Tamale Mirundi: Museveni ‘won’t rush to assent’ the Anti-Gay Bill

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Mr Tamale Mirundi, the Presidential spokesperson has on Thursday said President Yoweri Museveni will not rush to assent the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, until he fully studies it.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill which was passed on December 20 by the Parliament of Uganda proposes a life sentence for certain homosexual acts.

In an interview with AFP, Mirundi said although President Museveni has been on pressure from religious leaders and parliament to sign the bill into a law, he “won’t rush to assent the bill before he studies it” fully.

“President Museveni is a practical president, he takes decisions based on analysis and not on how many support or are against it,” Mirundi said.

Speaking at a wedding ceremony in Kabale district last week, President Museveni said: “I like thinking before acting. It is not a simple matter to rush into. If the MPs’ bring the bill to me I will first analyze it, take it to the NRM caucus and see how to handle it.”

This controversial anti-gay bill has been criticized since the Parliament passed it by various leaders all of the world, human rights activists and gay activists.

Some Ugandans have raised concerns that donor aid could be restricted if the bill is signed into law.

The US President Barack Obama called it “odious”.

UK businessman, Richard Branson also last week called on companies and tourists to boycott Uganda against approving the anti-gay bill which intends to toughen the punishment for homosexual acts.

He posted on his website saying: “It was against his conscience to support a country which carried out a “dreadful witch hunt against the gay community.”

“Governments must realize that people should be able to love whoever they want. Uganda must reconsider or find it being ostracised by companies and tourists worldwide,” Mr Branson said.

Mr Branson is the founder of Virgin Group, which has more than 400 companies worldwide, focusing mainly on travel, entertainment and telecommunications.

This bill also would criminalize the “promotion or recognition” of homosexuality, which human rights groups say could be interpreted as barring the activities of organizations that advocate for gay rights or even those that offer health services to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals.

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