South African opposition leader Julius Malema has led a protest against Uganda’s controversial anti-LGBTQ+ bill, which criminalises people for being gay.
On Tuesday (4 April), Malema and members of his party, the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), gathered outside the Ugandan Embassy in Pretoria to speak out against the bill that threatens the freedom and safety of LGBTQ+ people in the East African country.
The Ugandan parliament approved the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, that would make it illegal to identity as LGBTQ+, in March 2023.
Anyone found guilty could face 20 years in prison. Those who are found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality” could face the death penalty.
This has left many LGBTQ+ Ugandans “shaken, worried and scared”.
At the protest, Malema branded Museveni a tyrant and condemned the proposed legislation.
Draped in a rainbow flag the EFF leader and founder called for Museveni to be “stopped now”.
‘We are with you against the tyrant’
Malema told the Pretoria crowd: “We are here to say to Uganda, as long as the LGBTQ+ community is not free in Uganda, we are not free.”
“We cannot allow any regime in the world to kill people on the basis of identity. It can’t be correct that you identify people on the basis of hatred and you kill them. We are saying to Museveni, leave the people the way they are. It is not our problem, it is not your problem, it is not a problem.”
“There is barbarism, there is stupidity in the bill. If Museveni knows what is good for him, he must not sign it into law. Gay rights are human rights.
“I am here to tell the people of Uganda we are with you against the tyrant.”
Following the approval of the bill, Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, said: “Africa should provide the lead to save the world from this degeneration and decadence which is really very dangerous for humanity.
“If people of opposite sex stop appreciating one another, then how will the human race be propagated?”
Protests have erupted all over South Africa since the anti-LGBTQ+ bill was approved in Uganda. According to Reuters, on 31 March protestors in Cape Town and Pretoria pleaded with Museveni to put a stop to the bill.
Across the globe, public figures have openly criticised the bill. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called it “one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the world”.
She added: “Human rights are universal, no one should be attacked or imprisoned simply because of who they are and who they love.”
The US has also indicated that Uganda could face sanctions if the bill becomes law, and the UN Aids agency has claimed it could be a setback in efforts to combat HIV.
by Danai Nesta Kupemba
Source – PinkNews