The signing of the anti-gay bill into law by Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni early this week has been received with mixed views with gay and lesbian activists around the world, including Zimbabwe, castigating the move, saying everyone’s rights should be respected regardless of sexual orientation.
The law means that a first time offender can be sentenced to 14 years in prison, while those found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality” involving a minor or while they are HIV positive can be sentenced to life in prison.
Western governments have since condemned the signing of the bill and threatened to scale back on aid.
A day after the signing of the bill, a tabloid in Uganda published a list of 200 names of people suspected to be gays, raising concerns of a witch-hunt against them.
In Zimbabwe, President Mugabe reiterated his intolerance for gays last week during his birthday celebrations, saying the issue is unknown in the country and people don’t want to hear about it.
However, Sexual Rights Centre spokesman Mojalisa Mokoele says culture is dynamic and it’s high time African leaders accepted the existence of gays in their countries.
Political analyst and Zanu PF activist Morris Ngwenya said the stance taken by President Mugabe and his Ugandan counterpart on gays is a reflection of the views of the majority in their countries.