Uganda’s ambassadors in foreign missions have today appealed to the Prime Minister to deal with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill before it’s signed into law by the President.
The Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi in his speech to the country’s top diplomats had emphasized the need for Ambassadors to popularize Uganda’s aspirations as contained in Vision 2040. He urged the ambassadors to interpret the Vision for prospective investors and tourists and mobilise external resources from development partners and Ugandans in the diaspora.
Mbabazi acknowledged the fact that the implementation of the 2040 Vision will require money which was raised by the ambassadors as a major challenge in their missions abroad. He then promised to work with Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa to ensure they get the required money and raise the level of coordination on the national agenda for commercial diplomacy.
The Prime Minister then cited what he called negative elements in the diaspora who are increasingly propagating falsehoods aimed at projecting the President and the NRM leadership as Uganda’s problem.
He added that the negative elements highlight corruption, torture of the opposition, political transition, the public order management legislation, and the recently passed Anti Homosexuality Bill as areas where Government’s efforts are wanting.
Mbabazi then urged the ambassadors to systematically carryout vigorous and strategic image building programmes in their countries of accreditation to ensure that the image of Uganda is protected and promoted.
However, Uganda’s ambassador to Canada Alintuma Nsambu then stood up and told the Prime Minister that it is not easy to build Uganda’s image abroad especially now with the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. He appealed to Mbabazi to balance the situation by not offending Ugandans but also be aware that they need the international community to understand Uganda’s situation.
In his response Mbabazi stated that even though he is against the act of homosexuality, it is a practice that has been in some Ugandan communities for so long. He stated that Uganda already has the Penal Code that makes it a crime to be a homosexual in Uganda thus no need to have new laws and vowed to challenge the new law in court.
The Bill was passed on December 20, 2013 amidst protests by Mbabazi who still argues that there was not enough quorum in the House because the executive was still carrying out intense consultations on how to deal with the law.
According to the constitution President Museveni has within 30 days to consider signing the Bill into law and if he disagrees with some of its provisions he can send it back to Parliament for amendment.