Uganda’s Foreign Minister: Our anti-gay laws are Britain’s fault

Uganda’s Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa has blamed the country’s anti-LGBT laws on British Colonialism.

Many Commonwealth countries continue to enforce penal codes that were first introduced under the British Empire, and never repealed.

In total 40 out of the 53 Commonwealth member states still criminalise homosexuality. Under Uganda’s archaic penal code, “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” between two males carries a potential penalty of life imprisonment.

A harsher anti-gay law was signed into law in 2013, but it was later thrown out by the country’s Supreme Court on technical grounds.

Speaking before a United Nations human rights panel this week, Ugandan minister Sam Kutesa contended that his country was not to blame for its current anti-LGBT laws.

After being challenged about the persecution of LGBT people in his country, Kutesa insisted: “Some people seem to think there is a law prohibiting LGBT people as a new act.

“We have previous laws that we inherited as many countries have done, that relate to sexual offences. Yes, those do exist, but it’s not a new law.

“Let me give you the history on this issue.

“There was a private members’ motion that was introduced in our Parliament to criminalise the activities of the LGBTI community. That motion was passed by Parliament and assented to – however, it was challenged in our Courts of Law, and the Courts of Law struck it out. It is not in place.”

Kutesa claimed that his country was “tolerant” of homosexuals, but admitted persecuting gay people for “promotion”. Earlier this year, Pride events in Kampala were raided by police.

The minister said: “It is true that people of that orientation, even in Africa, have been there for centuries.

“We have never harassed them, however, we are not entirely enthusiastic about promotion. If that’s how you are, that’s how you are, but why promote it? I am what I am, but I don’t go around promoting it.

“We also will not accept exhibition. It’s your private life, live it. Nobody will discriminate against you or harass you. Let me say to you, we have had cases of harassment, where perpetrators have been arrested and charged, other cases are under investigation. There is no tolerance for that.”

He insisted: “It is a complicated matter and different countries are at different stages of developing with it, the acceptance, the change in cultural laws, it takes time. It hasn’t taken time in any country that I know of, it hasn’t come overnight.

“It will take time, but even as we go on, we do not accept and will not tolerate any discrimination because of sexual orientation. We do not accept any discrimination. We do not accept harassment of those people.”

The country’s so-called Minister of State for Ethics & Integrity Simon Lokodo recently threatened to arrest anyone who celebrates LGBT rights.

In a shameless attempt to link the gay rights activists to paedophilia and prostitution, he claimed: “We are aware that there are inducements, including money, being offered to young people to promote the practice. “