Kampala: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has made an impassioned defence of his decision to crack down on gays, saying his tough stance on immorality meant he would not even dare kiss his wife in public. And he urged US scientists to help his country study whether people were born gay.
The statement from the President was widely seen as a swipe against US President Barack Obama, who has been fiercely critical of Uganda's anti-gay law and who celebrated his own re-election win with a public embrace of his wife Michelle.
This month Mr Museveni said he would sign into law a controversial bill that will jail homosexuals for life, despite international pressure and warnings from the US that bilateral relations would be harmed.
"Exhibitionism of homosexual behaviour must be punished because, in this part of the world, it is forbidden to publicly exhibit any sexual conduct (kissing, etc) even for heterosexuals. If I kissed my wife of 41 years in public, I would lose elections in Uganda," said Mr Museveni, who has led Uganda since 1986 and has been seeking support for another term in office.
Mr Museveni said he was initially opposed to the anti-gay law because he thought "it was wrong to punish somebody on account of being born abnormal", much in the same way that he would not punish an albino or a woman without breasts.
However, he said that advice from Ugandan scientists showed a "unanimous conclusion ... that homosexuality, contrary to my earlier thinking, was behavioural and not genetic" and therefore it should be punished.
"I therefore encourage the US government to help us by working with our scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When that is proved, we can review this legislation," he said.