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 #31 Iga John 2014-08-13 16:21
People who call themselves anti-gay activists are just looking for cheap popularity, at the expense of ordinary Ugandans. We know them.

They get their medical services from abroad; even their food is imported. Their children are studying abroad.

They are hypocrites, many of them are corrupt, and they think it is not a sin.

Just preach to the the children about the dangers of homosexuality. Do not joke with sanctions. Because of sanctions, half of the population of Zimbabwe migrated from the country. Who wants that?
0 #32 Betty Long Cap 2014-08-13 20:22
How does mandatory lifetime imprisonment compare to sentences for rape and defilement?

The amended AHA will be overturned as cruel and unusual punishment if mandatory sentences for sodomy, rape, and defilement are not the same.
0 #33 rhodsa 2014-08-13 20:36
Personally I am satisfied tbat HE has guided as one cannot always rely on an ignorant majority.

Look how ISIS in Iraq is killing people who believe diffefently. Majority, sovereignty and other ideas should not be misused!
0 #34 Leon 2014-08-13 21:06
Let's stop pointing fingers at Museveni and his govement, when his govement tries to do the needed for the good of the nation you instead side with the opposition and rioters.

I have seen many church leaders siding with the opposition in the nights at preach that God loves you during day time, most of the nice looking churches all over uganda were built using funds from gay organizations, when church leaders visit the United States and many other European countries, it's such organizations that fund them! Some also practice the act!

During night times they eat and drink wines with homosexuals in hidden expensive hide outs and during day time they preach the opposite, they have accumulated a lot of wealth under the scam " USA visa" , Ugandans should up! People love visiting the usa
0 #35 Leon 2014-08-13 21:18
According to the Ugandan constitution there is freedom of peaceful assembly if police is 1st informed about the subject of cause, date and venue, then after police provides security, many people have said a lot about president Museveni as a person and his govement.

It's president Museveni who took the 1st shot when he signed it 1st. Other than church leaders preaching biblical teachings about homosexuality they are instead busy siding with the opposition and engaging in politics!

Have we seen any church leader sacrificing the offerings day (Sunday) to go with his sheep for a peaceful match on the streets of Kampala or around there churches to protest that homosexuality is bad? Ugandans wake up and stop disrespecting president Museveni
0 #36 wodgot 2014-08-13 22:26
The team of lawyers who petitioned the legality of this law, are about to laugh all the way to the bank and line-up their wallets with billions of cash, because somebody had activated it into a law!.

Can the president tell us where the money will come from? Mr. President, you have to be held to account for this mistake. I don't have a problem with the petitioners lining-up their pockets for doing justice.

The problem I have is with you because you acted stupidly and signed that injustice into a law. It has to be a direct deduction from the State house and the MPs' salaries.

Not when billions of taxpayers' money which could have been used to better the lives of our teachers and doctors are being used in rewarding MPs' irresponsibilit y which you have code-named 'State of Emergency' 110.
0 #37 Emmanuel Lubega Muw 2014-08-13 23:29
This saga is what it is because somehow, we failed to recognize the basics. Efforts to equate what happens in some countries as it purportedly didn't attract the attention of the US, are misguided.

Fundamentally, the US and others are saying "respect the rights of citizens because, the Treaties you are a signatory to, require nothing less"! This is not about religion, culture and much less, whether faith ought to control as many suggest.

Uganda, as we ought to know, is not a Theocracy. If it were, invoking "our religion" whatever that entails, would be appropriate. Even then, Uganda has many religions, each with different requirements and expectations.

For example, what is taboo in Islam, is quite acceptable in Christianity. For similar reasons, the "preserve culture" argument, is equally unavailing. If you noticed, "our" culture has condoned the worshiping of false gods, polygamy, child sacrifice and many other vices all recorded by our history. Know the facts and the difference!
+1 #38 Burite Joseph 2014-08-14 00:18
The gay issues aside. Trade relations with the US? What value does trade with US bring to Uganda?

It does not even account for 0.000000001% of Uganda's trade with DR Congo. Does M7 know who our trade partners are or is he a president of ignorance?
0 #39 doctordre 2014-08-14 04:59
Museveni knew what he was doing. He was against the law in the first place but only chest thumped because he was fed up with the West lecturing him.

He is a winner because he can now tell the world Uganda has an independent judiciary (some one can add corrupt) and blame MPs for their incompetence. I think the West has also realized that lecturing Africans on gay issues is a non-starter.The real loser is Kadaga.
0 #40 Lakwena 2014-08-14 08:33
Quoting 4ABetterUganda:
Mr. David Bahati's "anti-homosexuality" law is not a issue. It is merely a case of Ugandan intellectual shallowness: obese politicians and their peasant-minded backers acting without thinking.

He is lucky, to have been born in such a stupid country, which he can freely drag to the edge with his useless emotions.

4ABetterUganda, Anti homosexual law is not Bahati's law, it is nature's law. If Uganda is a stupid country, why are you so concerned with its stupidity.

You must be stupid to do that, because a smart person does not associate with stupidity.

And if you are a homosexual (gay) Ugandan, you must be the son or daughter of a peasant. Because even M7 in spite of being the president of Uganda, is not an aristocrat but still a peasant:

He sits, eats, walks, talks and insults like a peasant: If it sits, eats, sh..ts, walks and quacks like a duck; it must be a duck.
0 #41 namu 2014-08-14 10:05
IDI Amin was blave he used to stand by his words, and that is the way you can gudge a straight forward man.
0 #42 Ashernamanya 2014-08-14 11:15
Museveni you will bring a curse upon our country not only to Ugandans but also on your own family and generations Read Deuteronomy28;1 6 and onawards our country will be cursed because of obeying God's commands.

To hell with you and entire regime with your trade relations. Deuteronomy23:1 7 prohibits homosexuallity and in the bible didnot you see how Sodom and Gomorrah were burnt.

Museveni fear not a human being like Obama and his senators who can kill the body and cannot kill the soul but fear God your God Almighty who kill both the body and the soul and throws them into Hell. Matthew10;27.

You would have killed the generation of this error and other generations to come. To hell with selfish ambitions and bring curse on God's country.

Deuteronomy28;1 -14 says if you obey God's commands you will blessed and never lack infact never to borrow now. You are fearing fellow human beings other Lord your God. To hell with your entire supporters and gay systems.
0 #43 Betty Nalubega 2014-08-14 11:44
Mwami Emmanuel Muwonge , you can`t be proud of what you write . You contradict and repeat yourself a lot.

It becomes really boring
0 #44 Betty Long Cap 2014-08-14 16:48
Museveni is opening a Pandora's Box: The next step after recognizing consensual same-sex, adult unions is the right to marriage.

Washington Post reporter Niraj Chokshi: "Gay marriages could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in first year of legalization for 11 states, studies finds. A series of state reports estimates the economic impact of gay marriage."
0 #45 Betty Long Cap 2014-08-14 19:28
Each round, Ugandans take a lower road. A President who says “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,” is digging a political and moral grave. Where does he think sodomites get their fresh meat? from the elderly??? Prisoners, yes.

Sodomy laws on the books should be enough to prosecute criminal behavior. Quit while you are ahead.
0 #46 wodgot 2014-08-15 00:00
NAMU,you are absolutely right and straight to the point. Yeah, I am loving it now.
0 #47 Finalword 2014-08-15 00:53
Finally M7 is on the verge of eating those things that a certain General Tinye...said he can't eat. How times change!!

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