In sharp contradiction to Christianity Today columnist Timothy Shah’s statement that Uganda’s religious and political leaders were “repelled” by David Bahati’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, various such leaders spoke out in support for the bill in the waning days of the 8th Parliament.
Today, UG Pulse reported:
Religious leaders, as well as the civil society organisations have today petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Ssekandi, calling for the debate and passing of the controversial Anti Homosexuality bill.
This comes a day after the activists were thrown out of the Parliament, shortly after meeting the chairman of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, Stephen Tashobya on the same matter.
The Inter Religious Taskforce against Homosexuality, led by Pastor Martin Ssempa and Bishop Julius Oyet, presented over 2000 signatures collected from across the country, calling for the passing of the bill, which they say will protect the children.
They also revealed that a lot of money had been injected into a recruitment drive and if the legal committee was delaying, the bill should be moved to a different committee instead.
The Speaker of Parliament, Edward Ssekandi told the taskforce that Parliament will receive all views from different stakeholders before it is either passed or rejected.
He however promised to consult with the relevant committee to discuss the bill as soon as possible.
Yesterday, a Voice of America report said the signatures numbered 2 million.
Religious leaders in Uganda are calling for a renewed debate of the country’s “anti-homosexuality” bill which they argue is essential to protect Ugandan children from homosexual recruitment.
On Wednesday, religious leaders and anti-homosexual activists from around Uganda gathered in parliament to urge debate on the country’s much-maligned “anti-homosexuality” bill.
The bill – also known as the Bahati Bill for the Member of Parliament who introduced it – has garnered worldwide attention for a provision which set the death penalty as punishment for certain homosexual acts. While the death penalty has since been removed from the bill, advocates continue to call for its passage as a means of protecting Uganda’s children.
Lead by Pastor Martin Ssempa, a charismatic and vocal opponent of homosexuality in Uganda, the group asked Ugandan Parliamentary Speaker Edward Kiwanuka [Ssekandi] to fight the emerging “homo-cracy” in Uganda and enter the bill for debate.
“We as religious leaders and civil society are distressed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is being deliberately killed largely by the undemocratic threats of western nations,” he said. “These same nations who promote democracy don’t want our representative to discuss laws to protect our children from the human trafficking of recruiting our children into homosexuality.”
Ssempa leads the Inter-Religious Taskforce Against Homosexuality. During the session with Speaker Kiwanuka, the Task Force presented a portion of over 2 million signatures it said were gathered from around Uganda in support of the bill.
In fact, Julius Oyet was deputized by David Bahati to gather these signatures.
Then, this report was filed late yesterday in the Daily Monitor. The Speaker of the Parliament gave an encouraging word to the religious leaders:
“The mover of the Bill (David Bahati) is still a member of the 9th Parliament and even if the current Parliament doesn’t debate it, the new Parliament will do it,” Mr Ssekandi said.
He added: “Since the Bill was tabled, I have received numerous calls from the international community to throw it out but I always tell them that I don’t have those powers.”
Mr Ssekandi also told the team that their petition would be considered by the committee.
Chances are that time will run out on the bill. However, Ssekandi seemed to say that the new Parliament might take it up. With the government spokeswoman recently saying that the bill’s provisions will be added to another bill — the Sexual Offences Bill — the issue is far from over.