News / Africa

Ugandan Parliament Set to Re-introduce Anti-Gay Law

Ugandan anti-gay activists led by controversial Pastor Martin Sempa (C) speak to the press after the constitutional court overturned anti-gay laws in Kampala, August 1, 2014.Ugandan anti-gay activists led by controversial Pastor Martin Sempa (C) speak to the press after the constitutional court overturned anti-gay laws in Kampala, August 1, 2014.
x
Ugandan anti-gay activists led by controversial Pastor Martin Sempa (C) speak to the press after the constitutional court overturned anti-gay laws in Kampala, August 1, 2014.
Ugandan anti-gay activists led by controversial Pastor Martin Sempa (C) speak to the press after the constitutional court overturned anti-gay laws in Kampala, August 1, 2014.
Reuters

Uganda's parliament will try to re-introduce an anti-homosexuality law that was thrown out by a court, a lawmaker leading the effort said on Wednesday, a move that could once again damage relations with the West.

Last week, the east African country's constitutional court nullified the law, signed by President Yoweri Museveni in February, on a technicality, saying it had been passed by parliament without quorum.

That ruling - two days before the president flew to Washington for a U.S.-Africa summit - appeared to have handed Museveni a way out of a dilemma by striking down a law that he had backed enthusiastically but which was condemned by Western countries and threatened vital aid and investment.

It was not immediately clear whether Museveni would support the bill a second time, if passed by parliament again.

“We're mobilizing members to pledge their support for re-introduction of this bill when the House comes back from recess [in about two weeks' time],” Abdu Latif Ssebaggala, told Reuters.

Ssebaggala said he had started collecting signatures on Tuesday of members of parliament in favor of re-introducing the bill and that he expected to have over 200 - in a house of 383 members - by the end of Wednesday.

Homosexuality is taboo in much of Africa and is illegal in 37 countries there. But the punishments in Uganda were among the harshest.

Under the Anti-Homosexuality Act, the crime of “aggravated homosexuality” - someone with HIV having gay sex or anyone having gay sex with someone considered “vulnerable”, such as a disabled person - was punishable by life in jail.

The United States, Uganda's biggest donor, called the law “atrocious” and compared it to anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany and apartheid in South Africa. In June, Washington reduced aid, imposed visa restrictions and canceled a military exercise with Uganda in response.

The World Bank, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands also suspended or redirected aid. Sweden resumed financial support to Uganda last week.

Ssebaggala said that as the law had already been debated, it could be put directly to a vote.

During the bill signing, Museveni said homosexuality was emblematic of the West's “social imperialism” in Africa. Powerful Christian groups with links to U.S. evangelical movements call homosexuality an imported Western social evil. 

You May Like

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs