Govt okays new anti-gay Bill

Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa tables the Bill in Parliament.  PHOTO/ DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • This came after the Ministry of Finance formally provided the Certificate of Financial Implication

Government has cleared Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa to formally undertake the due process of crafting and finalising the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023, that is intended to prohibit same-sex relations in Uganda.
Mr Basalirwa got the green light after the Ministry of Finance formally accorded him the Certificate of Financial Implication and consequently allowed him to table the Bill for first reading yesterday.

As he tabled the Bill, Mr Basalirwa reiterated last week’s position that the Bill is meant to insulate communities in Uganda against same sex practices.
“As a result, there is a need for a legislation to enhance offences relating to homosexuality and clear provisions for charging, investigating, prosecuting, convicting and sentencing of offenders,” Mr Basalirwa said. In the lead up to the first reading of the Bill, , Speaker Anita Among rallied legislators not to be ‘shaken’ or ‘intimidated’ by being forced to vote against its passing amid reports that they would be denied travel visas to some countries.

“I want to urge MPs [that] don’t get intimidated, we are doing this for humanity, we are here to represent people out there. We are the voice of the voiceless. We have our Bill that is going to come; the Executive promised that they will bring the certificate and I can ably report that the certificate was delivered,” Speaker Among said.

She added: “For me the only thing you can intimidate me on is that you will not go to my constituency. But so long as I am able to go to my constituency, to hell with those countries.”
As a means of ensuring fairness, Speaker Among revealed that all interested stakeholders would be allowed audience to provide input into the Bill when the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee starts scrutinising it.
“I will ask the committee to ensure there is sufficient public hearing on this Bill, nothing should be hidden. Accord people a public hearing, let the public come and express their views, including the homos, allow them to come, please listen to them,” MsAmong said.

She added: “We don’t want that scenario that they weren’t heard as if they are doing something that is legal. So we want them to be heard even in their illegality, even in their immorality, let us hear them.”
Government Chief Whip Hamson Obua was quick to assure yesterday’s plenary that the government was not under any form of pressure to process the said law.

Government position
“The leadership isn’t under any pressure and the leadership of Parliament isn’t under pressure. The law we make is for the peace, order and good governance of Uganda. There is no pressure, we are constitutionally exercising what is bestowed,” Mr Obua said.
The processing of the Bill that was first read yesterday commenced last week after Speaker Among led Parliament in endorsing Mr Basalirwa, who also doubles as the President of the opposition Justice Forum (JEEMA), to start drafting it.
The Bill has since been forwarded to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee chaired by Gomba West MP Robina Rwakoojo for further scrutiny.
In the committee, MPs will entertain and accommodate views before a report will be prepared for tabling before the House.