New Ugandan Law to Crack Down on NGOs 'Promoting Bad Homosexuality'

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com April 29 2014 5:10 PM ET

Ugandan lawmakers will consider new legislation that would strengthen the restrictions placed on nongovernmental organizations who may work with the LGBT community, reports Reuters.

Despite the fact that the existing Anti-Homosexuality Act already allows for directors of such groups to spend up to seven years in jail, draft legislation would ban foreign NGOs from any involvement with Ugandan politics or policy, and require them to fully disclose all financial information to the Ugandan government. 

"There are some NGOs who have come here to undermine us, to promote very bad behavior like homosexuality," James Baba, a junior internal affairs minister, told Reuters Monday. "As a responsible government we need to check that. They [NGOs] will not be able to do that when we pass this law."

The draft legislation is now being considered in the national cabinet before its introduction in parliament, and would require any foreign charities who work in Uganda to formally disclose to the government the organization's annual budget, sources of income, and records of how that income was used. 

The provision preventing foreign NGOs from commenting on Ugandan politics and policies is viewed by many as the latest attempt in an ongoing effort to silence dissent and political opposition to President Yoweri Museveni's 26-year rule, and the ruling party's stranglehold on Parliament. 

Reuters notes that last year, the ruling National Resistance Movement party passed a law that requires any public gathering of more than three people who plan to discuss politics to seek pre-approval from the local police chief. Museveni is up for re-election in 2016, and has been working to quell growing discontent with abject poverty, systemic corruption, and lack of basic services for everyday Ugandans since the president took power in 1988, when Uganda gained its independence from the United Kingdom.