PARLIAMENT- The ruling party majority yesterday resolved to back President Museveni’s proposal to deny bail for sodomy suspects, defilers and rapists and tasked Ministry of Justice to expedite the process of amending the Constitution to that effect.
Mr Museveni, in a renewed call for the scrapping of the bail window for suspects in capital offences, told the NRM Caucus retreat in Kyankwanzi that the status-quo is encouraging crime in the country.
While corruption is not part of President’s list of targeted offences, sources told the Daily Monitor that “sodomy” was included at the behest of MPs who told their party leader that it has become such an “insidious” problem in the country.
Under the Common Law, sodomy consists of anal intercourse. Traditionally, courts and statutes referred to it as a “crime against nature” or as copulation “against the order of nature.” According to an online legal dictionary, because homosexual activity involves anal and oral sex, gay men were the primary target of sodomy laws.
While the President wants Parliament to enact a law that denies bail for sodomy suspects, he is yet to assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Parliament last year.
Discussing the Justice Law and Order Sector, sources quoted the President saying: “I do not know why the Judiciary is giving bail to every suspect. There is bail to everybody, including the core criminals. We shall do legislation as politicians about this law to determine the categories of suspects supposed to be granted bail.”
In April 2011, the President made a similar case for people accused of economic sabotage, treason, rape, murder, embezzlement and defilement. However, this time, he only singled out sodomy, defilement and rape.
When the issue of denying bail first came up, out-going Leader of the Opposition Nandala Mafabi and other critics, however, argued that the proposal on “economic saboteurs” targeted his political opponents.
Caucus spokesperson Evelyn Anite confirmed the latest developments to the Daily Monitor that the Ministry of Justice was tasked to kick-start the process amid cheers from the ruling party members.
“The President had proposed that bail must be denied to those who rape and defile others and MPs amended it to include those that sodomise others. The proposal was overwhelmingly supported,” said Ms Anite.
The deputy Attorney General, Mr Fred Ruhindi, announced that the Money Lenders Act is among those to be amended to rescue unsuspecting Ugandans from being fleeced of their properties.
“Money lenders have made it a lucrative business to confiscate properties of their clients after convincing them to borrow huge loans. The MPs want the act strengthened to guarantee the security of borrowers’ properties,” said Ms Anite.
The Caucus also granted the Ministry of Justice leave to table Fundraising Bill and further amendments to the Money Laundering law passed by Parliament recently. They also agreed to expedite the latest National ID roadmap ahead of the registration for the 2016 general elections.
Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who is also the NRM Secretary General, is expected to make a presentation today on positioning the NRM Party for 2016 and beyond.
Other party members told this newspaper that the party is expected to discuss the unresolved position of the Secretary General. The party members want Mr Mbabazi whom they say is a “busy person”.
Meanwhile, the number of MPs who have signed on for President Museveni’s sole candidature in the 2016 party primaries yesterday increased to 215. The latest MP to sign is NRM’s vice chairperson for eastern region Mike Mukula.
“He told the caucus that he will support President Museveni,” Ms Anite said.