Religious leaders to return anti-gay Bill to Parliament
What you need to know:
- The Archbishop of Church of Uganda, Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, who doubles as the chairperson of the IRCU, urged all religions to open centres to provide counselling and support to people who could have been involved in homosexuality.
The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) has vowed to do everything possible to have the anti-same-sex Bill returned to Parliament, as one of the measures to tackle the spread of homosexuality, especially in schools.
Addressing a joint media briefing at their offices in Kampala yesterday, the clerics said the lack of a stringent enabling law to tackle this vice is currently fuelling the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and others (LGBTIQ+) movements in the country, adding that its high time they are stopped.
“Parliament had passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which the President accented to and became law in 2014, but some people went to court and nullified it. But it (law) is still our stand and as religious leaders, we urge government and his Excellence the President that if it means bringing back that law, we are in support because that law will bury the LGBTQ practice in Uganda,” the Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, said.
He added: “We also call upon the Legislature to join hands so that this law is passed to protect Ugandans from this vice.”
The presiding Apostle of the Born Again Faith in Uganda, Mr Joseph Sserwadda, said: “There is no law at this stage in the country which prohibits young children from accessing Internet and this has increased the cases of homosexuality among children.”
He added: “It is now the responsibility of our Ministry of ICT to quickly get experts to begin to cluster content consumption into age groups so that children can only have what is good for them.”
The Archbishop of Church of Uganda, Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, who doubles as the chairperson of the IRCU, urged all religions to open centres to provide counselling and support to people who could have been involved in homosexuality.
The religious leaders also noted that the increasing economic hardships, high unemployment, peer pressure and other hardships in families, have contributed to the increased spread of the vice in the county.
“We acknowledge the increasing economic hardships and other pressures that affect our families. As religious leaders, we encourage Ugandans and especially our young people to stand firm against temptations that might ruin their lives,” a statement released by the council stated.
The clerics’ concerns come at a time when Parliament and other stakeholders have raised a red flag about some non-governmental organisations which are allegedly recruiting schoolchildren into same-sex relations.
Parliament has since initiated investigations into the allegations. The Penal Code Act criminalises same-sex relationships.
The passing of the anti-homosexuality law attracted a lot of criticism from Western countries, with some cutting aid to Uganda on grounds that criminalising same-sex relationships promotes stigma and discrimination against homosexuals.
The Act, which was fronted by then Ndorwa West MP and now State minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives David Bahati, proposed that a person who purports to contract a marriage with another person of the same sex, commits the offence of homosexuality and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for life.
On July 31, 2014, the Constitutional Court in a unanimous judgment, nullified the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 for having been passed by Parliament without the required quorum of at least one-third of all legislators.