No action on Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality bill expected this week

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In contrast to reports attributed to the BBC (at 14:20) that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will soon be taken up by Uganda’s new Parliament, a parliamentary spokeswoman denied today that any action has been considered. When asked about the BBC report that the Ninth Parliament had inherited three bills, including the anti-gay bill, parliamentary spokewoman, Helen Kawesa said, “I don’t know where that news is coming from. No one has said anything here about it.”

Kawesa said the Ninth Parliament was just getting started, and elected Rebbecca Kadaga to the post of Speaker, the first woman to hold that position in Uganda’s history. Kawesa said that bills will not be considered during this initial period when committees are being formed and chairs of those committes are appointed. She also confirmed that no motion to re-introduce or continue bills had been made.

Former chair of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, Stephen Tashobya agreed saying, “We need to get a Cabinet in place, and get committees together.” He said the leadership of the ruling party, the NRM, will appoint committee chairs and organize committees from scratch. Tashobya said he was not sure if he would return as the chair of the committee that recommended passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the Eighth Parliament. Tashobya said he was unaware of the BBC report and said no action was anticipated on any bills for at least “a week or ten days.”

While I cannot confirm the BBC report, it is certainly possible that the reporter, Joshua Male, spoke with MPs who want to enact the unfinished bills and hope they are reintroduced. At this point, however, formal action is not on the agenda.

Although nothing appears imminent, the situation is not predictable. In the waning hours of the former Parliament, David Bahati speculated that the new Speaker might cause certain bills to be carried over. The new Speaker does have some incentive to carry over the Marriage and Divorce Bill and might also include the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, perhaps in exchange for support on getting the Marriage and Divorce bill passed.

UPDATE: The Public Order Management Bill is the first bill that President Museveni’s administration wants the Ninth Parliament to consider. Note in this Monitor report that the government supporter does not expect passage until July or August.

The former State minister for Internal Affairs, Mr Matia Kasaija, confirmed yesterday in an interview that he is working to make sure the Bill is passed.

“Be assured I want it off my desk as soon as the 9th Parliament settles to work. I would have wanted it passed by July or latest before the end of August,” Mr Kasaija said.

This bill will most likely be a priority as the NRM supported Speaker begins developing a legislative agenda.

UPDATE: This Daily Monitor article reports that a handful of bills, including the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will be reintroduced in Parliament during this new session.

First-term MPs will, however, face challenges in dealing with the unfinished 2011/12 budget scrutiny and other key Bills in the House. Some of the Bills expected to be returned to the House include; The Retirement Benefits Sector Liberalisation, Bill 2011, Anti-Gay Bill, Marriage and Divorce Bill, HIV/Aids Prevention and Control Bill, Regional Governments Bill, among others.

What is not clear to me is how this reporter means, “returned.” I fully expect the bills to be reintroduced, perhaps in amended form. This unconfirmed report suggests that there are political motives for the reintroduction. However, the procedural question is whether or not private members such as Bahati will need to go through the process of getting permission first before he tables the bill. If the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 is simply returned to the newly organized Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, and the movement of the bill resumed where it left off, then action on the bill could take much less time than if the procedure was to start from scratch.

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  • ken

    Have you tried to contact Joshua Male as well?

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    ken- Yes. Will update if I get new information.

  • Pingback: Box Turtle Bulletin » Uganda Parliament Spokesperson: Anti-Gay Bill Has Not Been Revived

  • Richard Willmer

    Well, I was a little surprised when I saw the report this morning (UK time). I suspect that, after all the cloak-and-dagger antics over the last three weeks, people are somewhat ‘jittery’.

  • Maazi NCO

    My understanding is that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as written in October 2009 is dead and buried. Like I have often alluded to in the past, there are different scenarios which have been envisaged for the passage into law of any constitutionally-compliant bill that meets the popular demands of the Ugandan people with regards to the subject matter at hand. I think each group of stakeholders are working on their own plans, each group with their own parallel road map to success. There is confidence that before this parliament winds down in 2016, there would be a legal framework in place to prosecute people who wish to import grotesque foreign “sub-cultures” into Uganda.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ ‘Maazi’

    You say: “My understanding is that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as written in October 2009 is dead and buried.”

    I take a more cautious view, simply because once the ‘hate genie’ is out of the bottle, it is very hard to put it back. And given the current febrile political atmosphere in UG at present, you could well end up with a bill that you personally do not support (i.e. the Bahati Bill with minimal amendments).

    Do you rent property? If so, and if the Bahati Bill were passed with the amendments suggested by the LPAC, you could be in serious trouble (see Clause 13) if it were discovered that a tenant of yours was gay. Given that there are probably quite a lot people ‘in the closet’ in UG, such a situation could be a distinct possibility.

