Parliament of Uganda has on Tuesday May 2nd 2023, reconsidered the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 and passed it with amendments to the 4 clauses that formed the basis of President Museveni’s return of the Bill to the house.
On 26th April 2023, through a letter addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, President Yoweri Museveni returned the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 to Parliament for reconsideration.
Persons who knowingly allow their premises to be used for acts of homosexuality now face 7 yrs in jail upon conviction while those who fail to report acts of homosexuality while having knowledge about them face a fine of Ushs10 million or 5 years in jail.
As was the case when the Bill was first passed, Hon. Fox Odoi again prepared a minority report disagreeing with the President and he insisted that clause 14 of the Bill should be deleted. He believes if the clause is sustained, it will deprive the LGBTQ+ people from accessing medical care because of fear of being reported to the police.
However, the minority report was rejected by the House which was at full capacity and the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Anitah Among called for a roll call in order to ascertain the quorum in the House.
According to the President, some of the provisions of the Bill had to be reconsidered and reviewed by Parliament include; A clear distinction between one being a homo-sexual and actually engaging in homosexual activities.
According to the President, Homosexuality has been considered a deviant conduct in our society since time immemorial. He insisted that the Law be made clear so that what is thought to be criminalised is not the state of one having a deviant proclivity but rather one acting on the deviance or indeed promoting the activities in whatever way.
This goes a long way in protecting persons from being punished under the Law based purely on allegations or suspicions of being a homosexual.
The President also recommended that Clause 14 should be reviewed with the aim of deleting it or restricting it to apply to the protection of children and vulnerable persons as provided under Article 17(1)(c) of the Constitution of Uganda.
Under Clause 14, by duty, acts of Homosexuality must be reported. Under Clause 15, it is a crime for one to make false accusations which is a contradiction to Clause 14.
According to the President, this contradiction could present challenges in the implementation of the Bill and could be a source of conflict in society.
The President advised that the Bill should include a provision that facilitates the rehabilitation of homosexuals in health facilities or other entities in cases where their previous involvement in acts of homosexuality was not the aggravated kind instead of being punished.
Hon. Ssemujju Nganda while weighing in on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 said, “Those people are like Kibwetere who collected people and because he wanted the world to end, he set them on fire. Anyone who is here and representing homosexuals should be called Kibwetere.”
Hon. Peter Ogwang, State Minister for Sports on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 said, “What will this world look like if we don’t have women? What will the world look like if we don’t have men? These people who are bringing to us a world where we have wrong addresses, where shall we go? We should not accept the intimidation that comes from the Western world.”
Hon. James Nsaba Butuuro, Former Ethics Minister on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 said, “We must reject this arrogance (of the Western world). The Western world can go away with their support and that will help us to look at ourselves because what we steal from ourselves is more than three times what these people give us.”
The Bill, which seeks to criminalise same-sex relations in Uganda was first passed by the House on 21st March 2023.
Credit: Parliament Watch