Ugandan President ‘won’t be pressured’ into signing anti-gay law, says spokesman

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Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni “won’t be pressured” into signing the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, his spokesman has said.

“There has been pressure from religious leaders and Parliament to sign the bill into law,” presidential spokesperson Tamale Mirundi told AFP on Thursday.

He stated that President Museveni “won’t rush to assent the bill before he studies it” fully.

“President Museveni is a practical president, he takes decisions based on analysis and not on how many support or are against it,” Mr Mirundi added.

The United Nations has warned President Museveni against signing Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law, warning that it would “reinforce stigma and prejudice, and institutionalise discrimination”.

In December, Uganda’s Parliament passed legislation to toughen the punishment for same-sex sexual activity, including life imprisonment for ‘repeat offenders’.

It extends the current penalty of life imprisonment for anal sex to all other same-sex acts, even mere kissing and touching. The law introduces jail terms of five to seven years for promoting homosexuality, including advocating LGBT rights or assisting LGBT people or events.

The UK and US governments, criticised the move along with business magnate and investor Sir Richard Branson – who has urged for a corporate boycott of Uganda.

Speaking at a Christmas prayers event, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni said he would push the bill back to Parliament if he did not agree with it.

However, President Museveni is facing intense pressure from Ugandan MPs to sign the bill.

It is possible for parliamentary supporters of the bill to bypass the need for presidential approval if a further vote is tabled. They require a two-thirds majority.

LGBT campaigners will stage a protest on 8 January outside the Ugandan High Commission in London’s Trafalgar Square.