by Benson Agoha
Reactions, have continueed to pour in following the signing into law in Uganda, on Monday of the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill, by President Yoweri Museveni.
The original bill was however modified, and capital punishment substituted in favour of imprisonment, in what was seen as a response to western pressure.
But President Museveni said he did not sign the bill because of pressure or lack of it, saying even though the west have given Africa millions, through NGOs over the years, he still could not understand why such behaviours should be tolerated.
He said "Even now I have not fully understood it, that you will fail to be attracted to all these beautiful women here and eslsewhere and be attracted by a man. That is a very serious matter and means there is something wrong with you."
He said Africa had for long been disappointed by the livestyle of the west and will not condone all of it just for some financial support given to NGO's who actually do nothing.
On Monday British Foreign Secretary, William Hague said "this bill will increase persecution and discrimination of Ugandans, as well as damage Uganda’s reputation internationally".
In an official statement released by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Secretary said “I am deeply saddened and disappointed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda has been signed into law. The UK strongly opposes all discrimination on any grounds. We question the Bill’s compatibility with Uganda’s constitution and international treaty obligations. There can be no doubt that this Bill will increase persecution and discrimination of Ugandans, as well as damage Uganda’s reputation internationally.“
William Hague said "We ask the Government of Uganda to protect all its citizens and encourage tolerance, equality and respect. We will continue to press the Government of Uganda to defend human rights for all, without discrimination on any grounds.”
Justine Greening MP for Putney and Secretary of State for International Development also expressed sadness over the development. Letting out her feelings on Twitter, she said "Saddened and disappointed that Uganda’s anti-homosexuality Bill has been signed. The UK strongly opposes all discrimination on any grounds."
In a message from the German Foreign Office, Christoph Strässer, HR-Commissioner tweeted "I strongly condemn the signing of the Anti Homosexuality Bill in Uganda by President Museveni."
Explaining further on facebook, Christoph Strässer "I am very disappointed that President Museveni has today signed the anti homosexuality Bill (AHB). This law sends out a bad signal within Uganda and to the outside."
He said "the debate whether homosexuality is genetic or social, leads to nothing. Uganda committed itself with their own Constitution and international agreements, to ensure the protection of human rights. I urge therefore the Government and the judicial authorities to refrain from any discrimination and law enforcement on the basis of the AHB and to respect basic human rights and to protect. Discrimination on the basis of different lifestyles has no place in Uganda."
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry said the United States has began an internal review of its relationship with the government of Uganda following the signing into law a Bill outlawing homosexuality in the country.
In a press release in Washington DC Monday by the State Department, John Kerry said President Obama’s government would ensure any engagement with Uganda would reflect the anti-discrimination policies supported by his government.
“Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,” Kerry said in a Statement reportedly obtained by the Daily Nation.
Homosexuality was made illegal in Nigeria after President Goodluck Jonathan signed the law in January. Since then dozens of alleged gays have been arrested in the West African nation.
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