Ugandan MP David Bahati plans to push the Anti-Homosexuality Bill but may still be thwarted

David Bahati

Several members of Uganda’s Parliament accused the Executive branch of thinking that donor funds matter more than “traditional values” and vowed to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill anyway. They were reacting to NRM party lawyer Adolf Mwesige’s statement that “donors and other sections of the public were not comfortable”

Members of Parliament yesterday accused Cabinet of bowing to pressure and described the Executive’s decision to block the gays Bill as “moral corruption”.

The lawmakers said it was immoral for government to think that donor funds matter more than traditional values and vowed to push for the Bill and ensure that it is passed even without the support of government. “Whether they want or not, we are going to pass it. For government to come up and throw out such a Bill means we are living in a crazy world,” said Mr Andrew Allen (Bugabula North).

Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, the architect of the Bill, says Cabinet cannot throw out his Bill because it is now the property of Parliament and insists that he is going to push for it.

The Anti-homosexuality Bill is a private members Bill and Shadow Attorney General, Abdu Katuntu (MP Bugweri) said Cabinet cannot throw out a Bill it didn’t bring. “The only option they have is to come and oppose it on the floor of the House,” he said.

The one tangible road block to MP Bahati’s Bill may be the Certificate of Financial Implications he needs to obtain to move forward.

Under Uganda’s Parliamentary Rules of Procedure, a Private Member of Parliament can table a bill. However Cabinet ordinarily discusses the bill and associates itself (cabinet) with such a bill. The legislator can then approach the Ministry of Finance to get a Certificate of Financial Implications, indicating how much it will cost government to set up institutions and frameworks for managing the bill if passed into law.

“That’s where Mr Bahati will have a technical challenge. The Ministry of Finance can refuse to give him this Certificate. That will mean he cannot reintroduce the bill,” Mr James Mukaga, a Clerk Assistant to the Parliament of Uganda said.

Stephen Tashobya, the chairperson of Uganda’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, has set 7 September 2011 as the proposed date for Parliament’s Business Committee to discuss topics to be brought before the Parliament in the next quarter.

Expat Ugandans organise to fight Ant-homosexuality bill

A group of expat-Ugandans living and working in the United States have launched a new lobbying group against the Anti-Homosexuality (aka ‘Kill gays’) bill (AHB) called OneFamilyOneVoice (1F1V).

The group, who mostly work for international organisations and, according to blogger and activist Rick Rosendall include Ugandan human rights activists and anti-Museveni ex-pats, say they met originally in a Washington DC coffee bar and discussed the dangers of the AHB. This includes the danger to heterosexuals who refused to oppose LGBT human rights. The bill has a clause which says that: “Anyone failing to report to the authorities a person they knew to be homosexual would also be prosecuted.”

They say: “This bill forces the entire Ugandan population – regardless of their sexual orientation – to be Gestapo agents snooping on their fellow citizens on behalf of the regime.” The group’s aims are to:

  • Expose secret strategies underway to pass the UAHB without the knowledge of the international community.
  • Work in partnership with other groups to not only kill but completely take the bill out of picture and to ensure that such a bill is never considered by any other African country.
  • Start a unified voice with a movement to educate and empower leaders to accept diversity and inclusion.

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