Yoweri Museveni Uganda
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni

The US is poised to announce new measures against Uganda following the signing of a controversial law by president Yoweri Museveni which toughens penalties for gay people, according to senior administration officials.

President Barack Obama warned Museveni that the law would complicate relations between the two countries and would be a backward step.

Homosexuals acts were already illegal in Uganda. But the new legislation includes life sentences for gay sex and same-sex marriage and penalty for acts of "aggravated homosexuality" . It also criminalises the "promotion" of homosexuality".

In its original form, the bill carried the death penalty for certain homosexual acts.

It was temporarily dropped during 2011, after an international outcry that followed the brutal murder of gay activist David Kato.

Kato was the figurehead of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), an advocacy group that campaigned against the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

He was murdered after Ugandan weekly Rolling Stone pictured his face and that of another man on its cover under the headline "Hang them!"

The subhead read: "We shall recruit 100,000 innocent kids by 2012: Homos" and "Parents now face heart-breaks as homos raid schools."

The paper pledged to expose 100 gay people and printed the photographs, names and in some cases home areas, of people it claimed were gay.

Kato took the publishers to court and won but was murdered in his home a few months later, after declaring that he feared for his life.