Wife of Uganda’s president denies Anti-Homosexuality Bill is designed for persecuting gays

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Uganda’s Observer newspaper says recent talks between human rights campaigners and President Yoweri Museveni have not had any noticeable effect on the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The paper says the bill continues to loom large against the backdrop of Ugandan politics.

It recommends long jail sentences for those convicted of homosexual acts and in certain cases has suggested the death penalty.

Last month, a delegation from America’s Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights met with President Museveni and his wife to discuss the bill. 

The president, who believes gay people can be viewed as “deviants”, accused European countries of trying to promote homosexuality and sexual liberalisation.

Mr Museveni was keen to downplay Uganda’s reputation for violent homophobic persecution and said any display of public affection – such as kissing his wife – would be frowned upon in Ugandan society.

Uganda’s Observer newspaper claims the president’s wife, First Lady Janet Museveni, reportedly told the delegation that the basis of the bill is not to persecute gay people, noting that Ugandans do not necessarily kill them although adding that they are not admired either.

The same message was reiterated by President Museveni.

Suggestions the bill would threaten Uganda’s international human rights commitments were also dismissed by MP Alice Alaso.

She said: “You (Westerners) have imposed on us enough of your bad practices, right from guns, and we shall not allow homosexuality in Uganda because the Bible forbids it.”