This development was reached at during a hearing of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee discussing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023, the State Minister for Disability, Hellen Grace Asamo, proposed that provisions be made for the rehabilitation of homosexuals, particularly juveniles, and the creation of special cells within prisons to prevent the spread of homosexuality among other inmates.
Asamo stated that “We propose a provision that the Minister responsible for prison services shall provide special facilities to isolate homosexual offences to prevent them from continuing with the practice and protect other inmates from falling victim of homosexual practices.” However, some MPs, such as Fox Odoi, opposed the proposal, arguing that it was draconian and oppressive to the rights of homosexuals.
On the other hand, Robiah Rwakoojo, the Chairperson of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, supported the proposal of isolating homosexuals from other inmates, citing reports of homosexuality in prisons in Uganda. She stated that she was worried about offenders continuing to offend others and that people in prisons were sodomised.
Asamo also expressed concern over the absence of psychological rehabilitation provisions for victims of homosexuality, whom she described as suffering from psychological disorientation that calls for rehabilitation. However, some MPs, such as Paul Kwizera, questioned why a psychological issue was being dealt with using custodial sentences rather than medical expertise.
Odoi further asked the Ministry of Gender to explain how they plan to rehabilitate homosexuals, given that they had proposed to stigmatize them by taking them through a process that leads to a conviction and issuing a custodial sentence. He also asked the Ministry to provide a copy of Uganda’s cultural values and practices, given the country’s diverse society.
Asamo called for a recasting of the objectives of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to provide enhanced legislation to protect the traditional family institution and cultural practices. However, Odoi requested that the Ministry clarify Uganda’s cultural values and practices, and how they arrived at those values.
Overall, the discussion around the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 highlighted differing views on how to address homosexuality in Uganda. While some proposed isolating homosexuals to prevent the spread of homosexuality, others questioned the use of custodial sentences and stigmatization. The proposal also led to questions about Uganda’s cultural values and practices and how they should be reflected in the legislation.