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Uganda Won't Follow West in Normalization of Homosexuality, President Says

© AP Photo / Rebecca VassieUganda's President Yoweri Museveni
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.02.2023
Recently, African Christians were polarized by remarks made by Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby during their African tour earlier this month. The religious leaders called criminalization of homosexuality a "sin … and an injustice", noting that homosexuals are "children of God," whom He loves.
Uganda will not agree with the West, which seeks to impose its rules normalizing and celebrating homosexuality, said the African country's President Yoweri Museweni at the nation's Janani Luwum Day festivities in Kitgum District.
"We are not going to follow people who are lost. These Europeans are not normal, they don’t listen," the president underlined, as cited by local media. "We have been telling them 'please, this problem of homosexuality is not something that you should normalise and celebrate," he said. "[The Western countries] don't listen, they don't respect other people's views and they want to turn the abnormal into normal and force it on others. We shall not agree."
The remarks, which were met with applause by congregants, came as a response to the Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu. The latter called on the government to be bold in opposing Western influence and noted that an example of boldness was Archbishop Janani Luwum – who is believed to have been killed due to his criticism of dictator Idi Amin in 1977 and to whom the event was dedicated.
"Now we request you to give attention to what you have already started because we have homosexuals and other vices attacking our nation. Like late Luwum was bold, we want to call out government to be bold and come out to fight all these vices that will kill our nation," Archbishop Kaziimba said.
The discussion comes against the backdrop of the Church of England's Synod's decision to allow blessings of same-sex marriage. The decision was met with controversy in the UK; Kaziimba, archbishop of the Anglican Province of Church of Uganda, condemned it, saying that "God cannot bless what He calls sin."
This was followed by a request by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, for the government to pass a law similar to the cancelled Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014. With homosexual intercourse already being illegal, the act stipulated that "aggravated homosexuality" should be punishable by life imprisonment, but was ruled invalid by the Constitutional Court of Uganda due to being enacted without quorum.
Patriarchal Exarch for Africa Metropolitan Leonid of Klin during a press conference following his first foreign visit to Uganda at the Rossiya Segodnya International Multimedia Press Center in Moscow. - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.12.2022
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In 2021, the country's parliament passed the Sexual Offenses Bill, which consolidated several earlier laws on sexual offences and prohibited same-sex relationships. The bill was eventually vetoed by Museveni, who said that it mostly reiterated earlier laws and reportedly noted that enacting it would not be beneficial in terms of foreign policy.
Now, in the wake of a scandal over reported cases of recruiting of youth in homosexual pornography, calls for criminalizing homosexuality resumed, with Archbishop Kaziimba telling the president:

"We request that the [Anti-Homosexuality Act] you signed previously against homosexuality should be revisited and signed again."

According to Ugandan media citing a leaked January 2023 report by the National NGO Bureau, the regulator of the civil society sector, a number of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the country are suspected of promoting homosexuality and gender transition.
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