Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, has backed a controversial bill with some of the world's harshest anti-LGBTQ legislation but will pass it back to parliament to include provisions for gay people to be rehabilitated.
However, at a National Resistance Movement (NRM) meeting on Friday, Museveni praised the lawmakers for approving the bill and insisted he would never bow to international condemnation.
“I want to congratulate the honourable members of parliament on your stand on the “Ebitingwa,” [Runyankore word for gay men]," he said
"Congratulations, I congratulate you for that strong stand. It is good that you rejected the pressure from the imperialists.”
The bill, which prescribes the death penalty in some cases, was passed last month and has already triggered a wave of arrests and attacks against LGBTQ Ugandans.
But Museveni rejected criticism from human rights groups.
“Europe is lost. So they also want us to be lost, but in order to fight we must be patriotic.
"If we are parasitic in mind, mind of a parasite, there is no way you can fight, that’s how you become a prostitute because you feared sacrifice, you fear difficulties. Somebody says I will give you money if you become a prostitute. And that’s what they want us to be.
"They want Africa to be prostitutes. Do what we don’t believe in because we want money.”
Those who advocate or promote the rights of LGBTQ people can be jailed for up to 20 years and be sentenced to death for an offence of “aggravated homosexuality.”
The U.S. has warned of economic consequences if the legislation is enacted. A group of U.N. experts has described the bill, if enacted, as “an egregious violation of human rights.”