Ugandan President resists US pressure not to enact laws on homosexual practice
President Yoweri Museveni has been persuaded by a report on homosexuality from a team of Ugandan scientists, to sign new legislation which will make homosexual acts illegal.
This follows pressure from President Barack Obama who warned that the proposed laws would complicate relations with the United States.
The Ugandan President commissioned the scientists to produce a report on the nature of homosexuality before he made his decision to pass the proposed laws.
Government spokesman, Ofwono Opondo, says that the scientists’ report shows “there is no definitive gene responsible for homosexuality” and that meant “homosexuality is not a disease but merely an abnormal behaviour which may be learned through experiences in life.”
Last month the Ugandan President refused to sign the Bill after it was passed by parliament but he has now decided to pass the law, having received a report from a team of scientific advisers. The President’s spokesman,Tamale Mirudi, says Mr. Museveni has made clear that he does not want homosexuals to be persecuted.
Uganda already has legislation prohibiting homosexual sex between men, but the new law tightens restrictions and covers women for the first time.
US relations are important to Uganda as it receives a major donation in foreign aid and in 2011 a small number of American troops were sent to help the Ugandan military fight against a rebel army.
President Obama has referred to the proposed law as "odious" and says the relationship between the two countries would become more complicated if it is approved.
America's National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, said on Twitter that she has spoken at length with the Ugandan President to urge him not to sign the Bill.