Uganda Gay Death Bill Denounced In U.K. Demo

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[Global: Africa]

Outrage against the now shelved Uganda proposed Bill calling for the death penalty for homosexuals continues with protests in London yesterday.

Uganda’s parliament was considering the Bill which would make “serial homosexual” acts punishable by execution. People who failed to “out” homosexuals to the authorities were to also be punished with three years imprisonment under the proposed law. Ugandans who live abroad, who broke the anti-homosexuality laws were to be subject to extradition requests.

The Bill was sponsored by a lawmaker from Yoweri Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), bringing swift condemnation from around the world with donor countries threatening a cutoff of aid to the government there.

Yesterday, more than 100 activists converged on the East African country’s High Commission, which is the equivalent of an embassy, in London.

The Bill was backed by many religious leaders --Muslim and Christian-- in the socially conservative country where a recent poll found the vast majority opposed to legalizing homosexuality.

Critics contend that corrupt government officials, who routinely embezzle millions of dollars from the public coffers, were more deserving of the harsh sentences being considered for homosexuals. Human rights campaigners say the Uganda government was promoting witch-hunts.

The London demonstration was organized by the Gay Activists Alliance International (GAAI), with the support of Gay Uganda, Sexual Minorities Uganda and OutRage!

Ugandan John Bosco Nyombi, a gay Ugandan, denounced the measures. Nyombi previously was forcefully returned to Uganda from the U.K. and was jailed while in Uganda. He recently was granted asylum in the U.K.

He said the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was “an attack on the civil liberties of all Ugandan,” denouncing it as “dividing Ugandans against each other and requiring people to report on their own family members who are gay.”

“In the last five years we have seen Idi Amin returning to Uganda and his name is Yoweri Museveni,” he said. “We cannot allow fascism to return to Uganda. He should leave power and go because he is not taking the country anywhere but to disaster.”

A known well activist, Peter Tatchell, of Outrage! who once tried to serve an arrest warrant on Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe while he was in London, said: “President Museveni is fast becoming the Robert Mugabe of Uganda and that’s a threat to the civil rights of every Ugandan person-gay or straight.” He added: “Even people who say they’re against homosexuality say this Bill is excessive and a threat to human rights of all Ugandans.”

The London protests included LGBTI activists from the UK and of Jamaican descent, plus LGBTI campaigners from Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, the Congo and Kenya.

Videos from The London protest

Skye Chirape - Zimbabwean lesbian activist

Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay – Nigerian gay pastor

Godwyns Onwuchekwa – Nigerian LGBT activist

Topher Campbell - Black gay activist, Rukus Foundation

Peter Tatchell 1/2 - OutRage! gay activist

Peter Tatchell 2/2 - OutRage! gay activist

Terry Conway – Lesbian trade union activist

John Bosco – Gay Ugandan

Michael Senyonjo – Ugandan human rights activist

Black Star News correspondent Miwambo writes from Europe and can be reached at

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