The parliament in East African Uganda passed a law on Tuesday that provides for strict penalties for same-sex relationships. In the worst case, homosexuals “guilty of serious crimes” risk the death penalty. The MPs did not specify in detail which offenses are included.
People who knowingly shelter homosexuals, provide medical care or legal assistance can also be sentenced to a maximum of ten years in prison. The law will come into effect only after it is signed by Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s longtime president. However, the 78-year-old has already expressed his good will in the run-up to the farewell. Museveni had vetoed previous laws, such as 2021, because he feared criticism from the West. Even now, the law is strongly condemned internationally. Austria’s UN Human Rights Commissioner, Volker Türk, described it as one of the “worst of its kind in the world”.
pressed the agenda
Incitement to hatred against homosexuals is the order of the day in the East African country with a population of about 45 million. Religious and political leaders sometimes outdo each other with homophobic statements – long before the law came along. Although anti-gay laws are already in place, the new law is even more drastic for privacy.
The behavior of parliamentarians during Tuesday’s debate showed how heated the atmosphere is in Uganda. One MP demanded: “Homosexuals must be castrated.” In English, this can mean both to sterilize and castrate homosexuals. Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, one of the few MPs to criticize the law, was berated by his colleagues. An earlier version of the law did not provide for the death penalty, but a clause was added during the parliamentary debate.
Muslims call for our death
Sam Ganafa, head of Ugandan gay rights group Spectrum, urged members of the LGBT community to be cautious: “Everyone is calling for our persecution. Members of the Muslim faith even call for our death.” Gays and lesbians are already losing their jobs or are homeless because landlords are turning them away. Now the attacks would increase. The English abbreviation LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“With this law, we are left with nothing but fear and danger. The best way is to leave this country,” a 23-year-old trans woman told reporters on Wednesday. Two weeks ago, she was attacked by a group of teenagers who threatened to remove her testicles to “make her a real woman”.
Hostile attitude widespread
The climate for homosexuals has also deteriorated recently in other East African countries. Kenyan President William Ruto, a self-declared Christian, said in early March that there was no place for homosexuality in his country. Homosexuals face prison sentences in almost all East African countries, and even the death penalty in Somalia.
In Africa as a whole, Christian or Muslim beliefs are still very important. Many people think that homosexuality does not fit with traditional morality. Moreover, African politicians keep saying that
I am Wallace Jones, an experienced journalist. I specialize in writing for the world section of Today Times Live. With over a decade of experience, I have developed an eye for detail when it comes to reporting on local and global stories. My passion lies in uncovering the truth through my investigative skills and creating thought-provoking content that resonates with readers worldwide.