Uganda’s anti-gay law could be returning as soon as next week.
A group of lawmakers have announced they will call for a motion, to reinstate the law, be passed in parliament on Tuesday (12 August).
The 165 members of parliament who have signed the petition are hoping a swift vote will undo a ruling last week by Uganda’s Constitutional Court that invalidated the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
The law punished homosexuality and the promotion of homosexuality with life in jail.
Lawmaker Latif Ssebaggala said: ‘We want to ensure everybody that we have not backtracked. We are still on course and in fact we are more energized that our culture, our norms, our religious norms are protected.’
The MPs believe they have a waiver that could allow the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to reduce the number of days it takes to pass laws. Normally it would take at least 45, they want it done in three.
They claim it is in their right to demand that laws be passed without following proper procedure, and that the Anti-Homosexuality Act should be reinstated immediately.
But there are several hoops these lawmakers are going to have jump through before it can officially return.
It must be signed once again by President Yoweri Museveni, who may choose to delay the bill by forcing it to face the financial committee.
Other lawmakers may wish to amend the bill, forcing another delay. Nabila Naggayi has said she wishes to ban all anal sex – even between straight married couples – as she believes it is against Ugandan culture.
The Speaker may also refuse to allow the motion to pass. In their ruling, the Constitutional Court had said Kadaga had acted ‘illegally’ by allowing the anti-gay law to pass without quorum.
But gay rights activists have warned that parliament, under pressure from religious influences and public, could do anything to ensure the law gets reinstated as soon as possible.
Edwin Sesange, Ugandan gay rights advocate, told Gay Star News: ‘I call on the LGBT community in Uganda and human rights defenders all over the world and to be prepared for the worst because it looks like people are so determined to promote their hatred.
‘We have to be prepared as much as we can.’