KAMPALA (AFP) – Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni views gays as “sick” but doesnot believe
they should be jailed or executed and will block a
push by parliament to impose tough penalties, his
spokesman said Friday.
“He does notapprove of homosexuality but he
believesthatthese people have a right to exist,”
presidential spokesman Tamale Mirudi told AFP.
“The president says that these people are sick, you
cannot kill a sick person. A person that has been
found guilty of homosexual practicescannot be
imprisoned for life.”
The spokesman confirmed a report in the
independent DailyMonitor newspaper that
Museveni had refused to approve a controversial
bill passed by parliament last month that would
have seen homosexualsjailed for life.
He also insisted that the president wasnot backing
down in the face of widespread international
condemnation of the bill.
“What the President hasbeing sayingis that we
shall not persecute these homosexuals and
lesbians. That is the point. That is the message.
Maybe society can resent them but theycannot be
persecuted because of their problem,”Mirudi said.
“It wasnot because of a lobby. Nobody has
influenced the president. The president’s position
has been the same for a long time, nothing has
changed,” he added.
“The president has repeatedly said that we always
have been having homosexualsin Africa and they
never have been persecuted. But we shall not allow
them to marryin public, to organise a
demonstration in Kampala,”the spokesman said.