Possible amendments to Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill

UPDATE: (4pm) – Apparently, President Museveni cannot directly veto the AHB. I confirmed this with two sources today and read through their Rules of Procedure and Constitution. He can send it back or refuse to assent to it (although it would be the first time he has ever done so) but he cannot directly stop it. If he refuses to assent to it, Parliament can either turn around and pass it or they can wait 30 days for it to become law. It can either pass or fail tomorrow. If it comes up and fails then it is done in present form. If it doesn’t come up tomorrow, then a MP can make a motion to continue all business forward. In addition, I heard today, but cannot confirm that if no motion is passed to continue all business, then the new incoming Speaker could direct the committees to pick up where they left off with unfinished bills from the last Parliament. We apparently could be monitoring this particular AHB until at least May 19.

………………….

This morning I listened in while Ugandan MP David Bahati was speaking with NPR’s Tell Me More program (live at 11am; if not in your area, click the link to listen to the broadcast at noon) and he described some of the suggested changes to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Bahati said they are now focusing on recruitment, promotion and providing care for the victims of homosexuality. Thus, the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee will suggest removing the death penalty and the sections regarding “attempted homosexuality” (e.g., touching) and the 24-hour reporting requirement (if you know someone who is gay, you must report to police or face jail/fines).

However, penalties will remain, although these were not disclosed. And it is important to remember that the bill has not been changed as yet. If the bill comes up tomorrow, the committee will make recommendations, and the MPs will discuss them. One will not know what is in the final version until it is read a third time. On the NPR program, Bahati emphasized that the proposals about “promotion” remain. “Promotion of homosexuality,” section 13, of the AHB reads:

13. Promotion of homosexuality.

(1) A person who –

(a) participates in production. procuring, marketing, broadcasting, disseminating, publishing pornographic materials for purposes of promoting homosexuality;

(b) funds or sponsors homosexuality or other related activities;

(c) offers premises and other related fixed or movable assets for purposes of homosexuality or promoting homosexuality;

(d) uses electronic devices which include internet, films, mobile phones for purposes of homosexuality or promoting homosexuality and;

(e) who acts as an accomplice or attempts to promote or in any way abets homosexuality and related practices; commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a line of live thousand currency points or imprisonment of a minimum of five years and a maximum of seven years or both fine and imprisonment.

(2) Where the offender is a corporate body or a business or an association or a non-governmental organization, on conviction its certificate of registration shall be cancelled and the director or proprietor or promoter shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years.

Please note the restrictions on free speech and assembly. Just using a cell phone to meet a date could get you in trouble.

There are no changes that could make this bill acceptable, but the perception of the Uganda supporters is that they have listened to the world and offered a reasonable response. Given this headline in the LA Times yesterday, I am concerned that media will focus on what is altered and not on what remains and what is the intent of the bill.

I was asked on the show what comes next if the bill passes tomorrow. It seems to me that the focus will turn to the President. One day after his inauguration, he will have to decide whether to send the bill back or not. Armchair Uganda watchers out there, what will he do?

  • http://www.leonardoricardosanto.blogspot.com Leonardo Ricardo

    I see the tainted hands of Archbishop Orombi in the above highlighted section. Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi is the ¨spiritual counselor¨ to Anglican MP David Bahati. +Orombi and his suck-em-up House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda/Anglican Communion, previously excommunicated retired Anglican Bishop Christopher for ministering to desperate, and often suicidal, LGBTI Anglicans/others in Uganda. Punishing and vile acts against a genuinely loving with over 50 year service by this beloved Bishop/Priest smashed!

    As most know, recently Bishop Christopher has regrouped and founded a new NGO which will serve as a ¨spiritual counseling¨ safe place for those persecuted by MP Bahati, +Orombi, Pastor Martin Ssempa and the rest of their ilk of dangerous men who would, and often do, assist in crimes against humanity…LGBTI Activist David Kato, was an Anglican and even served as Secretary of Integrity Uganda (founded by Bishop Christopher)– he was murdered after being ¨outed¨ and pictured on the front page of one (of many)popular smut tabloid journals in all holy/christian, wildly immoral, Uganda.

    There is a huge element of crime/corruption both in and outside of government and the Anglican Church of Uganda in Uganda– the recent ¨post election peace marches¨ are a vivid example of what happens to anyone who may disagree with President Museveni, Henry Orombi, David Bahati or any likeminded bigots, despots and thieving associates and buddies.

