Anti-gay law will be passed at whatever cost, says Speaker

Parliament Speaker Anita Among. PHOTO/HANDOUT

What you need to know:

  • Speaker Among says the law is meant to shield Uganda’s culture and its sovereignty.

Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has stated that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023 will be tabled and expeditiously processed at ‘whatever cost’.

Ms Among made the remarks after the architect of the Bill, Mr Asuman Basalirwa, was unable to table the Bill for first reading on Tuesday because the Ministry of Finance had not granted him the Certificate of Financial Implication as required.

Last week, while in the process of enacting a fresh law, Speaker Among reiterated that the law is meant to shield Uganda’s culture and its sovereignty.

“We put this on the order paper knowing that this is an urgent matter. May we hear from the Cabinet on what is happening. The fight that we are in is a moral fight, it is a cultural fight and it is indeed a fight to protect the sovereignty of our families. We need to respond to the cries of our citizens in Uganda. You have seen what is happening in schools, are we going to sit here and continue lamenting when we know we can do something?” Ms Among asked.

She added: “As Parliament of Uganda, we are going to pass this Bill. At whatever cost, we will pass it, we are going to protect the morals [and] the values of Ugandans.”

The processing of the Bill commenced last Tuesday after the Bugiri Municipality MP, Mr Basalirwa, was granted leave to undertake due process. It was, thereafter, contained in the gazette last Friday and was expected that the Ministry of Finance had accorded Mr Basalirwa a certificate of Financial Implication which would, therefore, allow for the next process of tabling for first reading but this didn’t happen.

The absence of the said certificate compelled the move of Mr Basalirwa to task government officials to come clear on whether it was in full support of the Bill or not.

“The front bench of the government takes a clear stand on this matter and comes out clearly. Are they willing and ready to avail the certificate or not? They must take a stand, otherwise if they don’t take a stand, then an impression will be created that all of us here are condoning homosexuality,” Mr Basalirwa said.

He, therefore, suggested: “Moving forward, we should begin a campaign where we shall be putting a book to register those against homosexuality so that the country clearly knows those against this moral wrong.”

Before a formal response on government position would be furnished to Mr Basalirwa, the government Chief Whip, Mr Hamson Obua, defended the Ministry of Finance delayed process of availing the Certificate of Financial Implication.

“As far as I am aware, the request for the Certificate of fFinancial Implication was made on Friday, March 3, and the law of both Public Financial Management Act 2015 and Rules of procedure of Parliament give the minister 60 days. It may be urgent but the minister is still protected by the law passed by Parliament, the minister still has 60days,” Mr Obua said.

Govt support
In response, the State minister of Ethics, Ms Rose Lilly Akello, said: “I am one of the persons, who is entirely against marriage between man and a man and woman to woman....I thank Parliament that this Bill has finally come. I am with you. I am with the whole House.”

The representative of the Minister of Finance, Mr Matia Kasaija, in yesterday’s plenary session, the State Minister of Finance in charge of investment, Ms Evelyn Anite, pledged that the Certificate of Financial Implication would be available tomorrow.

“The minister of Finance has asked me to communicate to the House that it will [table] the Certificate of Financial Implication on the [Anti-] Homosexuality Bill on Thursday,” Ms Anite said.