Ugandan president to soften anti-gay bill

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will intervene to soften tough anti-gay legislation in a bid to address the concerns of the East African country's Western partners who have expressed strong opposition to it, his top aide said on Thursday.

"We should not have an extreme position. The president will harmonise the two sides and address the concerns of the Europeans and our other development partners. We should put into consideration the position and concerns of our partners," Musevenis spokesperson, Joseph Tamale Mirundi told the German Press Agency, dpa.

The bill that is yet to be debated by the Ugandan parliament would see gay men and lesbians sentenced to life imprisonment for having sex and a death sentence for sex with minors or if the sexual act leads to Aids infection.

Anyone failing to report a homosexual act committed by others or host same-sex partners, would face up to three years in jail, according to the proposed law.

There has been widespread international condemnation of the bill as well as outcry from the country's small gay and lesbian community.

Some Western states are reported to have recently threatened to withdraw aid to Uganda if the government pushes through the legislation.

Tamale Mirundi did not specify the particular clauses that the president might have removed from the bill but the concern over the law has centred mostly on the death penalty and the removal of any hope for gays and lesbians to be legally recognised as a minority group. - Sapa-dpa

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