The Ugandan Parliament has passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 just a day after passing another controversial piece of legislation, the Anti-Pornography Bill 2011. The bill proposes life imprisonment for offenders.
The bill was first tabled by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati in 2009 and it has since become a centre of controversy with human rights activists calling it unnecessary and the donor community threatening to halt their aid to Uganda if parliament passed the bill.
Just yesterday, the MPs passed the Anti-pornography Bill, 2011, a piece of legislation that seeks among others to ban wearing of miniskirts and further clarify the offence of pornography in Uganda’s laws.
UGANDA’S ANTI-GAY BILL
October 14 2009, MP David Bahati tabled before Uganda’s parliament the now controversial Anti-homosexuality bill.
Even though the act is already illegal in the country, Bahati insisted there was need to further strengthen the law to ensure protection of the institution of the family in the country that still embraces conservatism.
The bill drew criticism from the international community especially the west with some powers threatening to cut aid to Uganda if it went ahead to pass the bill into law.
It was not surprising considering that majority of people in the west have now embraced the act of homosexuality.
Critics of the bill were concerned about the provision that calls for the death penalty and life imprisonment for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ thus the phrase ‘kill the gays’ bill.
It was this pressure that forced parliament to shelve the bill.
The clause which included the death penalty for some offences has been dropped.
However, it was resurrected in 2012 with the Speaker of Parliament promising to ensure it’s passed to serve as a Christmas gift for Ugandans. This did not happen as debate on the bill was deferred.
However, the bill has now been passed further criminalizing the act. What waits to be seen is how he west will react to Parliament’s move.