Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010

Uganda anti-gay bill may change, says MP Bahati

David Bahati
David Bahati thinks his bill will survive mostly intact

A Ugandan MP who proposed introducing the death penalty for some gay people has told a newspaper he is willing to change his draft legislation.

In an interview with the Daily Monitor, David Bahati said he had talked to the cabinet about the bill and was willing to "amend some clauses".

Earlier in the week the cabinet set up a committee to look at his proposals.

The plans have drawn global criticism - some Western countries threatening to withdraw aid if the bill becomes law.

President Yoweri Museveni distanced himself from the bill last week, telling his party that it was now a "foreign policy issue".

Death penalty
For "serial offenders", HIV-positive "offenders", or those engaging in homosexual activity with a minor or disabled person
Life in prison
For homosexual acts
Seven years in prison
For helping, counselling, or encouraging a person to engage in a homosexual act

The BBC's Joshua Mmali in the capital Kampala says the cabinet was expected to come up with a position on the bill earlier in the week.

But instead they set up the committee, with analysts saying the cabinet is split on the issue.

According to the Monitor, Mr Bahati does not expect his proposals to be altered radically by cabinet ministers.

He is a member of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the bill had been expected to garner wide support among members.

Homosexual acts are already punishable by up to 14 years in jail in Uganda.

Mr Bahati's private member's bill would raise that penalty to life in prison.

It also proposes the death penalty for a new offence of "aggravated homosexuality" - defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a "serial offender".

Print Sponsor

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