Uganda Prime Minister Seemingly Distances Government From ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill

Uganda Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi

Despite expectations the Ugandan Parliament might imminently consider the “Kill The Gays” Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the legislation has been pushed down the agenda to a lower spot, raising questions as to whether it might even come up before the holidays. Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has made a peculiar statement about homosexuality that seemingly softens the government’s support of the bill while continuing to endorse a ban on LGBT advocacy:

MBABAZI: In Uganda, we have had homosexuality for generations. Everybody knows it. You know, various local languages, we have a name for homosexuals, don’t we? We do. That means it has been there. Whoever had the homosexual was.. was killed. But there is a way in our cultures, we handle them to show our displeasure and no-acceptance of homosexual activities — homosexuality and homosexual activities, you should mark the difference between the two. Okay?

We know that in our own Penal Code, we carried this from the British. We amended this law, the Penal Code by Parliament (I’ve forgotten the year). That particular provision was amended. So it is unlawful already. So to the extent that it is unlawful, and the attempt in this bill to repeat what is already unlawful is not something we’ll support, supporting what is already in the bill. Why? Why would we support it? Because it’s already covered.

But there are certain aspects which may be new, like promotion of homosexuality, things like that. Those are things, when we come to debate, we’ll [unintelligible]… We set up a committee which has made a report, we go through this…

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As Box Turtle Bulletin notes, the statement is a puzzling one. Uganda has received a lot of negative international attention from not just the Anti-Homosexuality bill, but also financial scandals in the Prime Minister’s office and civil wars. Perhaps minimizing attention to this particular bill is one way to win back some international favor. Still, given the frequent myths circulated by the legislation’s proponents, the statement could simply be further obfuscations.