Ugandan university loses UK accreditation over anti-gay legislation

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A college in Uganda has lost the accreditation of its degrees by a UK university, because of a disagreement surrounding anti-gay legislation seeking to intensify penalties for homosexuality.

The University of Buckingham has dropped its accreditation of degrees at Victoria University, Kampala, citing recently proposed legislation, widely referred to as the ‘kill the gays’ bill, referring to one of the clauses proposing death for offences such as “aggravated homosexuality”.

Uganda is currently considering legislation aimed at increasing penalties for homosexual acts – which are already illegal in the country.

Although MPs broke up in 2012 without debating the measure, the bill, which threatens to impose the death penalty for those convicted of breaking the proposed law, could still be introduced in parliament when it reconvenes next month.

University of Buckingham issued a statement which voiced concerns surrounding its partnership with Victoria University, and the legislation which is due to be considered by Ugandan parliament. It read:

“Over the last few months, the University of Buckingham has been in discussions with our partners, Edulink, who own Victoria University in Kampala, Uganda, about our continued validation of some of Victoria University’s courses.

“We have both become increasingly concerned about the proposed legislation in Uganda on homosexuality and in particular the constraints on freedom of speech in this area. In the light of this we have agreed to suspend our validation on the assurance that Edulink would produce viable arrangements for existing students on our validated courses to complete their studies.”

Victoria University also realised a statement, however didn’t mention the legislation specifically and instead cited issues surrounding “diversity”. It read:

“Under both UK and Ugandan law discrimination on a variety of grounds is prohibited; however there are fundamental differences between the two nations’ respective laws regarding equality and diversity, which cannot be reconciled.

“After seeking legal guidance from both UK and Ugandan lawyers, Victoria University and University of Buckingham have concluded that as the laws of Uganda and UK presently stand, Victoria University cannot comply with both sets of laws.”

President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala officially launched Victoria University on 10th September 2011.

Back in December 2012, President Museveni said gay people should not be killed or persecuted, but warned that homosexuality should also not be promoted.

Also in December, the Reverend Martin Ssempa, a homophobic pastor in Uganda who is well known for his lectures against homosexuality stunned television viewers in Uganda by demonstrating with fruit and vegetables how he believes gay men and women have sex.