    It´s clear to most in the World around us that Uganda ought deal with a HUGE and VERTICAL house cleaning before the ¨government¨ continues with the persecution and demonization of any more of their fellow citizens with any act of Parliament– diversionary tactics will no longer take the pressure away from Museveni and elected/appointed accomplices…there is no longer much for him/them to gain by tormenting and oppressing those citizens with whom they disagree. The ¨problem¨ with striving for basic decency and democracy in Uganda has nothing to do with Homosexuality…Bishop Orombi and his clergymen KNOW and avoid truth, over and over again…why?

  • Richard Willmer

    I think that, if the Bill is passed with Clause 13 included, UG would effectively be ‘imposing sanctions’ on themselves. At least some NGOs concerned with helping in the fight against HIV/AIDS may decide that they will have to curtail or discontinue their activities in UG (and this is a viewpoint I’ve heard from ‘people in the know’).

  • Richard Willmer

    “There are no changes that could make this bill acceptable, but the perception of the Uganda supporters is that they have listened to the world and offered a reasonable response. Given this headline in the LA Times yesterday, I am concerned that media will focus on what is altered and not on what remains and what is the intent of the bill.”

    I agree absolutely with the first sentence! The Bill is, from the perspective of morality, philosophy and jurisprudence, fundamentally flawed.

    How blocks like the EU respond (and the EU will respond ‘as a block’, in addition to any individual responses on the parts of, say, Sweden, Germany and maybe even the UK), and what NGOs in UG decide to do, is probably more important than what the media prints (the media has ‘got it wrong’ often enough, after all, and ‘the professionals’ in Berlin, Brussels, London, Stockholm, Washington, etc. know what’s really happening***).

    *** Thanks, in no small part, to your blog!!!

  • Maazi NCO

    How blocks like the EU respond (and the EU will respond ‘as a block’, in addition to any individual responses on the parts of, say, Sweden, Germany and maybe even the UK)

    The EU will not respond as a block with regards to this matter if Uganda goes ahead with passing this bill. The reason has to do with differing geo-strategic/geo-political interests among the European States. There is no way UK will agree to act in the same manner as Sweden or Netherlands. Similarly, US government reaction to the passing of this bill will probably not be as extreme as that of Denmark, which has little play in Uganda. In the unlikely event that our President vetos the bill, it will not be for fear of a non-existent EU gang-up against him (The EU could not even mount such a gang up against poor minnow Republic of Malawi). Our President could apply veto for other reasons which I do not care to discuss in this forum.

  • Richard Willmer

    Well, we’ll see what happens if the Bill passes, and M7 doesn’t effectively ‘time it out’ by returning it, won’t we!

    (Obviously, I would be very sad if ordinary Ugandan had to suffer because of the stupidity of a political clique, but the problem is that there is a worry that, if the Bill were to be enacted and nothing were, other countries would try to pull a similar stunt.)

  • Maazi NCO

    There are no changes that could make this bill acceptable, but the perception of the Uganda supporters is that they have listened to the world and offered a reasonable response

    Any discerning Ugandan knows that Western nations want all or nothing. No amount of alterations to this bill will satisfy western governments who are under pressure from the highly influential Euro-American Gay Lobbies gagging to invade Uganda with their Gay Agenda.

    The proposed modifications are not really about Western reaction. These modifications are necessary to avert the annulment of the bill by our local courts when the domestic agents of the foreign gay sex lobbies eventually get round to suing our parliament.

  • Richard Willmer

    You’re getting hysterical, ‘Maazi’. Calm down dear!

    Now, you still haven’t answered clearly my very simple, straighforward question, so here it is again: Do you think that people should be imprisoned for private sexual acts pursuant to informed consent? (Bahati thinks they should be. Do you agree with him? Very simple.)

  • Maazi NCO

    You’re getting hysterical, ‘Maazi’. Calm down dear!

    I am quite calm and looking forward to the Friday session. Even if we don’t get our way in this parliament. We are ready to continue our project in the next one.

    Do you think that people should be imprisoned for private sexual acts pursuant to informed consent?

    I have answered this question in several comments I have posted to diffferent threads on this blog. Just re-read my previous comments to discern my answer to your question.

  • Richard Willmer

    You’ve not answered it clearly – you seem addicted to verbiage! Just ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, please – then I’ll leave you alone on this point.

