UGANDA will be going back to the days of the Idi Amin regime if it passes a bill allowing for the arrest or killing of gay or lesbian people or those who repeatedly engage in homosexual sex, say rights activists.
Pro-gay activists compare the provisions in the proposed anti-homosexuality bill to the 1972 order given by former dictator Idi Amin to expel Ugandan-born Asians.
The proposed bill, which is currently being debated by the Ugandan parliament, would make "aggravated homosexuality" punishable by death.
"This is a form of targeted killings similar to that instituted by Amin.
"We already have a law on homosexuality but you see people like David Bahati, instead of concentrating on more pressing issues in his constituency, spending time to write a 40-page document aimed at gays and lesbians," Jacqueline Kasha, a Uugandan lesbian human rights activist, said.
Rights activists say the proposed bill could in effect exile about half-a-million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) Ugandans who would most likely flee the country to escape prosecution.
Kasha said the bill violated all aspects of human rights.
Practising homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda but the proposed bill states that "repeat offenders" are liable to get the death penalty. The death penalty is also applied in a homosexual relationship if a partner is under 18, or has a disability, or is HIV positive.
People accused under the homosexuality clause will be forced to undergo an HIV test.
Bahati, Ndorwa West's MP, with support from some faith-based groups in Uganda, introduced the anti-homosexuality bill in mid-October.
He said it was aimed at, among other things, protecting traditional family values.
Bahati said his bill had received wide support in parliament and he was confident it would be enacted despite the controversy it has created internationally.
Solome Kimbugwe Nakawesi, an activist with Akina Mama Wa Afrika, a women's development organisation, said: "By penalising citizens for failing to report 'suspected homosexuals' to the authorities, the bill calls for the creation of a fascist-style society in which (people) spy on each other." - Sapa