The Ugandan government has released a statement saying a law that can see those found guilty of repeated “aggravated homosexuality” serving up to 14 years in jail has been “misinterpreted” and is not homophobic.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was signed by the much-maligned Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in February, called for stringent laws on repeat offenders to be put in place as well as making it a criminal offence not to report someone found to be gay.
After signing the Bill, Museveni said that all Africans were “flabbergasted by this exhibition of sexual conduct” and that he could not understand “why a man can’t be attracted to a beautiful woman instead of being attracted to a fellow man.”
Adding: “We don’t impose ourselves on Western culture. What is wrong with this then? Why must you show us how you kiss?”
The signing of the bill led to a wave of international criticism for Museveni and his government, which resulted in the cutting of much of their aid – which is thought to be in the region of $1.6 billion.
Just last month, the US, one of Uganda’s biggest donors, said that they would be re-directing funds away from government agencies, as well as preventing any Ugandan state officer found guilty of human rights violations against the LGBT community from entering the country.
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However, a statement today from the Ugandan government claims that the law had been misinterpreted and say it had had only been put in place to stop “open promotion of homosexuality”.
The statement also said: “The enactment has been misinterpreted as a piece of legislation intended to punish and discriminate against people of a ‘homosexual orientation’, especially by our development partners.”
It concluded: “Uganda reaffirms that no activities of individuals, groups, companies or organisations will be affected by the act.”
In the confusing statement by the Ugandan government it still seems unclear as to how gay people can avoid being prosecuted under the new law.