Uganda is back to headlines with a new anti-homosexuality bill tabled in parliament on Thursday raising fear from rights groups arguing the law would result in persecution of gay people in the country.
Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda but MPs on Thursday introduced legislation to Parliament that proposes tough new penalties for same-sex relations in a country.
Under the proposed law, anyone who engages in same-sex activity or who “holds out” as LGBTQ could face up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
In a highly conservative society, Uganda still maintains colonial-era laws which criminalise homosexuality. The country also adheres to strict Christian views on sexuality in general.
The speaker of Parliament Annet Anita Among said there would be “a public hearing” in which sexual minorities would be allowed to participate, she said in an address before parliament.
“Let the public come express their views — including the homos — allow them to come,” she said.
Among said when the time comes, legislators would vote on the Bill one-by-one in front of their peers.
“This is the time you are going to show us if you are a homo or not,” she said.
In 2014 Ugandan lawmakers passed a bill that called for life in prison for people caught having gay sex, although a court later struck down the law.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday said the new legislation was “a revised and more egregious version” of the 2014 bill.