President Museveni of Uganda has refused to follow in his Nigerian counterpart’s footsteps and sign an anti-gay bill, saying these people need help, CNN reports.
President Yoweri Museveni believes that parliament illegally passed the bill, and gays and lesbians are “sick people who need help,” his spokesman said.
A Ugandan lawmaker first introduced the bill in 2009 with a death penalty clause for some homosexual acts. It was briefly shelved when Britain and other European nations threatened to withdraw aid to Uganda, which relies on millions of dollars from the international community.
The nation’s parliament passed the bill last month, supplanting the death penalty provision with a proposal of life in prison for “aggravated homosexuality.” It was awaiting the President’s signature for passage.
News came Friday that the President had sent a letter to the speaker of the parliament, saying he can’t sign the bill because there weren’t enough parliament members present when it was passed.
“There was no quorum which (was) mandated for bill passage. Thus, he is unable to sign a bill that was not legally passed,” spokesman Tamale Mirundi said.
The spokesman further explained Museveni’s thinking about the issue.
“Homosexuals need help. They are sick,” Mirundi said. “Homosexuals were present in Africa in the past and were not persecuted.”
The President also believes that the issue is not a priority for his country.
“It might be important in Europe, but not here,” Mirundi said. “The President’s inability to sign the bill is very clear and his stance has not changed. … There was no quorum, and homosexuals are sick people who need help.”