Ugandan gay activist David Kato, who was murdered
Ugandan activist David Kato was murdered for being gay

Ugandan gay activists have signed a petition calling on two banks to lobby against an anti-homosexuality bill that an MP reintroduced in parliament in February.

The petition by has asked Citibank and Barclays to use their weight to stop the proposed legislation, which the media has dubbed the "kill the gays" bill since it would make homosexuality punishable by life in prison or death.

The two financial institutions were selected because they have substantial investments in Uganda and have been staunch supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights for their employees and customers.

MP David Bahati originally introduced the bill in 2009. Before it was put before the assembly for a vote, it was dropped in 2011 after an international outcry over the brutal murder of gay activist David Kato.

If the bill is approved and becomes law, it will force doctors, teachers, lawyers and other professionals to report someone for being LGBT within 24 hours or face arrest.

The petition has acquired global momentum and has already been signed by more than 160,000 people since it was launched a few days ago.

Among gay activist who signed the petition, John Wambere said the bill is harsh and must be rejected. "It doesn't need to be retabled, it doesn't need to be considered at all because already we have a penal code," he explained.

Bahati, who revived the bill last month, claimed the vast majority of Ugandans are against "the evil of homosexuality". In support of his assertion, he said five million people signed a petition requesting parliament to pass the bill when it was last introduced. Uganda has a population of 33 million people.

In February, International Business Times UK revealed that American Christian evangelical organisations have actively lobbied for the re-introduction of the anti-homosexuality bill.

The Uganda-based Family Life Network (FLN) is the main organisation behind efforts to revive the bill, according to Kikonyogo Kivumbi, executive director of the civil rights organisation Uhspa-Uganda.

"Many people in Uganda subscribe to the FLN ideology," he said. "We tried to engage with them, but they turned down the dialogue. They are part of a foreign, illiterate agenda that is determined to see that the bill is passed."