A graphic claiming that Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has “signed the anti-gay bill into law” is doing the rounds on Facebook.
The graphic is dated 26 February 2023 and has a photo of Museveni and the logo of the Meru Daily News, designed in a similar style to “news updates” published on the news site’s social media channels. Meru is a Kenyan town in the county of the same name.
It reads: “Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed the anti-gay bill into law. Anyone caught practicing homosexuality in Uganda will face LIFE IMPRISONMENT. According to the United Nations, Uganda is among 77 countries that criminalize GAY and LESBIAN practices.”
The Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014 was passed by the Ugandan parliament in December 2013, but a court later invalidated it on the grounds that the necessary quorum of lawmakers was not present to vote it into law.
In 2021, the parliament passed the divisive Sexual Offences Bill, which makes same-sex relationships illegal.
This graphic has also been published here, here, here, here, here and here.
We found the original graphic published by Meru Daily News on Facebook on 26 February 2023. The original post was “liked” by more than 700 Facebook users and received hundreds of comments.
But is it accurate?
Bill tabled in parliament
In 2023, Asuman Basalirwa, the member of parliament for Bugiri municipality in eastern Uganda, reintroduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. It aims to outlaw all forms of sexual relations between people of the same sex, and the promotion and recognition of such relationships.
On 9 March, Basalirwa tabled the 2023 bill in parliament for its first reading. Speaker Anita Among referred it to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for consideration and for various sides to be heard.
The next step is the second reading, where the committee chair presents a report on the bill and MPs debate it.
This is followed by the third reading, where the bill is voted on. If at least two-thirds of MPs vote in favour, the bill is passed.
The bill is then sent to the president for assent. If approved, it becomes Ugandan law.
As of 14 March 2023, Museveni hasn’t signed the bill into law, as the Meru Daily News graphic claims.
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