the Ugandan government had made.
"Uganda has a blot in terms of its stand and attitude towards homosexuals. Regrettably, they want to criminalize homosexuality,” Kalyan said while supporting the motion on Uganda.
Proposal to adopt hard-line stance and reject homosexuality rejected mostly by South African legislators
Move was proposed by Uganda; seconded by Kenya and Botwana MPs
Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries; punishment includes jail term, death
There is hardly any mention of same sex relations in women in most of African countries
Same sex relations are illegal in Uganda. Homosexuals are often subjected to violence and social rejection. Recently, David Cecil was jailed and released from prison for showing a gay themed play in Kampala.
The Ugandan lawmakers tried to go a step further, hoping to get the continent’s support for life imprisonment for homosexuals; this proposal was supported by the Kenyan legislator at PAP, Mungaro.
A Ugandan parliamentary member told the PAP seating: ‘Africa must stand up. We must pass a resolution condemning homosexuality because it is not an African culture. We are not allowed to practice polygamy in other countries, why should we be forced to do what is not natural?’
The proposal was rejected, with some members saying it’s a blot on Uganda’s remarkable emergence from civil war. South African parliamentary member Santosh Vanita Kalyan says the resolution that Uganda is calling for, is “bizarre.”
‘We want to tell Africa that Uganda has decided to uphold our value and culture and we are not stepping on anybody’s values. We cannot be allowed to practice polygamy in foreign countries and yet they come here and try to make us accept what is not natural,’ Uganda lawmaker Cecilia-Atim Ogwal said.
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