Uganda president warns lawmakers that anti-gay law could lead to trade boycott

Yoweri Museveni

Yoweri Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Friday said that his nation risks a trade boycott if lawmakers were to reinstate a controversial anti-gay law that was invalidated on a technicality in August by the country’s Constitutional Court.

Yoweri Museveni

Yoweri Museveni

Museveni, who has previously said he supports strong legislation against what he calls the promotion of homosexuality in Africa, now says reinstating the law — which allowed for jail terms of up to life for homosexual “offenses “– could lead to a trade boycott by companies in the West.

Reuters reports that in a commentary on Friday in the state-run New Vision daily, Museveni said, “To carelessly and needlessly open unnecessary wars with useful customers is irresponsible to say the least.”

Museveni said he was not worried by the aid cuts that followed the initial law, but warned that the law would likely antagonize consumers in the West, risking access to a rich export market.

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Earlier this year, the U.S., the World Bank and some European countries delayed or redirected tens of millions of dollars in funding to Uganda’s government over the anti-gay measure, piling pressure on this East African country that depends on foreign aid to implement about 20 percent of its budget.

In August, a panel of judges on Uganda’s Constitutional Court jettisoned the anti-gay law because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum.

The court did not rule on the substance of the anti-gay measure, leaving the door open for lawmakers to try to reintroduce a similar law or a version of it.

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