  • Maazi NCO

    I take a more cautious view, simply because once the ‘hate genie’ is out of the bottle, it is very hard to put it back. And given the current febrile political atmosphere in UG at present, you could well end up with a bill that you personally do not support (i.e. the Bahati Bill with minimal amendments).

    Whose fault is it that Ugandans are very angry? MPs have had their official email accounts spammed with unsolicited rubbish. Yes, there is always a danger that one of the parallel scenarios in play may succeed in birthing a bill which may be “undesirable” and “fall short of certain standards”. But we have our law courts which have powers to strike down laws that do not comply with our constitution. I would imagine that stakeholders are not naive enough to think that the gay sex practitioners will shy away from going to court to challenge any anti-sodomy law as soon as it hits the gazette. Any anti-sodomy law passed by parliament has to be designed in a way that will prevent a judge from striking it down.

  • Richard Willmer

    Whose fault … ?

    It’s Bahati‘s fault. He started all this. He did not have to propose what is effectively legalised genocide; I submit that he did so because he thought it would advance his career. UG friends of mine (including some within the NRM) share this view.

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi’

    Two questions for you:-

    1. Do you understand my point about Clause 13 and renting property?

    2. Have you decided not to cite instances of alleged lying on my part? Or are you still hunting for such instances?

  • Maazi NCO

    He did not have to propose what is effectively legalised genocide;

    I don’t think western outrage was primarily about the harshness of the bill. It was about the idea of prohibiting gayism at a time when same-sex marriage is in vogue back in their societies.

    Lets face it; even if Bahati had proposed a tame bill akin to the one that Republic of Lithuania—where gay sex is legal— proposed to keep gayism from venturing outside the confines of the bedroom, there still would have been loud howls of disapproval from the usual suspects outside Africa. The Burundians faced similar western outrage over their extremely tame bill which merely proposes prison sentences or the option of paying a fine for the crime of buggery.

  • Richard Willmer

    “I don’t think western outrage was primarily about the harshness of the bill.”

    Don’t agree at all, ‘Maazi’, your ‘Burundian argument’ notwithstanding. When the Bahati Bill first surfaced, the shock was palpable and almost universal. Uganda and Ugandans were, quite unfairly in my view – since the problem was Bahati and his cronies, and not Ugandans in general, spoken of in the most unflattering terms by many members of the general public. This did not happen with Burundi, whose anti-gay laws are (as you rightly point out) ‘tame’ by comparison with Bahati’s proposed programme of slaughter.

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi’

    Just to go back to Clause 13, and the matter of renting a room or property to someone …

    As the Bill stands (even with the proposed amendments), someone convicted more than once for the ‘offence’ of renting a room to a gay person could be found guilty of ‘aggravated homosexuality’ and thus be liable to the same penalty as someone found guilty of ‘aggravated defilement’. And we all know what that penalty could be, don’t we?

    There is a very long way to go before some proposed legislation that you claim to favour might be reached.

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi’

    One more (very important) point: if UG followed the Lithuanian approach, I suspect that most (knowledgeable) people would regard this as a very considerable improvement on the status quo, even if their support for such an approach was not entirely unqualified.

    If this were to happen, I, for one, would cease my campaigning activities with immediate effect. After all, whether UG provides for things like civil partnerships is, IMHO, an internal matter for the Republic of Uganda. But creating ‘Bahati-style’ human rights catastrophes is always an international matter, because it is usually other countries that have to pick up the pieces!

    FYI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Lithuania

  • Richard Willmer

    Just for the record: personally, I am entirely in favour of same-sex civil unions, but regard such provision as a matter of ‘civil law’, and not of fundamental human rights, such as life; freedom from persecution on grounds of …; privacy; personal honour; and so on.

    Do you understand where I’m coming from, ‘Maazi’?

  • Maazi NCO

    If this were to happen, I, for one, would cease my campaigning activities with immediate effect.

    I only gave the Lithuanian approach as an example. No way would we go for the hypocritical attitude of the Lithuanians. It doesn’t make sense to allow people to practise gay sex, but deny them the option of consummating it within the frame work of the misnomer “same-sex marriage”. There is little point passing laws to protect gay sex practitioners from being ridiculed by the Lithuanian public while simultaneously seeking to pass another set of laws saying that the gays should not promote their behaviour outside the bed room.

    In Uganda, we are consistent. Gayism is illegal, Gayism cannot be consummated in the frame work of a marriage. No promotion of gay sex.

  • Maazi NCO

    Just for the record: personally, I am entirely in favour of same-sex civil unions, but regard such provision as a matter of ‘civil law’, and not of fundamental human rights, such as life; freedom from persecution on grounds of …; privacy; personal honour; and so on.

