The minister for ethics and integrity Simon Lokodo has responded to what he calls international critics over his decision on Tuesday this week to order police to break up a workshop for gay rights activists at Essella Country Hotel in Namugongo, a Kampala suburb.
At least four people were arrested during the police raid at the hotel, but were later released without charge. The incident has generated debate in the international media.
In a statement released by the Uganda Media Centre on Thursday, Lokodo says promotion of gay activities is illegal according to section 145 of the penal code. He further explains that two thirds of the African countries outlaw homosexuality while 80 percent of the East African countries criminalize the practice and at least 80 countries all over the world outlaw homosexual activity.
In the same statement, Lokodo, a former catholic priest, appeals to Ugandans to be vigilant and stay away from criminal acts like homosexuality to avoid being prosecuted.
Lokodo, however, says Uganda does not discriminate against people of different sexual orientation but that cultural attitudes in Africa are different from those in other parts of the world.
Section 45 of the penal code act of Uganda states that having sexual activity with someone against the order of nature is criminal and carries a seven-year jail sentence if convicted.
It emerged on Wednesday that government is in the process of de-registering at least 38 non government organisations for promoting homosexuality in the country.
But Lokodo is yet to reveal the names of the targeted organisations. He told URN on Wednesday that 32 are already confirmed to have supported gay activities, including sending money from some western countries, under the guise of supporting the poor, based on humanitarian grounds, yet the money is supporting what he called illegal activities. The minister said government had penetrated many of the NGOs, gathered copies of their minutes while meeting, and is ready to pin them on the matter.
Lokodo said he is looking forward to a day when the Anti Homosexuality Bill that criminalizes the act of homosexuality will be debated and passed into law. He said that government has full support of the private members’ bill, which was tabled by Ndorwa West Member of Parliament David Bahati.