WAKISO – A team of joint security forces has, over the weekend, arrested at least 36 people who were attending the wedding ceremony of a fellow gay couple.
Witnesses intimated to this website that Police swung in action following a tip-off of the neighbours of the premises of the wedding in Nansana, a Wakiso suburb.
At about 4 O’clock, Police showed up in the location and were asking questions about the purported wedding and later stormed the premises with several fleeing for fear of arrest,” said a witness who declined to identify themselves.
Charles Twine, the police spokesperson for Criminal Investigations Directorate, confirmed the arrests over the weekend.
“Joint security team has arrested 36 men from Nansana all putting on like women, with hair wigs and makeup at a wedding party of a guy couple,” tweeted Twiine.
He added: “The arrested will be charged for doing a negligent act likely to spread an infectious disease, for they did not follow SOPS.”
Sources inside the security team reveal that the hunt is still on for those that evaded the arrest on a fateful day.
These arrests come barely a month since the Parliament of Uganda for the second time within seven years criminalised gay sex and this time imposed a 10-year jail term for convicts.
The new offence and penalties were contained in the report of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee presented to the House, and Members of Parliament scrutinising provisions of the Sexual Offences Bill, 2019, passed them on May 3.
The original version of the Bill sponsored by the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) only imported the Penal Code Act provision on “unnatural offences” and did not expressly criminalise or ban gay or lesbian sex.
However, the enacted Bill in Clause 11 criminalises and bans “penetration of another person’s anus with other person’s sexual organ or with any object and, (ii) sexual acts between persons of the same gender”.
Uganda first criminalised homosexuality and imposed a life imprisonment penalty for convicts in 2014 and President Museveni, while signing the anti-gay Act of Parliament into law, said Ugandan scientists had convinced him that homosexuality was an act of nurture, not nature.
During a debate on the Bill on the floor of the House in early May, the State Minister for Planning and Ndorwa West MP, Mr David Bahati, who championed the original Anti-Homosexuality Act, said he supported the new legislation because it protects the dignity of African societies and people.
“I support this Bill. This Bill will protect values of our society that we have lived for generations…to preserve the dignity of the African society and above all protect our children,” he said, adding: “The proportion of foreign concept should be halted and first educate people about them. They need to be looked at differently.”
MP Amoding, the mover of the Sexual Offences Bill, 2019, said the introduction of the criminalisation of gay sex was not their original idea and adopted in the “wisdom of the House (Parliament)”.
Section 11 of the Bill further proposes that unnatural offences will involve persons who performs a sexual act with another person contrary to the order of nature or engages in a sexual act with an animal and commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for ten years.
Isaac Lubulwa, an administrative assistant, told DW that the introduction of such laws, in his view, was long overdue. “Banning homosexuals should have happened in Uganda like a century ago. This is Africa. Therefore, homosexuality is immoral, it is not religious, and it is not natural. Men should marry women and women should be married to men,” Lubulwa said.
Same-sex intercourse is illegal in Uganda, and President Yoweri Museveni has campaigned against gays.
Although the government has typically held back from prosecuting people solely over their sexuality, many LGBT+ Ugandans, facing ostracism and threats, allegedly live in shelters funded by rights groups.