PARLIAMENT: The Attorney General, Hon. Kiryowa Kiwanuka has said that existing laws like the Penal Code Act can be amended to cater for provisions made in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023.
Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka while appearing before the Committee of legal and Parliamentary Affairs to present his views on the bill, he listed several clauses in the Bill which he said are already catered for in existing laws which he said could tantamount to duplication if the Bill is passed.
The Attorney General cited clause 2 of the Bill that provides for the offence of homosexuality which he said is addressed by section 145 of the Penal Code that penalizes unnatural offences.
Article 145(a) and (c) of the Penal Code states, ‘Any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature’ and ‘any person who permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature…commits a crime and is liable to imprisonment for life’.
The Attorney General said this provision already criminalizes homosexuality as is suggested in the Bill.
“If clause 2 of the Bill is to stand, there may be need to have a consequential amendment of the Penal Code Act. This is to bring clarity to the meaning of the phrase ‘against the order of nature’,” said Kiryowa Kiwanuka.
He cited clause 3(1)(b) of the Bill which stipulates that a person commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality where the offender is a person living with HIV.
The Attorney General noted that this is addressed by sections 41 and 43 of the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act.
He also cited clause 13 of the proposed law that gives a penalty of 10 years imprisonment to a person who contracts a marriage with a person of the same sex or conducts a marriage ceremony between persons of the same sex.
The Attorney General said this would be a duplication of the Marriage Act.
“The Marriage Act defines a marriage and does not include same sex marriage. In any case, the Constitution under Article 31(2)(a) prohibits same sex marriages. As mentioned earlier, it is important to avoid duplication,” Kiryowa Kiwanuka added.
The Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, James Owere, concurred that there is need to amend existing provisions in the law.
“The Penal Code Act is supposed to be the main penal law and if we legislate in piecemeal on it, we would affect it. We recommend that we can overhaul existing laws to bring them in conformity with the current times,” Owere said.
Parliament is this week expected to debate and vote for the Anti-homosexuality bill, 2023 which was tabled by the Bugiri Municipality Legislator Hon. Asuman Basalirwa on March 9th, 2023.
The Bill seeks to prohibit any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex, prohibit and penalize homosexual behavior and related practices, prohibit the promotion of homosexuality and protect and provide assistance and payment of compensation to victims of homosexuality.
Source: Parliament of Uganda