David Bahati: No action on Anti-Homosexuality Bill until after 2011 elections

I spoke to Ugandan MP David Bahati this morning who told me that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will not be considered by Uganda’s Parliament until after the February 18, 2011 elections.

When I spoke with Bahati on November 16, he was hopeful that the Parliamentary and Legal Affairs Committee would consider the bill before the recess last week. But today, Bahati said that due to the upcoming elections no significant legislative work is anticipated. He continues to believe that the bill will be considered and debated in Parliament after the elections.

Mr. Bahati said that the delay should not be taken as a sign of lack of support by the committee chair or his peers in the Ugandan Parliament. Just yesterday, Bahati told journalist Jeff Sharlet the same message, adding that the elections were the main focus in Uganda right now. 

In addition to campaigning for re-election during the recess, Mr. Bahati plans to travel to the United States next week with a group of MPs to attend the 2010 Winter Conference of the  International Consortium of Governmental Financial Management. The conference will be held in Washington DC from Dec. 6-8.

UPDATE: Adding some confirmation to Mr. Bahati’s forecast regarding his bill is this motion regarding conduct during elections which was referred to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee – the same committee which has the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The code of conduct resolution will need to be acted on quickly and that will go before anything else.

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  • ken

    I wonder if there will be any protests against Bahati and the other MPs at the conference.

  • Fred Smith

    Well firstly a travel ban should be considered by the state department, If Mrs Clinton can buttonhole the president for 45 minutes she can cancell his visa. If he does get there I hope his speeches are monitored for hate speech, its one thing to talk this rubbish in Uganda with impunity or even be considered a hero but if he says it in a jurisdiction where he can be held accountable its a different matter. Perhaps the Mayor can give him a few tips about the US judicial system, and of course how to hold his soap when showering in jail!!!!!

  • ken

    Despite what some anti-hate crimes bill opponents say, there is no law against hate speech. Nor do I believe there should be.

    However, I do hope Bahati goes on one of his anti-gay rants, because that will likely trigger a walk-out and serve to remind his ugandan constituents how his rabid anti-gay stance is hurting uganda.

  • Richard Willmer

    Speech that can be shown to have been made ‘with the clear intention of inciting hatred’ is a criminal activity in the UK … so if Muhame had published his garbage in Britain, he would probably be behind bars – quite rightly, in my view – or (were he a non-resident) subject to detention pending deportation.

    There is also ‘hate speech’ that cannot be shown to have been be INTENDED to incite hatred. This is not a criminal offence.

    I think the distinction is a very important one.

  • Richard Willmer

    Another point: what right do people like Ssempa have to spew lies and hatred against gay people when around two-thirds of women in UG say they have experienced violence and/or abuse at the hands of their (heterosexual) male partners?



  • Uganda takes pride in their heterosexually hedonistic acting out–please search/read the Red Pepper Tabloid, Uganda on any day–meanwhile Bahati is coming to the U.S., Washington D.C., no doubt to also enjoy some meet ups with his Dominionist/¨K¨ Street pals (for *encouragement* and further plotting).

  • Richard Willmer

    I’ve seen the odd edition. The hypocrisy of that and other similar papers is breathtaking! And the RP is government run (as is the Onion, I think).

    Bahati’s probably looking for cash.

  • As described in the update, ICGFM will not be allowing Mr. Bahati to attend the conference. ICGFM is a non profit organization promoting good goverance in public financial management. As many of you may know, good goverance has been linked in developing countries to improved outcomes – reduced poverty, increased economic development and improved human rights.

    ICGFM, by its very nature and mission, is very un-politcal. That’s not to say that the organization doesn’t tackle government-oriented operational issues that are considered controversial such as public private partnerships, gender-based budgeting, and the move to accrual accounting. So, you imagine the shock to the executive committee and board of directors at this political situation that is orders of magnitude more controversial and unhelpful than we have ever encountered!

    There has been some consternation in the blogosphere about how Mr. Bahati was able to get a US Visa. I can tell you that some thought leaders in the domain are not able to receive Visas for the Miami or Washington conferences.

    I hope that Mr. Bahati did not cynically leverage the standard Visa information that the organization publishes on the icgfm.org web site in antipation of visitors from 30 to 40 countries for some other nefarious political gains. (I’m still wondering whether his announcement of attending the conference is part of the plan – perhaps I’m getting a touch paranoid.)

    This is a personal opinion – having protests outside the venue might increase his political capital at home. Or, the entry into the United States may have been motivated by a need to meet with political allies.

    Suffice it to say that the organization membership is made up of some of the most unpolitical people you will ever meet. Who generally have rather moderate and learned views.