Uganda's anti-gay bill will return: Soon or pretty soon?

The harsh Anti-Homosexuality Act of Uganda, overturned by Uganda’s Constitutional Court, is likely to return to parliament for a new vote by that overwhelmingly anti-gay assembly.
How soon?

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

After a month of analysis, says the ruling NRM (National Resistance Movement) party, led by President Yoweri Museveni.  In a statement, the party caucus today said they would form a committee of nine members who will analyze constitutional issues related to the bill and report back after a month.
Very soon, says parliament speaker Rebecca Kadaga. More than 200 legislators have signed a petition seeking a quick vote on the bill rather than the typical 45-day delay required by standard parliamentary procedures.
David Bahati, the original author of the bill, is a member of the new NRM study committee.
David Bahati (Photo courtesy of NTV)
Ugandan member of parliament David Bahati, who first proposed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2009. (Photo courtesy of NTV)

In its statement, the NRM caucus said it accepted the Constitutional Court ruling. That admission was seen as a sign that the government would not appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, as had been proposed.
One member of the NRM, quoted in a Reuters article, said that Museveni proposed a weakened version of the bill that would remove penalties for consensual sex.
“He said he wants the law back in [parliament] but now says if two consenting adults go into their room and decide to be stupid, let them be,”  said member of parliament Medard Bitekyerezo.
However, the existing Ugandan Penal Code already provides for life imprisonment for same-sex intimacy, or any “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.”
Bitekyerezo said Museveni wants a bill that would outlaw “promotion of homosexuality” and the alleged practice of LGBT people “recruiting” children.
The impact of Western aid cutbacks was one issue in the discussion, according to Bitekyerezo’s account.
“We agreed to come up with a new version that doesn’t hurt our Western friends but also protects Ugandans,”  he said.


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, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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