ENTEBBE, Uganda — The Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament has said that she would stand firm against homosexuality, and that she will push for that country’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill to be passed as soon as possible by Parliament.
Speaking at a press conference Monday at Entebbe International Airport, Rebecca Kadaga made the statement after returning to Uganda following the Inter-Parliamentary Union summit, which was held in Quebec, Canada, last week.
At the summit, Kadaga came under heavy criticism from Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird after he blasted Uganda for its appalling LGBTQ equality rights record and widespread homophobic persecutions. Following the exchange, Kadaga accused Baird of being “ignorant” and “arrogant.”
Kadaga reacted Monday, telling the press corps and a delegation of anti-gay religious leaders who were there to meet with her at the airport, along with the bill’s sponsor, MP David Bahati, “They said I should stop the debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, but I assured them there is no way I can block a private members bill.”
“I will not accept to be intimidated or to be directed by any government in the world because we are independent,” Kadaga told the crowd.
“I will now instruct the chair of the Committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to quickly bring the report of the anti-homosexuality bill so that we can discuss it and so that Uganda can take a position.”
“If the price of aid is going to be the promotion of homosexuality in this country,” she said, “I think we don’t want that aid.”
The measure, dubbed the “Kill the Gays” bill, was first introduced in 2009, by Bahati, but has yet to gain parliamentary approval.
Sodomy is already illegal in Uganda, punishable by up to 14 years in prison. But this legislation would penalize “aggravated homosexuality” — consensual same-sex acts committed by “repeat offenders,” anyone who is in a position of power, is HIV-positive, or uses intoxicating agents i.e. alcohol in the process — with capital punishment.
The lesser “offense of homosexuality,” also criminalized in the bill, encompasses anyone who engages in a same-sex sexual relationship, enters into a same-sex marriage, or conspires to commit “aggravated homosexuality.”
Several Western nations, including the United Kingdom and Canada, have threatened to revoke foreign aid to Uganda should the measure pass although Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has stated that while he does not support the bill, he stated he believes lawmakers should be allowed to debate it.