In an apparent change of attitude towards homosexuality, President Museveni has told NRM legislators that any re-enacted anti-gay law should respect the rights of two consenting adults who engage in same-sex relationships.

Addressing the ruling party caucus at State House Entebbe on Monday, Museveni cautioned MPs to tread carefully on the mooted plan to return the recently-annulled Anti-Homosexuality Act to the floor of Parliament.

“I have no problem with two adults consenting to doing their things privately, but I have a problem with those who are luring our young people,” a source quoted Museveni as having said.

Fresh from a US-Africa summit, Museveni reportedly told MPs he had gone through a difficult time on the international scene ever since he publicly assented to the controversial law in February.

“We over showed-off after the enactment of the law which landed us into problems, because many other countries passed similar laws quietly and got away with it,” he said.

Museveni chose to open up to the legislators after realising that many of them supported the re-enactment of the controversial law. His views seemed to have been formed after submissions by about eight MPs, including state ministers Bright Rwamirama (Animal Industry) and Henry Banyenzaki (Economic Monitoring), in favour of fast-tracking the process of re-tabling the bill in Parliament.

Among the challenges Museveni encountered, the source said, was a petition by 10 US senators to Barack Obama asking the American president to strike Uganda and Nigeria from the list of US’ trade partners.

“[Museveni] said we risked having our exports rejected on the American market, which would have adverse effects on our revenues. And, besides that, some investors from the US like the apparel factory at Bugolobi [which benefits from duty-free access to US markets] were also threatening to wind up their operations in Uganda,” an MP said.

Addressing a news conference yesterday, Government Chief Whip Justine Kasule Lumumba, said the caucus eventually agreed to set up a committee to study the law before its re-enactment.

What it means

Museveni’s new push for concessions on gay rights means that if the recently -annulled law is re-introduced in the House, it would have to be re-drafted so that the offence of homosexuality is redefined.

The annulled legislation had provided that someone commits the offence if-(a) he penetrates the anus or mouth of another person of the same sex with his penis or any other sexual contraption; (b) he or she uses any object or sexual contraption to penetrate or stimulate sexual organ of a person of the same sex; (c) he or she touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality. Under section 2, a person who commits an offence under this section should be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for life.

NRM legislators who spoke to The Observer after the meeting said the president’s message to the caucus implies that he is interested in having a law that punishes only those who promote the act of homosexuality, not those who practice it in private.

Practice matter

Museveni advised MPs to approach homosexuality with a clear foresight of Uganda’s interests while at the same time not impairing Uganda’s international relations.

“This is a delicate situation...This is now an issue of Semusota guli muntamu, “Museveni reportedly said in reference to a Luganda saying that is loosely used in reference to delicate situations. The saying envisages a situation where a snake is in a cooking pot; if one tries to kill the snake, they might break the pot, if they don’t kill it, they will not cook.

On August 1, 2014, the Constitutional court unanimously agreed to nullify the Anti-Homosexuality Act on ground that the law was passed without the required quorum. A day after the judgment, Museveni hesitated to comment about the court’s judgment and the way forward during a press briefing at State Lodge, Nakasero, claiming that his views would be made known in the NRM caucus meeting.

In his speech to the caucus, Museveni reiterated that whereas homosexuality is not a priority of the country’s development agenda, he does not object to a move that seeks to protect the institution of family. However, he advised members to consider the likely implications, particularly for Uganda’s international trade relations.
“Even if the law threatens aid, there will be no problem. But it should not affect our trade relations,” Museveni reportedly said.

The president’s presentation was followed by a caucus discussion, in which members made a unanimous call for the re-enactment of the law. Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, the chief promoter of the annulled legislation, sought to allay the president’s worries that the legislation would affect Uganda’s trade relations. Bahati said that view was being propagated by pro-gay voices after failing on the issue of aid.

Vice-President Edward Ssekandi and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, both lawyers, gave differing legal opinions on the matter. Ssekandi advised that it is okay to re-introduce the bill. Mbabazi, on the other hand, said that it would be problematic to proceed on the reintroduction of the bill in light of a notice of appeal.

“This shows that the attorney general is going to challenge the decision. How, then, can we discuss a matter that is before court?” a source quoted Mbabazi as saying.

