In letter, Uganda's president explains why he opposes a tough new anti-gay bill

Ugandan lawmakers passed an anti-gay bill late last month that has been criticized around the world as draconian. Days later, Uganda's president wrote to the speaker of parliament explaining why he is reluctant to sign the bill, which sets life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for some homosexual acts.

In President Yoweri Museveni's letter, published Friday in the Kampala newspaper Daily Monitor, he:

— Calls homosexuals "abnormal" because "a normal person was created to be attracted to the opposite sex in order to procreate and perpetuate the human race."

— Asks: "What do we do with an abnormal person? Do we kill him/her? Do we imprison him/her? Or do we contain him/her?" He adds: "it seems there is a larger group of those that become homosexual for mercenary reasons — they get recruited on account of financial inducements."

— Says homosexuals can be "much more useful to society than sexually normal people."

— Notes that there were gays in pre-colonial Africa.

— Says he does not agree with "the position of Western countries that homosexuality is an alternative sexual orientation."

— Supports harsh punishment — even a life sentence — for those who use money to "lure" children. He wrote that Uganda needs to create jobs for the unemployed who risk being "lured" by Western homosexuals. "Let us cure the economic conditions so that we rescue our youth and, then, see how to deal with the few abnormals that may be there among us."

— Says he advised Uganda's parliament to not rush the bill until the ruling party reaches "a scientifically correct position."