Changing Attitude received a text message from Uganda at 18.52 on Thursday evening reporting that the Ugandan Parliament had rejected the Bahati Bill saying the current law had enough provisions criminalizing homosexual acts.
Reports online today indicate that the report is true. Behind the Mask reports that the bill appears to be dead, as does a report on Box Turtle Bulletin by Jim Burroway, saying that the news program NTV Tonight reported that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will not be passed by Parliament after all. Uganda’s Information Minister Kabakumba Matsiko was reportedly shown on television explaining that the bill will not be passed because other laws already exist which criminalize homosexuality. However, some parts of the bill may be attached to the Sexual Offenses Act. Which parts, we don’t know. The source said that “Bahati was panicked and tried to look defiant.”
Further confirmation comes from the Spanish site adn.es which reports the following (in a Google translation):
The Government of Uganda today dismissed a bill that sought to toughen penalties against homosexual population. The Ugandan Minister of Information, Kabakumba Masika, said to reporters that a subcommittee of the Government concluded in a report that there was no reason to take another practice Act and punishable by the laws of Uganda.
“The report we got yesterday pointed out that there were parts of the bill are already covered by other standards,” said Masika. The initiator of the proposal, David Bahati, MP for the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), insisted that the text should move to a parliamentary committee to decide their future. “I think that the government is aware that 95 percent of Ugandans do not condone homosexuality,” said Bahati.
The failure to progress the bill marks a significant failure for those forces in Africa which are attempting to legislate against homosexuality, fuelling prejudice and homophobia in the process, often initiated by and supported by Christian leaders, including Anglicans in Nigeria.
Bishop John Akao, chair of the Church of Nigeria Theological Resource group, writing in today’s Church Times, describes homosexuality as deviant behavior which appears to have overwhelmed the church, implying that it is an evil cultural and behavioral practice. He concludes that we in Africa have decided that it is either the Bible or nothing else.