The president directed the attorney general to drop any intention of appeal and advised the caucus to set up a nine-member committee to study the matter and report back after a month. The committee, which will be chaired by Ssekandi, is mandated to study the petition, which challenged the law as well as advise the caucus on the likely implications of the law and perhaps how it should look like. Other members of the committee include Bahati, Dr Chris Baryomunsi (Kinkiizi East), Steven Tashobya (Kajara), Jim Muhwezi (Rujumbura) and Ruth Nankabirwa (Kiboga Woman).

Others are Fred Ruhindi (Nakawa), Aidah Erios Nantaba (Kayunga Woman) and Adolf Mwesige (Bunyangabu).  After the select committee has submitted its report, it will then be up to the caucus to make a decision for reintroduction of the bill. Then, cabinet will okay the move through the Finance minister, Maria Kiwanuka, granting a certificate of financial implication to pave the way for the bill’s re-tabling in the House.

“The caucus will decide whether it remains a private member’s bill or it will be taken over by the executive,” Lumumba said.

On Monday, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga received a petition from religious leaders urging Parliament to re-enact the law. By press time, Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebaggala had collected 207 signatures for a petition to reintroduce the law as a special legislation. On whether the law will go through the normal process like any other bill, West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth Oboth, the chairperson of the House’s Rules Committee, said: “This bill had been debated and views from both sides are known; so, some rules will be waived.”

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+1 #1 Betty Long Cap 2014-08-13 00:39
President Museveni goes too far when he condones what God condemns.

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted as wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. Proverbs 17:28
+17 #2 Miss Uganda 2014-08-13 00:44
Ha ha ha... this is the funniest thing I have heard in a long long time.

We over showed-off after the enactment of the law which landed us into problems, because many other countries passed similar laws quietly and got away with it,” he said.

This is the closest to the truth M7 has ever said.

But people, remember him chest thumping in front of the international press saying, " you know the problem with westerners is they don't understand politeness. Unless you tell them to go eat their mother's something something..."

Banange this is too much humble pie to munch on!!
+10 #3 KATHERINE 2014-08-13 01:13
“We over showed-off after the enactment of the law which landed us into problems, because many other countries passed similar laws quietly and got away with it,” Ssabalwanyi said.

Its Museveni himself who over showed off by parading the media as he was signing it into law!

Knowing how power hungry Museveni is, all the west had to do was to close donor taps and he couldn't afford to see power slipping away. before you know it he will be the same Museveni campaigning for gay rights if need be.

Museveni is just one man who can do anything to retain power, it doesn't surprise anyone
-4 #4 Leon 2014-08-13 01:19
That's the reason as to why the East African community should be realized.

After a United States of Africa, we need to unite to win the battle other wise if we remain divided under the cultural huts, otherwise God is going to strick Africa, if we all supported a one East African or African one president it would be difficult to penetrate our values! Well all know the govements position on the matter!
+10 #5 Patricia 2014-08-13 02:38
M7 will never let that law pass as his sources had been diminished by the aid cuts now he can accumulate his Billions in peace supported by the real powers that control Uganda. Donors!

if M7 really cared about Uganda he would not be spending 600m daily, he wouldn't have a 100 vehicle convoy, or cruise Pullman Benzes, Gulf stream Jets while mothers deliver on floors like rats.

The Dictator does not give a rats butt what Ugandans want as long as his Masters in the west are happy to look the other way while he terrorizes the opposition and un armed civilians and steals all public land and money he is a happy man set to rule till death.
+2 #6 Ace 2014-08-13 02:46
How absurd. Trading moral values for some change. What a shame.All pushed by a very immoral west.

God help us for we surely do not know what we are doing!
0 #7 Leon 2014-08-13 03:30
African countries remaining divided has a big cause of all this, with all the resources and wealth God gave Africa, how are we ever going to progress when we still divided?

Homosexuality come in uganda long time ago, we all know our own children practice it in there boarding schools, it's also practiced by religious leaders, and many high other high ranking persons,

If Africa was one, with the people always appreciating and working hand in hand with there leaders rather than always fighting and pointing fingers all this could not have happened. Africa would be the world member one.

But with the divisions we under going, we have to expect allot to come! Atleast homosexuals have not fought any one, if we as Africans can't unite for the good of our history and children.

Let God judge homosexuals instead of a divided and corrupt front!
The solution to this is why forming a one African state with one African parliament and president!
+6 #8 kamaparaa 2014-08-13 03:32
What an about-turn, i thought he said he cannot be intimidated by the west.

