Early this week, president Museveni signed the anti-homosexuality bill into law to become the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023. Having been re-introduced by Asuman Basalirwa (an opposition) legislator representing Bugiri Municipality, there was a cloud of doubt if Museveni will ascend his signature to this bill being a private members bill.
First passed in December 2013, signed into law in February 2014 and quashed by court in August 2014 by the justice Steven Kavuma led constitutional court. The Steven Kavuma led bench of justices said the Anti-homosexuality act 2013 was null and void on grounds that parliament led by the then speaker Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga never met the required quorum.
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Parliament with full house passed the bill on 21st March but president Museveni returned it back to parliament for improvements as advised by Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuuzi which he lined up for the parliamentary legal committee. This was sorted and the bill was passed again with full house on 02nd May 2023 and the president signed it last week into law.
After signing it there was a concert of excitement locally and condemnation especially from the west who have since lashed at Museveni’s government for enacting such a law they say is very bad and infringes on the universal human rights, western donors have not only condemned the newly signed Anti-Homosexuality Act 2013 but also threatened to withdraw aid given to Uganda.
In his strong worded statement regarding the newly signed law, US president Joe Biden warned of severe consequences should Uganda not repeal or revisit what he calls an inhuman and harsh law that comes with death penalty, life imprisonment and hefty fines for those convicted.
Biden threatened that US and partners would pull out aid which they give to Uganda especially in the health sector, governance, security, agriculture, education among others. He also threatened to review trade with Uganda and also slap tough sanctions to those involved in corruption and abuse of human rights.
In reply to the threats, president Museveni outlined several ways how Uganda would survive incase the west cuts off aid which indeed is a lifeline to Uganda’s budget. According to president Museveni, if the aid is cut, his government will just have to revisit it’s expenditures and also push trade with other partners.
While speaking to the NRM parliamentary caucus currently taking place at Kyankwanzi, president Museveni shocked every one when he revealed that himself personally never through the entire bill and only signed it on the advise of attorney general Kiryowa Kiwanuka. He also revealed that the bill needs some amendments to match international standards.
The president has since urged MPs to take a further look at the bill he signed such it doesn’t have any mistake in there. Much as president Museveni says he supports the act including the provision of a death sentence for aggravated as set in section 3, Museveni told MPs that he doesn’t want Uganda to be caught on the wrong side by international observers.
Museveni further revealed that he received a phone call from World Bank who pointed out issues pertaining to discrimination which he thinks need to be fixed. He says the World bank official complained of the provision that would require employers to make sure that they’re no homosexuals in their companies.
“I didn’t read the whole bill but if that provision is there, then we shall have to look at it because you are really wasting people’s time, trying to find out how many homosexuals are in their company”-said Museveni
President Tibuhaburwa further said that the world bank official on the call also pointed out the burden being placed landlords of brothels and other facilities being used for homosexual acts. The long time Ugandan leader however boldly told the world bank woman that he is in support of all the other provisions including death penalty which has caused international outrage.
“I told her what i am telling you now, that if you are disoriented and you try to recruit other people into your disorientation, we shall come after you. If you violently grab some children and you rape them, we will kill you. That one i totally support”- he said.
The president has been changing tune and stance regarding the act he signed, at some point he says if some one is a homosexual and he’s enjoying his bum-shafting and lesbianism, there’s no problem. The problem would come in instances of recruiting children and raping.
“If you violently grab some children & you rape them & so on & so forth, we kill you. And that one I totally support, & I’ll support. If you’re suspected of being a homosexual, it’s not an offense in itself. You’re a person to be helped on the issue of homosexuality”-said Museveni.
A group of activists have since run to the constitutional court in a bid to block implementation of the new law and also strike it down.
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