NRM Caucus Sets Up Committee To Harmonize Anti-Homosexuality Law

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) Caucus has set up a special committee to harmonize inconsistencies in the Anti-Homosexuality act before having it re-tabled in Parliament.  The move is to pre-empt any arguments against the law once it passed yet again.

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Government Chief Whip Justine Kasule Lumumba says the caucus meeting in Entebbe resolved that the Attorney General does not appeal the recent constitutional court ruling that annulled the law. Instead the proposed committee chaired by Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi scrutinizes the law away from the would-be lengthy court process.

The Attorney General had earlier filed a notice starting the appeal process aimed at overturning the unanimous verdict of the Constitutional Court that recently annulled the Anti-homosexuality law on the basis of lack of quorum at its passing in December 2013.

But with the latest Entebbe resolution, the appeal process will be halted.

Although the court ruling was mainly on procedural grounds and remained silent on the question of whether LGBT rights are protected by fundamental/constitutional rights, the NRM process would seek to address some of the issues that were raised in the petition but were not tacked.

The committee will review the contentious issues mentioned in the petition in line with the Act that was quashed and harmonize it with related laws. It is expected to report back to the NRM Caucus within one month.

The Nine Member Committee comprises of Vice President Kiwanuka Ssekandi as the head, MPs David Bahati, Chris Baryomunsi, Aidah Nantaba, Ruth Nankabirwa, Jim Muhwezi, Fred Ruhindi, Stephen Tashobya and Adolf Mwesige.

In the same meeting, President Museveni reportedly informed NRM MPs that the homosexuals were threatening to mobilize so that people in the United States do not buy products or raw materials from Uganda.

According to Lumumba, the president observed that since the Law had been technically knocked out by court, Parliament should push for a better law that will protect the family and children but not compromise Uganda’s sovereignty although he says it is equally important to keep the Country in good relationship with its partners.

In March 2014, a group of Human Rights activists including Prof Joloka Onyango, MP Fox Odoi Oywelowo, Andrew Mwenda, Prof Morris Ogenga Latigo, Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum and others petitioned the Constitutional Court saying that the Anti-Homosexuality law was in contravention of fundamental human rights.

In their petition, the petitioners noted that the Law was had been passed without quorum in contravention of Articles 2 (1) and (2), 88 and 94 (1) of the Constitution of Uganda and Rule 23 of the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure.

The petitioners noted that the Act in defining and criminalizing consensual same sex/gender sexual activity among adults in private are in contravention of the right to equality before the law without any discrimination and the right to privacy provided in the Constitution.

They noted that Section 2 of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014, in imposing a maximum life sentence for homosexuality disproportionate punishment for the offence in contravention of the freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment guaranteed under the Constitution.

They also noted that sections 7 and 13 (1) and (2) of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 in criminalizing aiding, abetting, counseling, procuring and promotion of homosexuality, create offences that are overly broad, penalize legitimate debate, professional counsel, HIV related service provision and access to health services in contravention on the principle of legality, the freedoms of expression, thought, assembly and association, and the right to civic participation provid

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