Court To Rule On Anti-gay Petition Today

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe in February.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe in February.

Uganda’s Constitutional Court will on Friday rule on whether Parliament had the requisite quorum to pass the anti-homosexuality bill into law.

The announcement was made by the acting Chief Justice Steven Kavuma on Thursday morning after hearing both the Petitioners and the Attorney General present their case before the court.

The petitioners represented by lawyers Caleb Alaka, Nicholas Opiyo and Laudislaus Rwakafuzi argued that parliament passed the act without having the requisite two-thirds majority of legislators and this violated provisions of the constitution.

The Attorney General’s office started and finished its defence today. Represented by Patricia Mutesi, the they argued that the petitioners had not proved to the court sufficiently that Parliament had no quorum to pass the bill into an act.

Mutesi says the official record for attendance was not presented to the court and also the Hansard, which the petitioners rely on, is a record of what was said in parliament and not the presence or absence of quorum.

Nicholas Opiyo, the petitioner’s lawyer said he is hopeful the judgement will go their way because the case impacts on many people in the country.

If tomorrow’s judgement goes in favour of the gay rights defenders, the law will be entirely struck down; however, if it goes in favour of the Attorney General, the court will open up to legal arguments on the issue of homosexuality.

The law first tabled in Parliament in 2009, was passed on December 20 last year amidst controversy over its necessity and the fact that it was passed without quorum. President Yoweri Museveni assented to it in February this year.

The bill originally proposed the death penalty for a category of offences called “aggravated homosexuality,” defined to include repeated sex among consenting adults as well as sex acts involving minors or a partner infected with HIV. But this clause was removed amidst international pressure. The Act sets life imprisonment as the maximum penalty and imposes a 14-year jail sentence for first-time homosexual offenders.

4 thoughts on “Court To Rule On Anti-gay Petition Today

  1. What are some Ugandans up to? Homosexuality should be abolished completely. Why bother with foreign donors’ threats. Let’s collect our taxes and move on.

  2. Next week African leaders are gathering in America. The rulings of the court will tend to give M7 a face-saving position, as he will be facing a lot of questions on this issue out there.

  3. Thought this law was a Christmas Gift to Ugandans from Kadaga.Assuming this gift was a cake, Ugandans have already eaten it and cannot vomit it out for any reason. Nobody should sleep hoping that Court is going to agree with the petitioners, theirs is an after thought, they should have sought a Court order barring the President from assenting to it. Its too late. Its only Parliament that can repeal an existing law. Court only pronounces its self and leave the other arm of Government (Legislature) to recall or repeal it. I was however taken aback by the arguments of Patricia Mutesi that the petitioners should have presented the register to show who attended that day. She quickly forgets that many of our MPs especially the front benchers sign in and go out, they do this to get allowances and to avoid being blacklisted for none attendance. ALL IN ALL, THE APPLICATION WILL FAIL AND COURT WILL ORDER THE CASE TO PROCEED ON ITS MERITS.

  4. Was this bill half baked or half cooked? This issue will run forever and Uganda is painted as primitive and abusive to human right. I rather parliament discuss how a lay person like me will access affordable commodities like sugar,salt,clean water and sanitation. We need to get priorities without being diverted by issues makes us look as we don’t care. Nearly 46 African countries oppose Homosexual what is the fuss about Uganda. In UK UKIP have strong views about this topic but they swept the votes in European elections.

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