On Tuesday, Uganda’s Parliament swiftly passed legislation imposing stricter penalties on people engaging in same-sex activities, despite minor opposition within the House. The Speaker, Anita Among, declared that the House would not hesitate to restrict any rights that contradict Uganda’s sovereignty, morals, and culture. The new law includes a 10-year prison sentence for LGBTQ individuals or anyone involved in same-sex relationships.
This anti-gay law was previously invalidated by a court in 2014 after it was signed into law by President Museveni, but it returned to the 11th Parliament with nearly full attendance, including some MPs joining via Zoom. President Museveni spoke about the amendments on March 16th, referring to gay people as “deviants” and suggesting that scientific findings should determine the nature or nurture of homosexuality.
The Leader of Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga, expressed disappointment that the President’s speech was inconclusive and urged the government to respect Parliament’s decision. However, ruling party MP Fox Odoi criticized the legislation for containing unconstitutional provisions, reversing gains made in the fight against gender-based violence, and criminalizing individuals instead of conduct that violates legal provisions.
The Bill now awaits President Museveni’s approval.