Uganda is set to put to a legislative vote during this year’s parliamentary session, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which punishes gays with capital punishment.
The ‘Order Paper’ for parliamentary business 2013 was published yesterday (5 January) and listed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (known as AHB or ‘Kill the Gays’), 2009.
Its currently listed as the eighth item of ‘business to follow’ once the rest of the agenda is listed.
The law will broaden the criminalization of same-sex relationships by dividing homosexuality into two categories; aggravated homosexuality and the offense of homosexuality.
Under the only version of the bill currently in the public domain, it gives the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’.
That is defined as gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, pedophiles and repeat offenders.
The ‘offense of homosexuality’ includes same-sex sexual acts or being in a gay relationship, and will be prosecuted by life imprisonment.
The bill also includes harsh penalties against people who fail to report LGBT people to Ugandan authorities.
In November 2012, the speaker of the parliament of Uganda promised to enact the bill, which was originally put to the government in 2009.
The bill remained on the parliament’s Order Paper of 2012 and was widely expected to go before parliament before Christmas but was delayed.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill had been temporarily shelved because of international criticism.
Several European countries have threatened to cut aid to Uganda if it passes, with the UK government warning Uganda it would face severe reductions in financial help.
US President Barack Obama has described it as ‘odious’, and Canadian politician John Baird has said it is ‘vile, abhorrent, and offends decency’.
Speaking with GSN, Geoffrey Ogwaro, co-cordinator of Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Rights (CSCHRCL) expressed grave concern about its re-introduction.
He said: ‘The AHB is rearing its face again, since parliament opened from its recess on 4 February, the bill has been scheduled on the list of business to follow at number eight.
‘We as the CSCHRCL are opposed to this bill and we are surprised that even as parliamentarians are continuously being cautioned as to the economic, health, social, political and international relations ramifications if the bill is passed into law, they still insist on going ahead with it.
‘Our only hope is that if the bill gets to the floor for debate, that the debate will be informed and considering of the different dimensions on the issue. And that those MPs who are more critical in their approach will find the courage to air their views.’