What you need to know:
- The lawyers during an interface with the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee yesterday advised that the Bill be discarded because there is nothing new it would bring on table as there are already strict penalties for aggravated sexual crimes even for minors.
Members of Parliament (MPs) and academic scholars have offered divergent views on the Anti-homosexuality Bill, 2023.
The lawyers during an interface with the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee yesterday advised that the Bill be discarded because there is nothing new it would bring on table as there are already strict penalties for aggravated sexual crimes even for minors.
“The Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) of the School of Law, Makerere University is of the considered opinion that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is unnecessary,” said Dr Kabumba Busingye, a senior lecturer of law and director at HURIPEC.
“Strict penalties for defilement (included aggravated defilement) are already provided for under existing laws, particularly the Penal Code Act, Cap 120),” he added.
The HURIPEC’s position, Dr Busingye said, is that the Bill is unnecessary and problematic and should be set aside.
Dr Sylvia Tamale, a recently retired Professor of Law at Makerere University, shared similar sentiments, reasoning that the Bill is a duplication of many others already in place.
“The Bill should be scrapped and not given the light of day. The Penal Code deals with these issues,” Dr Tamale said.
The Anti-gay Bill, among other things, seeks to protect children and youth against the practices of lesbianism and homosexuality, with the proposed laws giving courts powers to order protection for a child thought likely to engage in homosexuality.
However, a section of members of the committee stood by the Bill, stating that it was in the interest of fighting homosexuality, particularly protecting the minors.
Mr Bosco Okiror (Usuk County) said there was no backing down as they needed to legislate according to the current times.
“This is no longer a private matter as it is now being done in public domain. There are even cartoons, which are promoting homosexuality. All of us here have agreed that recruiting children is wrong, including you Professor [Sylvia Tamale] who alluded to that. We should legislate according to the times,” Mr Okiror said.
Mr Yusuf Mutembuli (Bunyole East), who was acting as chairperson for the session, concluded that they appreciated all the views from stakeholders and these would be considered when drafting the final report.