By Madinah Tebajjukira
RELIGIOUS leaders have opposed the death penalty as a punishment for people convicted of aggravated homosexuality.
Leaders from the Church of Uganda, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, and the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, unanimously supported the Bill, but called for a change in the penalties.
â€œCan death as a form of punishment help one to reform? Some people are convicted of murder but after they have been killed, itâ€™s proved they were innocent. What would be done in such circumstances? We should emphasise life imprisonment,â€ said Aron Mwesigye, the secretary for the Church of Uganda.
Early this month, Ndorwa West MP David Bahati tabled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Parliament. The Bill provides for the death penalty for people who committee aggravated homosexuality.
According to the Bill, aggravated homosexuality is when homosexual acts are performed with a person below 18 years.
It can also occur when the offender is a person living with HIV or a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offence is committed.
The Bill, which seeks to prohibit and penalise homosexual behaviour and related practices, also calls for the life imprisonment for homosexuals.
Seventh Day Adventistâ€™s John Kakembo noted that homosexuality has been in Uganda since the 19960s. He called on Parliament to quickly enact the Bill into law, so as to curb the vice.
Chwa MP Livingstone Okello Okello expressed fear that the Government might block the Bill.
Ethics and integrity minister James Nsaba Buturo revealed that there was pressure from the international community not to implement the Bill.