By Enyichukwu Enemanna
A Ugandan LGBT activist have said they will go ahead and return to their country next week despite the possibility of arrest by authorities in the country.
DeLovie Kwagala, a non-binary (not identified with one gender) who prefers to use the pronoun ‘they,’ have lived in Johannesburg, South Africa since 2021, but their visa will soon expire, making them ineligible to remain in the country.
The Ugandan parliament had earlier in the month promulgated a law which makes it possible for anyone who “knowingly promotes homosexuality” to face up to 20 years in jail.
Currently on table of President Yoweri Museveni, this bill if assented to, will become a law. It has attracted widespread condemnation from activists and western countries.
“It feels like they know what they do when they discuss the bill and what it does, because it feels like they are telling society indirectly to act on the fact that we are the immoralities of the community and so, I just was really tired of it,” Kwagala said from his home in South Africa.
Police threatened to arrest and detain the activist last year, forcing Kwagala to flee from their home country.
But despite the renewed danger, Kwagala said they don’t want to apply for asylum in South Africa, as they don’t want to become a refugee.
Homosexuality was criminalised in Uganda under colonial laws, but there has never been a conviction for consensual same-sex activity since independence from Britain in 1962.
Under the country’s new bill “engaging in acts of homosexuality” would be an offence punishable with life imprisonment and repeat offenders could be sentenced to death for “aggravated homosexuality”.
An earlier version of the law criminalised identifying as gay, but was sent back to parliament for adjustment by the President, who can again decide to withhold assent.