How many times have I written a headline like that?
Reports are coming from Kampala that the bill has been postponed indefinitely. From Behind the Mask:
The Ugandan parliament’s debate on the issue of whether or not to re-introduce the internationally condemned Anti-Homosexuality Bill was on Wednesday September 7 postponed indefinitely.
According to sources in the House Business Committee, the Parliamentary body that was supposed to have met in Kampala on Wednesday the meeting had to be put off because the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga is out of the country.
Another report from African Activist declared:
Today Uganda’s Parliament Business Committee discussed topics to be brought before the Parliament in the next quarter. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 was not included. According to Frank Mugisha, Executive Director at Sexual Minorities Uganda, “information is that the bill can not be debated in a 2nd reading it has to be reintroduced and has to go through all the initial stages.”
There are two issues being discussed here. One relates to the current status of the bill – will it be on the Plenaries agenda? Another issue relates to the method necessary to get the bill to the Parliament for a vote.
Mugisha seems to be saying that David Bahati will have to ask permission of Parliament to re-introduce his bill. The competing theory is that his bill can be discussed by Parliament at the point where the bill was stalled in the last Parliamentary session.
I cannot confirm which of these scenarios is true at this time.
If Bahati must get permission again from Parliament to reintroduce the bill from scratch, then the earlier reports from MP Otto Odonga were either incorrect or the plan changed. Earlier, Odonga told me that Speaker Rebecca Kadaga planned to allow several bills to be considered without going through all new procedures.
If the reports of a postponement are accurate then the bill would remain with Parliament and could be brought back at any time. If the bill must be reintroduced then there can be no action until Bahati asks leave of Parliament to table it. At that point, the process would start again.
It seems clear that the bill has generated opponents and supporters within the Parliament which is playing out in a legislative battle.