  • Pingback: Box Turtle Bulletin » HRW: Uganda’s Parlaimentary Committee Backs Retaining Death Penalty and Other Expanded Penalties

  • Richard Willmer
  • Richard Willmer

    Of course, if the death penalty is retained for consensual acts, or for ‘serial offenders’ (remembering, of course, that the term ‘serial offender’ currently relates to any [so-called] offence cited in the Bill), then it truly is still a genocidal instrument, that makes Malawi’s and Burundi’s antics look like ‘child’s play’.

  • Richard Willmer

    Warren and I have just spoken.

    He also has got hold of a report that it consistent with what I have posted above.

    I have sent word to the FCO (who have begun the process of conferring with EU partners).

  • Richard Willmer

    (I should stress that the report Warren has is not the same as the one I posted – but what it says is consistent with it.)

  • Richard Willmer

    I have now seen a copy of the Committee’s report.

    Given that ‘aggravated defilement’ (Penal Code 129) can carry the death penalty, thus it appears that it is still a case of DEATH BY HANGING for so-called ‘aggravated homosexuality’ (which, may everyone be reminded, includes so-called ‘serial offenders’ who have engaged in consensual sex, or who are ‘so-called’ promoters of homosexuality).

    Any comments, ‘Maazi’? You wanted a ‘watered-down’ bill, but the main aspects appear to be as savage as ever. Have you been duped? Or have you been lying (again)? Or maybe a bit of both?

  • Richard Willmer

    I have now seen a copy of the Committee’s report.

    Given that ‘aggravated defilement’ (Penal Code 129) can carry the death penalty, thus it appears that it is still a case of DEATH BY HANGING for so-called ‘aggravated homosexuality’ (which – may everyone be reminded – includes so-called ‘serial offenders’ who have engaged in consensual sex, or who are so-called ‘promoters’ of homosexuality).

    Any comments, ‘Maazi’? You wanted a ‘watered-down’ bill, but the main aspects appear to be as savage as ever. Have you been duped? Or have you been lying (again)? Or maybe a bit of both?

  • Richard Willmer

    Another press report just out: http://www.ukgaynews.org.uk/Archive/11/May/1301.htm

    DEATH PENALTY RETAINED (including, apparently, for private sexual relations pursuant to informed consent).

  • Richard Willmer

    See comments above for latest news.

  • Richard Willmer

    I have now seen a copy of the Committee’s report.

    Given that ‘aggravated defilement’ (Penal Code 129) can carry the death penalty, thus it appears that it is still a case of DEATH BY HANGING for so-called ‘aggravated homosexuality’ (which, may everyone be reminded, includes so-called ‘serial offenders’ who have engaged in consensual sex, or who are ‘so-called’ promoters of homosexuality).

  • Richard Willmer

    I have now seen a copy of the Committee’s report.

    Given that ‘aggravated defilement’ (Penal Code 129) can carry the death penalty, thus it appears that it is still a case of DEATH BY HANGING for so-called ‘aggravated homosexuality’ (which, may everyone be reminded, includes so-called ‘serial offenders’ who have engaged in consensual sex, or who are ‘so-called’ promoters of homosexuality).

    PETITION: http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_stop_homophobia_petition_2/?rc=fb

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  • HOPE

    But really don’t Ugandans have lot more important things to do or think about ? like the bad roads , inflation in the country and the MP’s giving them selves 103 millions just to purchase cars , yet we don’t have drugs in hospitals, doctors getting peanuts in terms of salaries, teachers going with out pay . what is so good in this bill that our MP’s have to really put too much attention on?? Will some one help me understand it please ?

  • Richard Willmer

    I’m sure they do, HOPE. But that doesn’t mean that they will … unfortunately.

    There is nothing ‘good’ about the Bahati Bill. It is a recipe for blackmail, corruption and repression. Period. (Cooler heads in Kampala well understand this … which might explain why the Bill’s future remains uncertain, at least for now.)

    As someone who supports students in UG, hardly a week goes by when I’m not reminded of the difficulties faced by ordinary Ugandans who seek to better themselves and their society through education. I also help to support a young woman who was raped (by one of those wicked heterosexuals) and infected with HIV, and am painfully aware of the difficulties she faces on a daily basis. Nothing proposed by Bahati will help them; in fact, his Bill could make life more difficult if there is ‘disengagement’ by governments and charities as a result of the Bill. That would be tragic … but then some people seem to like tragedy. :-(


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