    This will never happen in Uganda. Not in my life time or that of my grand kids !

    Do you understand where I’m coming from, ‘Maazi’?

    Yes—you are coming from the Euro-American perspective…..

  • Richard Willmer

    You had to back-track, didn’t you, ‘Maazi’? Just in case that loony ‘WUg’ is still watching!

  • Richard Willmer

    As for this alleged ‘Lithuanian’ hypocrisy: ‘phooey’!

    There is no reason why a country that does not sanction ‘same-sex marriage’ should not have anti-hate laws. All it is saying is this: ‘we do’t approve of hatred against people because they are gay, but neither do we approve of ‘gay marriages’. OK, so that’s not my own view, but – in my opinion – what Lithuania does is an internal matter for Lithuania provided she does not breach fundamental human rights.

    If Lithuania wishes to join the EU, she will need to abide by the terms of the European Union Treaty, and provide for same-sex civil unions in her civil law. But that is another issue. I would of course be pleased if she chose to do so, as well she might.

  • Richard Willmer

    Actually, both Lithuania and Latvia are in the EU. Estonia is working on draft laws to provide for civil unions.

    The Treaty of Amsterdam, 1997 deals with the issues of the age of consent and hate crimes, but not same-sex civil unions.

  • Maazi NCO

    Actually, both Lithuania and Latvia are in the EU. Estonia is working on draft laws to provide for civil unions.

    I am sooooooo glad that Uganda is not a member of the European Union.

    You had to back-track, didn’t you, ‘Maazi’? ….

    I have never back-tracked on anything. Gayism is unacceptable to (most) Africans in general and (most) Ugandans in particular. For that reason, the Ugandan State has responsibility to update our laws to combat militant gay sex advocacy.

  • Mugie

    Maazi, i love the way you respond to these gay lobbyists…The last time i visited this site they were very many, it seems they have learned something from you. Thank you for speaking out for your country.

  • Richard Willmer

    Your problem, ‘Maazi’, is that you could end up with a whole lot of other stuff besides the bits you want.

    You and ‘WUg’ are miles apart. You have in the past said the Bahati Bill is extreme and badly drafted, as well as saying that you think that gay people who ‘do their thing’ in private will be left alone; ‘WUg’ apparently thinks it’s all wonderful. Problem. Your problem.

  • anteros

    Maazi said, “This will never happen in Uganda. Not in my life time or that of my grand kids !”

    …and so the countdown to Maazi’s upcoming back pedal begins

    :)

    there was a colonial leader who once said, “never in a thousand years”… face it dude, you can blow against the wind all you want but you can’t stop the winds of change.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Mugie

    Do you agree with ‘Maazi’ that gay people who do their stuff in private will be ‘left alone’? Is that also your view, even if the Bahati Bill passes?

    Do you agree with the idea that (in the great new Bahatiland), were it to become known that a person to whom you have rented a room is gay, you could be imprisoned for up to seven years? (‘Maazi’ has ignored my invitation to deal with this point.)

    Do you think that gay people should be imprisoned or hanged for private activities for which heterosexuals are not punished? (‘Maazi’ has not been prepared to give a direct answer to this question; he usually starts talking about Saudi Arabia or Brazil or … , for some reason.)

  • Maazi NCO

    there was a colonial leader who once said, “never in a thousand years”… face it dude, you can blow against the wind all you want but you can’t stop the winds of change.

    You seem so deluded that you cannot tell the difference between my own statement based on the overwhelming feelings of the African people on the subject of deviant sex and Ian Smith’s unrealistic statements given that—-(a) Black Africans outnumbered the White Rhodesians by a ratio of 22 to 1. (b) His unrecognized colonist-settler republic was surrounded by hostile african nations. ( c ) He was fighting for the survival of his republic in the face of heavy firepower from two independent well-equipped guerilla armies.

  • Maazi NCO

    you can blow against the wind all you want but you can’t stop the winds of change.

    Wind of gay change is sweeping Africaaaah ! Wow, why not go unto the streets of Kampala and celebrate this sweeping wind of change with Gay Pride March?

    (I just had to make that comment above :D)

  • Richard Willmer

    Attitudes are changing in UG, ‘Maazi’. Bahati’s antics have at least increased sympathy for gay Ugandans, both in UG itself and beyond*. They have also raised some interesting jurisprudential issues, that MPs (who are perhaps the ‘obedient hacks’ they once were) may be considering.

    * also awareness, of course

  • Richard Willmer

    “UG MPs are perhaps not the ‘obedient hacks’ they once were” is what is meant to say.