Now after the ameicans were closing in on his secret swiss accounts and other hiden riches, he starts panicking.
+9 #9 4ABetterUganda 2014-08-13 03:51
Mr. David Bahati's "anti-homosexuality" law is not a "Semusota guli muntamu" (big snake in a cooking pot)-issue. It is merely a case of Ugandan intellectual shallowness: obese politicians and their peasant-minded backers acting without thinking.

Why, otherwise, would nobody ever pause to ask themselves a few basic questions? For example, why are some people gay? Why do people choose to live gay lifestyles, against incredible odds, threats of persecution, death, hate, ridicule, etc?, and; is it right to prescribe a punishment of life in jail to a person who "touches another person with the intention of committing a so-called offence of homosexuality?", etc.

Mr. Bahati sat in a dark frustrated bedroom and contrived a stupid law out of a childish vindictiveness, probably to punish some boys that he knew. He is lucky, to have been born in such a stupid country, which he can freely drag to the edge with his useless emotions.
+4 #10 sammy 2014-08-13 07:22
Oh my! What a u-turn!despite the open show of bravado the président has been clearly feeling the that reason seems to finally be prevailing i think the country Can atlast move on from this homosexuality non issue......

does it need rocket science to understand that it Is futile to monitor adults' private sex lives... Ugandans grow up!!!
+4 #11 Michael 2014-08-13 07:35
"Semusota guli muntamu" - Let us break the pot and kill the smake. We will roast the meat instead of cooking it.
+7 #12 Geromino 2014-08-13 08:01
It was clear from the beginning that Museveni hurried to sign the bill because he knew that most Ugandans supported it and signing it would populirise his quest for sole candidature. But behind his mind he knew the implications.

He knows that Uganda under him can not stand without donor support though he wants to fool Ugandans that he wouldn't mind about foreign aid.

But, that he is concerned about trade partnership, sincerely what does our poor Uganda export to the US or UK or let alone to our own sister country Kenya?

The man is talking of the Tri- star apparel at Bugolobi i thought that place died long ago. I need to be educated whether any body has ever seen any cloth made from that apparel.

Museveni has got Ugandans of today so Naive that he has managed to fool them all the time even the so called elite class have failed to know or calculate Museveni`s moves.
+13 #13 Lakwena 2014-08-13 08:12
Why okay gay's stupidity in private, yet he publicly declared it a disgusting practice? Which means he is a moral and ethical coward.

Otherwise only people who can sell their mothers for a price, can rollover for anything.

In other words; in order to gain political mileage for 2016 General Election; M7 is acting like a prostitute to the West.
+5 #14 Ogwang-guji 2014-08-13 08:52
The heirachy is clear: Obama is above M7.

But, where does all this saga leave god in the lineup since the troublesome ant-gay law was supposed to be in line with the scriptures?

It seems that the $ is geater than god in this case. GOD BLESS UGANDA.
+6 #15 Jackal 2014-08-13 09:02
The cost and humiliation of shooting first and aiming later,or being HYPOCRITES......

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full."
+4 #16 Kiggundu 2014-08-13 09:09
The Bahati 's with all their idiosy are now going to cost Uganda millions in PR cleansing money that would have perhaps been used to enhance the livelihood of poverty stricken Ugandans...

And again i hate to say this but M7 comes out as the only sensible man... Ironies
+5 #17 bilo 2014-08-13 09:28

0 #18 Kyakabale 2014-08-13 10:28
This is bull sh**t!!! We cannot allow President Museveni to sell Uganda morals for a few American dollars. After all, the money ends up in his and his friends pockets.
+5 #19 Kyakabale 2014-08-13 10:30
Is this the same president who tells who ever wants to here that Uganda is an independent sovereign state? Talk of a dog going back to its vomit.
+1 #20 Lakwena 2014-08-13 10:56
Quoting sammy:
Oh my! What a u-turn!despite the open show of bravado the président has been clearly feeling the that reason seems to finally be prevailing i think the country Can atlast move on from this homosexuality non issue......

does it need rocket science to understand that it Is futile to monitor adults' private sex lives... Ugandans grow up!!!

sammy, get lost! M7 is not the moral and ethical standard setter for Ugandans.

His private approval of gay stupidity, should not be your ticket to celebrate. Because all crimes, including homosexual sexual ones, are committed in privacy.

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