Uganda's Cabinet and Parliament At Odds Over Anti-gay Bill

Today, in the face of reports that Uganda’s Cabinet tossed out the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Parliament spokesperson, Helen Kawesa, said that the bill “is in the Parliament now. It’s Parliament’s property.” She added the Cabinet ministers will “have to argue it out in the Parliament” since the bill is controlled by Parliament and has not yet had a vote.

Kawesa added, “If the Cabinet has issues with it, they will be brought in to the floor of the House.”

Currently, budget meetings are on the agenda but a budget is slated to get a vote by next Wednesday. After that, other business, including the anti-gay bill could be considered. As of now, according to Kawesa, there is no official action scheduled for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill but she said the bill could come up at any time after the budget has been passed.

In 2010, a Cabinet committee chaired by Adolf Mwesige called for removal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and made recommendations to enforce existing law. Those recommendations were detailed in a report to Parliament. Many observers believed at the time that the bill had been shelved. However, the bill remained under the jurisdiction of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee. That committee then wrote a report recommending that the bill be passed. However, for reasons that remain unknown, the Parliament placed the bill on the daily agenda but then failed to act on the measure. Currently, the bill remains in the hands of Parliament and is one of several measures considered in the last session which is alive in this session.

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  • Richard Willmer

    This absolutely accords with all the various bits I’ve heard over the last few days.

  • Maazi NCO

    Today, in the face of reports that Uganda’s Cabinet tossed out the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Parliament spokesperson, Helen Kawesa, said that the bill ”is in the Parliament now. It’s Parliament’s property.”

    Tossed out the bill? I wasn’t aware that they had any bill to toss out. Warren, did they toss out your copy of the bill?

    This absolutely accords with all the various bits I’ve heard over the last few days.

    Wow? Ever the spy chief !! Perhaps we should get rid of UPDF General David Tinyefuza and appoint you the Coordinator of Intelligence services in Uganda. You seem to be good in this stuff eh?

    In 2010, a Cabinet committee chaired by Adolf Mwesige called for removal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and made recommendations to enforce existing law. Those recommendations were detailed in a report to Parliament. Many observers believed at the time that the bill had been shelved.

    I have been scratching my head too. I thought that Mwesigwe had shelved his copy of the bill in May 2010. It does look odd for him to “unshelve” his copy of the bill and “shelve” it again in August 2011. Ugandan politics is always a mystery. Even I cannot understand its workings….

  • Richard Willmer

    Thank you for the compliment, ‘Maazi NCO’! If I want a career-change, I’ll bear your idea in mind! (Mind you, I’m not sure that the rough-and-tumble of UG politics is preferable to the rough-and-tumble of the UK education system! :-) )

    To be honest, it’s really just a matter of looking for those telling ‘straws in the wind’. I’ve also got some politically-savvy UG friends who have helped with the ‘interpretation’ of the vast mounds of tea leaves (to change the metaphor).

    If you ever want a political adviser, call me! I sometimes think you could use one! (Only joking – well, in the first sentence anyway. :- D )

    On a more serious note: the fact that the UG Government feels the need to ‘toss out’ the Bill does indicate that there is considerable support for it in the Parliament. I said as much (privately) to Warren back in March, i.e. the last time the Government publically declared their opposition to the Bill. Others (e.g. the FCO) were pleased, but I saw it as a worrying sign … and then in May … And now? Well, the situation is ‘finely balanced’ and could tip either way.

  • Richard Willmer

    The decision to deny a UK Visa to Kasha Jacqueline has now been reversed, it has been reported: http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2011/08/22/36317


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