Time running out for Uganda’s anti-gay bill?

Uganda parliament building
Uganda parliament building

It’s no cause for celebration, other than to celebrate that another day has come and gone without passage of Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

But this year’s session of the Ugandan parliament is heading toward its conclusion — reportedly scheduled for Friday, Dec. 14 — with no action scheduled on the bill. Today’s major scheduled event is a speech by President Yoweri Museveni. [Reuters reported about his speech: “Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, facing donor aid cuts over graft, on Thursday accused unnamed ‘foreign interests’ of sabotaging the oil sector to prevent the country from attaining financial freedom.]

The parliament’s inaction on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill flies in the face of an earlier prediction by Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of the Ugandan parliament, that the bill would be passed before Christmas.

Yesterday, the parliament pushed the bill down to No. 6 on its order of upcoming business. Earlier in the session, it had been listed as next in line for upcoming action, then second in line.

“Don’t know what parliament is up to but we are watching,” the coalition of Ugandan activists Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law posted yesterday on its Facebook page.

In previous years, the parliament has repeatedly wrapped up its business without acting on the bill.

Human rights supporters in Uganda and worldwide have been campaigning against the bill, which would stiffen Uganda’s already-strict punishments for homosexual activity and would require citizens, including parents and doctors, to report suspected homosexuals to police.

Of course, it’s possible that a surprise move could bring the bill to the floor of the parliament at any time. But for now, here is today’s agenda for the Ugandan parliament:

SPECIAL SITTING OF PARLIAMENT OF UGANDA: THURSDAY 13TH DECEMBER, 2012 – TIME OF COMMENCEMENT 2.00 P.M.

Playing of the anthems by the Uganda Police Band

(i) The National Anthem (3 verses)
(ii) The anthem of the East African Community

1. Prayers

2. Communication from the Chair

3. Address by H.E. The President of the Republic of Uganda
In accordance with Article 101 (2) of the Constitution

4. Adjournment

6. Playing of the National Anthem (3 verses) by the Uganda Police Band

13th December, 2012
Kampala

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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