The president of Uganda is having second thoughts about anti-gay laws, not because he has changed his mind on homosexuality, but because he fears for the Ugandan economy.
President Yoweri Museveni still wants to presecute gays, but doesn’t want Uganda to pay the price if foreign traders refuse to do business with the African country.
His comments were made yesterday (Friday 3 Ocotber) and were reported in the New Vision newspaper.
Museveni said he still wants to enforce harsh punishments on gays in Uganda, but not if foreign traders desert him.
‘I supported the idea of punishing harshly those who lure minors into homosexuality,’ he said.
‘We should also punish harshly those who engage in homosexual prostitution.
‘Our scientists argued that all homosexuality was by nurture not nature. On the basis of that, I agreed to sign the bill, although some people still contest that understanding.
‘It is about us deciding what is best for our country in the realm of foreign trade, which is such an important stimulus for growth and transformation that it has no equal.
‘It is now an issue of a snake in a clay cooking pot. We want to kill the snake, but we do not want to break the pot. We want to protect our children from homosexuality, but we do not want to kill our trade opportunities.
‘That now forces us to disassemble this whole issue.’
The law outlined any person who was caught engaging in a sex act with a person of the same gender could face life imprisonment. It also had strict punishments in place for anyone who helped people hide their sexuality, or keep it a secret.
The horrific homophobic nature of the law meant there were several negative reactions towards Uganda and its’ government.
Museveni’s comments yesterday come at a time when Ugandan MPs are trying to present the bill for a second time, reports the Jamaica Observer.
Homosexuality is still illegal in Uganda under a 1950s penal code.