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Uganda’s anti-gay bill is back from the dead

David Bahati, the author of the draconian anti-gay bill struck down by Uganda’s Constitutional Court in August, gave notice yesterday that he will reintroduce the bill during this sitting of parliament
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in 2012
Photo by UK Department for International Development

Like a killer in a horror movie, Uganda’s controversial Anti-Homosexuality Law that would have seen people jailed for life for ‘aggravated’ homosexuality and repeat offenses is back from the dead after its author, National Resistance Movement MP David Bahati, gave notification to his parliament’s deputy speaker of his intention to bring the bill back again.

The Constitutional Court struck down the law in August, finding there had not been enough MPs present in the Parliament when the bill was passed for a legal quorum but did rule on the question of whether it violated LGBTI Ugandan’s human rights.

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah told the Parliament that once the bill was introduced it would be handled ‘appropriately,’ according to KFM 93.3.

He made the comments while opening the Ugandan Parliament’s plenary session yesterday afternoon.

Oulanya also said the House of Representatives would sit all day today in order to expedite the fast tracking of parliamentary business.

However according to the Daily Monitor newspaper the bill’s backers failed in a bid to have the Anti-Homosexuality Bill placed as the first order of business for the Parliament.

The Ugandan Parliament must first focus on passing its Budget before it can consider the Anti-Homosexuality Bill again.

'We are now focusing on the Budget process and the Bill was already here and we passed it into law,' Oulanya told the Daily Monitor.

'If it had still been within Parliament, it would still be property of Parliament and we would have done whatever necessary to correct the anomalies.'

Once the bill is tabled it is supposed to go to a committee where revisions are considered and then brought back to the parliament for debate before being given a third reading, after which MPs will vote on whether to make the bill law.

Chillingly, Oulanya says that the reintroduction of the bill has the support of 254 out of a total of 376 MPs entitled to vote.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been the cause of a growing rift among lawmakers from the ruling National Resistance Movement of President Yoweri Museveni.

Museveni has been in power for over 28 years and has urged a studied and go-slow approach on how to deal with the issue of supposed recruitment of people into homosexuality in Uganda, but his party will decide whether he continues as its presidential candidate ahead of general elections in 2016.

Bahati and parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga lead a group within the National Resistance Movement that seem to be jostling for greater power as the party considers Museveni’s future and want the bill passed again quickly by suspending normal parliamentary procedures that would wait 45 days before another vote on the bill could be held.

Uganda already punishes consensual homosexual acts with up to 14 years in jail.

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