However, clauses on the duty to report acts of homosexuality will be dropped. First Lady Janet Museveni proposed that the law incorporate comprehensive rehabilitation provisions for those who want to stop practising homosexuality.
These, along with other changes, will be affected when President Museveni returns the Bill to Parliament for reconsideration. With a harmonised position by the majority of NRM legislators, it is likely that the proposals will pass.
The Bill, which was passed last month, introduces tough penalties in fines and prison sentences (up to 20 years) for offences including same-sex activities, promoting homosexuality, child grooming, and aggravated homosexuality. The law in its current form leans more towards prevention and less on correction of those who are already practising homosexuality.
The retention of the death penalty is a shift from an earlier opinion by the Attorney General that frowned upon the death penalty for convicts of aggravated homosexuality as provided for in Clause 3(1) of the Bill, as it offends provisions of the constitution.
However, the Deputy Attorney General, Mr Jackson Kafuuzi, said upon further scrutiny of the wording in the provision, they had ruled out any unconstitutionality. He added that the wording of the Bill says “liable to suffer death,” which courts have interpreted to mean the judge or presiding officer has the discretion to decide whether it should be death or not.
The government decided to drop clauses criminalising failure to report acts of homosexuality on grounds of ambiguity. The offence would attract a fine of 5,000 currency points (Shs100m) or imprisonment for six months.
President Museveni has remained defiant in the face of global backlash pushing him to veto the law. Key partners and donors, including the European Union (EU), have red-flagged the law as regressive and discriminatory, opening the possibility of sanctions. The European Parliament’s resolution of April 20 singled out President Museveni’s “hateful rhetoric about LGBTIQ persons” and warned that if the Bill is signed into law, it will be left with little choice but to push for the “triggering [of] the EU global human rights sanctions regime.”