Uganda’s parliament on Tuesday gave final passage to an Anti-homosexuality Bill 2023, that punishes “aggravated homosexuality” with death.
Out of 539 MPs, 384 legislators were present as the debate started in a fully-charged house during the afternoon session. At the time of voting 334 MPs were physically present 55 on zoom making a Total 389 MPs participating.
Initially, the mover of the bill Hon Asuman Basalirwa ((Bugiri Municipality) proposed 10 year imprisonment for aggravated homosexuality but the committee which processed the bill recommended death punishment for offenders who engage in aggravated homosexuality.
In the bill, aggravated homosexuality is the extreme offense involving victims under 18 years, where offenders are people iving with HIV, the offender is a parent or a gurdian or someone with authority over the victim, or when the victim is a person with disability.
During a debate which lasted for about 8 hours, members agreed and recommended that clause 3 of the bill be ammended that the penalty for offenders convicted under aggravated homosexuality will be death.
The house agreed with the objective in the bill that Uganda needs a law that will protect traditional family values and cultures of Ugandans, which are currently threatened by external values including homosexuality.
Attempted aggravated homosexuality attracts 14 years prison sentence according to the law which was passed.
The offense of aggravated homosexuality extends to victims who are not mentally fit, of advanced age, or found to be under influence of either drugs or other substances.
However, according to the bill now an Act of parliament, anyone convicted for engaging in homosexuality faces a life sentence and anyone who attempts to commit homosexuality in Uganda can be sentenced to 10 years.
The victim though must provide medical evidence that the offense had been committed against them.
Promotion of homosexuality:
The law criminalizes promotion, aiding and conspiring to committing homosexuality with a 10 year prison sentence for recruitment of people into the act. It also slaps a seven-year prison sentence for individuals owning premies where homosexuality is committed.
Promotion of homosexuality as defined in the law includes funding for activities of homosexuality, publishing media content for the same purpose, or any other act that promotes the offense.
The bill as passed prescribes a prison sentence of three years for a child who is convicted for angaging in homosexuality.
A person who purports to contract a marriage, participates in a marriage of people or persons with same gender suffers on conviction a punishment of
The law however passed amid contestations over the necessity of the law with opponents of the bill saying the vice of homosexuality can be adequately cured using the existing laws.
A minority report signed by two committee members Hon. Fox Odoi and Hon. Kwizera Paul also highlighted issues of human rights for homosexuals and the discriminatory clauses in the bill.
“I congratulate the 11th parliament and everyone who participated in this nobel process. You have stood and have been counted” Speaker Rt. Hon Anita Among said after the vote.
The bill now goes to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who has the final decision on the legislation that has received immense support from the population but also resistance from within and outsude the country.
Museveni last week referred to gay people as “these deviants” but also said Homosexuals are deviations from normal, and there is need to discuss the matter about homosexuality “thoroughly”