News and Views
Uganda MPs warns President Museveni not to sign anti-gay bill
Two of the legislators who signed the minority report opposing the anti-homosexuality bill have vowed to challenge its passing in the Constitutional Court. They claim that the controversial bill was not only passed without quorum but also violates civil liberties guaranteed in the constitution. West Budama North MP Fox Odoi and his Kibanda counterpart Sam Otada who addressed journalists at the parliamentary buildings asked President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the bill into law.
On Friday last week, Parliament finally passed the controversial anti-homosexuality bill after a five-year wait. This was amidst protestation from Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi who said there was no quorum and there was also need for more consultation on the bill. West Budama North MP Fox Odoi and Kibanda’s Sam Owor Otada are two of the four MPs who signed the minority report opposing the bill. Others are Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu and his Oyam North counterpart Krispus Ayena Odong.
They are members of the legal and parliamentary affairs committee that considered the bill. The legislators say the bill not only violates the constitution but also International covenants like the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The bill that now awaits presidential assent to become law, provides that a person convicted of homosexual acts is liable to life in prison. It also makes it criminal not to report gay people and bans the promotion of homosexuality.
The MPs against the bill say they will challenge it the Constitutional Court since it was passed without quorum. They also argue homosexuality is not a legal but social problem that should be tackled by parents and not the state using the law. They are appealing to president Museveni not to assent to the bill.
The MPs accused colleagues in the 9th parliament of trying to usurp the President’s powers in matters of foreign policy. They are worried that Uganda will become a pariah state on the international scene, leading to cuts in donor aid and ultimately Uganda’s development. Journalists put the MPs on the spot with a barrage of questions and they lost their cool, leading to a near shouting match.