  • Richard Willmer
  • Maazi NCO

    Article from today’s Monitor: http://www.monitor.co.ug/LifeStyle/Relationships/-/691230/1165790/-/dqgdfm/-/index.html

    Richard,

    These stories planted by agents of the gay movement will not sway most people in Uganda. Yes, we are aware that foreign gay lobby groups encourage their local agents to post sympathetic stories in newspapers. Please allow me to use this forum to tell you that such stories are meaningless and will not change anybody’s mind here in Uganda

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi’

    You are paranoid, my dear! (And did I say anything about ‘changing minds’ – I simply the article for information.)

    Anyway, I’m still interested to hear your ‘take’ on Clause 13 of the Bahati Bill. You’ve not responded to my question up till now.

  • Maazi NCO

    Attitudes are changing in UG, ‘Maazi’. Bahati’s antics have at least increased sympathy for gay Ugandans, both in UG itself and beyond*. They have also raised some interesting jurisprudential issues, that MPs (who are perhaps the ‘obedient hacks’ they once were) may be considering.

    You are even more deluded than I thought !

    “UG MPs are perhaps not the ‘obedient hacks’ they once were” is what is meant to say.

    “Obedient hacks?” From where I am standing, it was the MPs across party lines from NRM to FDC to UPC to the Independents who were gagging to vote unanimously in favour of that bill and it was the executive branch which was trying to restrain our parliament. Even this afternoon, I was chatting to a group of MPs—across party lines—- about progress on XXXXXXX

  • Richard Willmer

    Well, I suppose if you want to mess up your country with laws that will have all kinds of ‘unintended consequences’ (as well as brutal intended ones), that’s up to you in the end. But don’t expect us help you ‘clear up the mess’ afterwards.

    Anyway, I thought you were opposed to the Bahati Bill. After all, you’ve said that people who ‘do their stuff in private’ will be ‘left alone’. The Bahati Bill says something rather different …

  • Maazi NCO

    You are paranoid, my dear! (And did I say anything about ‘changing minds’ – I simply the article for information.)

    Nope ! I am level-headed. Never paranoid. The euro-american gay lobbyists are experts in propaganda. In the USA, they piggy-back on the civil rights movement with those silly slogans—–” Gay Rights is Civil Rights”.

    Here in Uganda, they try to use the deep-seated christianity to their advantage, quoting bible—”Do not judge” or “Love thy neighbour” or “Let God deal solely with moral matters”. When they are not trying to use Xtianity, they piggy-back on the HIV/AIDs pandemic sweeping parts of Africa, claiming that the deadly disease will nearly disappear from our continent if only we will allow them to have care-free gay sex openly and pay for their medicare with our meagre resources.

    After all is said and done, gayism remains illegal here and what we are trying to do is consolidate the anti-sodomy laws properly for the sake of posterity. We don’t want 30 years down the line to argue with some mad people over the definition of marriage or whether gender is binary “male and female” matter or whether gender is pan-sexual rainbow comprising males, females, she-males (i.e. male-to-female transsexuals) and he-males (i.e. female-to-male transsexuals)

  • Richard Willmer

    Anyway, shall we together take a look at Clause 13 now (which I suspect is a bit of Bahati’s ‘masterpiece’ that you like), and what it might mean for landlords, etc.?

  • Richard Willmer

    (To be honest, ‘Maazi’, I did know about the Executive ‘taking measures’ to stop hot-headed MPs from doing something stupid; that’s why it was ‘arranged’ for the Cabinet to ‘vacate their seats’ early last week, wasn’t it? It was pretty obvious really. Thanks for confirming that, by the way.)

    Anyway, Clause 13 … let’s analyse it together.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Mugie

    The reason why some people have stopped engaging with ‘Maazi NCO’ is because they think he is an internet ‘troll’. I know differently, so I continue to discuss things with him. He’s actually quite useful in his way.

    @ ‘Maazi’

    What’s all this ‘XXXXXXX’? Not another Ssempa-style porn show, I hope!

    Clause 13? What say you about that? Shall we focus on that for a while?

  • Richard Willmer

    I suspect that any ‘new approach’ (IF the current Bill is indeed going to be dumped) will be built around Clause 13 of the Bahati Bill.

    Here is the text of that clause:-

    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.

    The human rights implications of this clause are enormous. The example I’ve already given is the landlord who rents to someone who is subsequently ‘exposed’ as gay. When ‘Maazi NCO’ chips in again, we can start to unpack these further.

  • Maazi NCO

    I suspect that any ‘new approach’ (IF the current Bill is indeed going to be dumped) will be built around Clause 13 of the Bahati Bill.

    It is a free world. You are free to stay in your armchair in London and fantasize about the Bahati Bill either in original or amended form. That is indeed your right. I have nothing to say about any of the provisions in that bill. If you are so desperate to know more about certain provisions of the bill then contact David Bahati who is its originator. I have no intentions of discussing or debating new projects with you.


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