The following is an extract from The Guardian (UK). Click on the link below for the full story.
"Learned behaviour can be unlearned," said David Bahati. "You can't tell me that people are born gays. It is foreign influence that is at work."
Bahati has just presented his anti-homosexuality bill 2009 to Uganda's parliament. The bill, which will be debated within a fortnight and is expected to become law by February, will allow homosexuality to be punishable by death.
"Most people have misunderstood the bill," Bahati told the Observer. "The section of the death penalty relates to defilement by an adult who is homosexual and this is consistent with the law on defilement which was passed in 2007. The whole intention is to prevent the recruitment of under-age children, which is going on in single-sex schools. We must stop the recruitment and secure the future of our children."
There is wide support for Bahati's law which, while being an extreme piece of anti-gay legislation, is not unique. As far as gay rights are concerned, it would appear that much of Africa is going backwards. Nigeria has a similar bill waiting to reach its statute books and already allows the death penalty for homosexuality in northern states, as does Sudan. Burundi criminalised homosexuality in April this year, joining 37 other African nations where gay sex is already illegal. Egypt and Mali are creeping towards criminalisation, using morality laws against same-sex couples.
The Ugandan bill extends existing laws to make it illegal to promote homosexuality by talking or writing about it, and forcing people to tell the authorities about anyone they know who is gay.
In Entebbe last week, 200 religious leaders, under the powerful umbrella group Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, demanded diplomatic ties be severed with "ungodly" donor countries, including the UK, Sweden and Canada, who are "bent on forcing homosexuality on Ugandans".
Joshua Kitakule, the council's secretary-general, said: "Those countries should respect our spiritual values. They shouldn't interfere. All senior religious leaders have been given copies of the bill to read and educate people in churches and mosques."
For Ugandans such as Pastor Martin Ssempa, who organises anti-gay rallies, the bill brings legitimate moral force to bear on the "corrupting influence" from western societies.
Ugandan newspapers often out "homos" and the bill will force many more like Nyombi to leave, said Peter Tatchell, veteran gay rights campaigner. "In many cases, these countries are using laws imposed by the British in colonial times. Before that, homosexuality was actually tolerated or accepted in the traditional cultures.
"The right-wing are losing the battle in the US, so they are exploiting the poverty-stricken developing world. The response of the Commonwealth is pathetic. Of the 80 countries who criminalise same sex-relationships around the world, over 40 of them are in the Commonwealth – where is the concern for human rights?"