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Ugandan President Museveni says his party is ‘having very intensive internal discussions’ about anti-gay bill

December 10th, 2014
12:55 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday that his party is discussing the anti-gay law that was scrapped in August.

“We are discussing that issue among ourselves in our party, and when we decide how to move we shall inform the public. We are discussing it internally within our party.”

Uganda’s anti-gay bill was signed by Museveni into law in February but has since been annulled. It defined homosexual acts as crimes punishable by life in prison and drew a huge amount of condemnation within the country and worldwide.

Musevini said he “did not sign the bill” when it was initially passed by Parliament, but “later on,” he explained, “I signed it because of some provocations from outside, because we didn't like lectures which were emanating from certain quarters.”

At the time, a defiant Musevini told CNN that "if the West doesn't want to work with us because of homosexuals, then we have enough space here to live by ourselves and do business with other people."

Amanpour asked the President, who was on his first state visit to the UAE in the hope of drumming up foreign investment, whether he’d like to see the law passed again, but Musevini said he didn’t “want to speak before we have reached a consensus.”

“We have been having very intensive internal discussions and when we conclude, we shall come - we shall inform the public.”

The 70-year-old leader, who has been in power for 28 years, removed the two-term presidential limit set out before seeking his third term.

“Other countries in the world also have term agreements. They don't have term limits in Western Europe, in the - in some of the countries in Western Europe.”

“The only difference is that maybe their parties are not popular and they don't win, like ours is, our party is very popular. It's not surprising why it is because we solve so many of our people's problems.”

“That's why they elect us. And I really don't see any problem with that.”

The President has also been criticized for cracking down on the opposition, which he maintained “competes on a level playing field.”

“There is no opposition which was stifled. The only time we restrained them is when they are trying to damage property by going to damage people's property in the markets, claiming that they are demonstrating.”

“If they want to demonstrate, there are three areas where they can, stadiums and public squares, where they can go and demonstrate and not damage people's property. That's all. But otherwise, we never restrain the opposition at all.”

Uganda is currently providing troops in the fight against Al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked militant group based in Somalia that has been carrying out frequent terrorist attacks in Kenya.

The group is widely seen as an obstacle to regional stability.

“Al-Shabaab, we have defeated them in Mogadishu, Kismayo, in the port Barawe… They are operating from the areas which we - which are not under control.”

“What it needs is either we send in more manpower or the Somali army become enabled to be the one to control the rest of the country, because they're just - there's some areas which are not controlled.”

“These are the ones they are springing from, to cause problems in Kenya.”

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Filed under:  al-Shabaab • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Uganda
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