Sexual Minorities Uganda condemns all efforts by the government of Uganda to reintroduce the anti-homosexuality bill. In a press interview our Programs Director said, “ What came to my mind was NOT AGAIN!, we do not need this bill. We were not surprised though because every time elections are looming there’s a stir, we’ve been monitoring the political scene and we knew that before the end of the year this bill would come. We have lost a lot of people in the fight against discrimination, some have been killed, and others have had to seek refuge away from Africa while others languish in Kakuma camp. When something like this happens it threatens the little sense of security that the LGBTIQ community has been having, people start to go back into the closet which is not a healthy option. “
Our Executive Director Dr Frank Mugisha is of the view that bringing back this bill is government’s way of diverting the attention of Ugandans from other matters that they should be concentrating on at the moment. “I have spoken to Hon Lokodo and he acknowledges that there are LGBTIQ people in the country. His issue is with exhibition and promotion of homosexuality which we are not doing. Lokodo is the one promoting LGBTIQ people by bringing them up at every chance he gets. My strongest fear is that our leaders are homophobic and this bill would have a smooth sailing in parliament if it is brought back as a private members bill.” He says.
Pepe Julian Onziema added, “If the bill is coming the way it is, it is scary because it threatens those around us for example journalists who know us, our parents, friends, the small security net that we have established is threatened. Our immediate fear is physical attacks by boda boda riders, people in the market, our homes are not safe too. If political leaders continue make statements about the bill against LGBTIQ people, the masses will be incited and will be compelled to attack us. Some people know where community members live and they can easily attack them. People had already started accepting that the first Anti Homosexuality Act was scrapped, bringing the bill back this way destroys all the hard work we have done and all the unlearning that members of the community have done. This law is not anti LGBTIQ, it is anti Ugandan because it destroys our diversity as Ugandans. As SMUG, the fact that we have a community to serve is rewarding for us, we are not about to stop advocating for the human rights of LGBTIQ people in Uganda.”
Dr Frank Mugisha says “The most contentious part of the bill is having to report LGBTIQ people to the authorities. This means that Doctors, counselors, religious leaders, and families will be at risk of being punished by the law. Professionals will be required to defy their ethics to serve the law. The death penalty is also going to be a big issue; life imprisonment will be contentious as well. Uganda will lose a lot of business because big business entities will not want to be associated with a country that sentences its citizens to death because of homophobia.
It should be noted that the government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo tweeted that the government is not interested in pursuing the anti-homosexuality bill after Hon Simon Lokodo went on national TV and announced that the bill will be tabled on 28th October 2019. When asked to comment on the matter Bufumbira East Member of Parliament Dr James Nsaba Buturo who took leave the house to re-table the anti homosexuality bill said he has no knowledge about government halting anyone from re-tabling the bill.
Earlier this year the Speaker Of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga while receiving a petition from “ex gays” promised to arrange for a meeting with the President of Uganda. She said “ I shall make sure I schedule a meeting with him and share your plight.” She made the commitment when the “ex gay community” petitioned her requesting for a meeting with the President to explain their experiences during the period they practiced homosexuality. They were of the view that the anti homosexuality bill is enacted. The same group claims that they were “recruited” into homosexuality but have made no efforts to present any substantial evidence.