Uganda’s President says new anti-gay laws ‘not necessary’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said he will not pursue further anti-gay legislation in the country.

The long-standing leader has declared that he will not pursue further anti-gay legislation, after previous attempts to strengthen the country’s anti LGBT legislation were defeated.

President Museveni signed the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill last February. The law called for repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and to make it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay.

However, the country’s Constitutional Court later struck down the bill, finding that the speaker of parliament acted illegally by moving ahead with a vote on the law despite at least three lawmakers objecting to a lack of quorum.

“That law was not necessary, because we already have a law which was left by the British which deals with this issue,” Museveni told reporters last week.

Uganda’s horrendously homophobic legislation already punishes gay sex with up to life imprisonment under a colonial-era anti-sodomy law. Same-sex marriage is also banned as part of the country’s constitution.

“It is our view that we punish exhibitionism, recruiters and homosexual prostitutes,” Museveni said in February last year as he signed the law on live TV.

“We are sick of homosexuals exhibiting themselves. All Africans are flabbergasted by this exhibition of sexual conduct.”

The law was heavily criticised in the west, with the US announcing sanctions against Uganda, following the implementation of the law.

In July, a Ugandan presidential candidate made history – by affirming that he opposes homophobia.

With the 2016 election approaching, former prime minister Amama Mbazazi stated that he opposes homophobia – making him one of the only Ugandan politicians to ever do so.

Last month, a small but visible group of people took to the streets of Uganda to celebrate Pride – a year since the controversial anti-gay law was scrapped.