Uganda Continues Crackdown on LGBT Citizens
Uganda officials are continuing their crackdown on the African country's LGBT community just days after President Yoweri Museveni said he plans to sign a bill into law that will sentence those convicted of homosexuality to life in prison.
According the Ugandan newspaper the Independent, Museveni and lawmakers from his National Resistance Movement political party, announced that they have passed a proposal on Feb. 13 that denies bail benefits for rapists and "sodomy suspects." Sources told the publication that homosexuals were included on the list of offenders.
The newspaper says that Museveni has "always maintained that giving bail to these suspects encourages crime in the country."
In related Uganda news, it was revealed Tuesday that Museveni signed a bill into law on Feb. 6 that makes it a criminal offense to own pornography and for women to dress in clothing like miniskirts "and cleavage-revealing blouses ('tops') that excite sexual cravings in public," reports Uganda news site New Vision. Women can wear these types of garments if it is for educational or medical purposes or during sporting or cultural events, however.
Ethics and Integrity State Minister Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo said Museveni signed the Anti-Pornography Act 2014, two weeks after it passed the House on Feb. 6. The bill was passed by Parliament in December.
The law defines porn as "any representation through publication, exhibition, cinematography, indecent show, information technology or by whatever means, of a person engaged in real or stimulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a person for primary sexual excitement."
The law calls for the creation of an anti-pornography committee in order to monitor and implement the law. According to New Vision, the group will be responsible for "detection, collection and destroying pornographic materials." Additionally, the committee, which will be made up of individuals from the media and entertainment industries, will also provide rehabilitation services "to victims of pornography."
Lokodo also said that "sex tease shows," known as bimansulo, videos or photos depicting child sex will be banned. In addition, acts by musicians, especially females who perform in revealing clothing will also be banned.
"We do not like you to behave in a way that draws the attention of other people. Be decent and let your cloth show you as a decent person," Lokodo said. "If you are dressed in something that irritates the mind and excites other people especially of the opposite sex, you are dressed in wrong attire and please hurry up and change."
According to Patricia Achan-Okiria, the principal legal officer in the ethics ministry, Ugandan media can no longer publish images of couples kissing or scantily clad women.
The news breaks shortly after President Museveni said he would sign a bill that sentences gay men to prison for life. Initially he said he opposed the bill and wouldn't sign it because of the pressure from other lawmakers.
"There has been pressure from religious leaders and parliament to sign the bill into law," presidential spokesman Tamale Mirundi said early last month. Mirundi also said that the president "won't rush to assent the bill before he studies it."
But according to reports, a medical panel changed Museveni's mind, after they said that homosexuality is not an inborn trait.