22 - 02
President Museveni of Uganda has once again put on hold the signing of the anti-homosexuality bill, to give scientists more time to research on the issue of whether genes could trigger homosexuality or if it is just a “lifestyle choice”.
Museveni’s spokesman said the president would not sign the law until he had received the scientific advice.
In a statement, Museveni said “I… encourage the US government to help us by working with our scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual.
“When that is proved, we can review this legislation.”
Presidential spokesman, Tamale Mirundi, told Reuters that the bill would be on hold for now “until more conclusive research is done, and that’s what the president is saying” There was no indication on how long the research will take.
In January this year, Museveni refused to sign the bill saying that it was wrong to punish people who were born “abnormal”. In a letter to the speaker of parliament, the president described homosexuals as “abnormal beings who can be rescued through economic empowerment”.
Last week however, government officials said that Museveni was ready to sign the bill after receiving a report from 14 Ugandan scientists saying that homosexuality is not genetic but simply a lifestyle.
The U.S, one of Uganda’s largest donors, responded with a statement from president Obama saying, “As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda”.
“That is why I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalise homosexuality.” He said “The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once a law, will be more than affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step.
BBC regional analyst Richard Hamilton says President Museveni is trying to please a conservative local constituency while avoiding alienating Western aid donors.
By: Faridah Nassozi
Sources: Reuters/ BBC.