Uganda’s punitive anti-homosexuality legislation has sparked heated debate at the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand, North of Johannesburg. Uganda’s lawmakers today failed to convince the PAP to pass a continent-wide resolution that condemns and prohibits same sex relations.
Same sex relations are illegal in Uganda. Homosexuals are often subjected to violence and social rejection. Today Ugandan lawmakers tried to go a step further, hoping to get the continent’s support for life imprisonment for homosexuals.
Ugandan parliamentary member Atim Ogwal Cecilia Barbara told the PAP seating: “Africa must stand up. We must pass a resolution condemning homosexuality because it is not an African culture. We are not allowed to practice polygamy in other countries, why should we be forced to do what is not natural?”
The proposal was rejected, with some members saying it’s a blot on Uganda’s remarkable emergence from civil war. South African parliamentary member Santosh Vanita Kalyan says the resolution that Uganda is calling for, is “bizarre.”
Kalian went further to say: “It will never pass in this parliament, especially from members like us who feel that the rights of all should be respected.”
Also making their point across, Namibian member of parliament Peter Katjavivi said: “If that is acceptable to a particular member state, let it be.” But Katjavivi was quick to point out that such a resolution “should never be made a continental-wide affair. We should respect laws as they affect individual countries”, he went on to say.
Homosexuality is still a controversial issue on the continent with some labeling it "unAfrican". Malawian president Joyce Banda earlier promised to repeal anti-gay laws in her country, but later backtracked, arguing that Malawians were not ready to deal with homosexuality.