Uganda’s Parliament is today (Tuesday 21st, March, 2023) expected to vote on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023 amidst mixed reactions from various stakeholders.
According to today’s Order Paper, the Bill will be presented for the second and third reading by the Speaker.
Additional Reporting by Monitor.
It is not yet confirmed whether the voting will be a show of hands as it was earlier proposed by the Speaker of Parliament, at whatever cost.
The Bill, among others, seeks to prohibit same-sex sexual relations, strengthen Uganda’s capacity to deal with domestic and foreign threats to the heterosexual family, safeguard traditional and cultural values and protect youth/children against *** and lesbian practice through imposing penalties on the perpetrators.
For instance, if the bill is enacted in its current form, homosexuals, landlords, brothel proprietors, chief executives of pro-*** organisations, journalists and film directors face imprisonment or fines, ranging from Shs5m to Shs100m. Offences of homosexuality and attempted or aggravated homosexuality will attract a maximum of 10-year jail term while any entity promoting the vice shall pay a fine of Shs100m among others.
However, while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee last week, the Attorney General (AG), who were in favour of the Bill saying that it is redundant due to multiple repetitions of offences in already existing legislation.
Equally, Members of Parliament and academic scholars offered divergent views on the bill before the same committee. Lawyers advised that the bill be discarded because there are already strict penalties for aggravated sexual crimes even for minors.
Lawyer arguing that, among others, Speaker Anita Among, who is supposed to be neutral, is biased in favour of passing the Bill.
What others say
Ms Diana Mutasingwa, Buikwe Woman MP, said via her twitter handle: “The decisions made in Parliament on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023 today will shape the future of our children in years to come, for or against recruiting people to start practicing homosexuality. I urge my fellows to stand firm in their beliefs and vote on the right decision.”
Mr Nicholas Opiyo, lawyer and human rights activist: “The important thing isn’t what will happen in the Ugandan parliament tomorrow (today) tabling and passing of the anti-homosexuality Bill. It’s what to do the day after. The MPs are hell-bent on their hate, prejudice driven agenda against the queer community. They can’t disappear a community.”
Ms Robina Rwakoojo, Chairperson of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee said yesterday, “We are completing report writing on the Anti Homosexuality Bill, to be presented to plenary tomorrow (today).