Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni has said he will first convene a meeting members of parliament to harmonize on the Anti-homosexuality Bill before he signs into law.
The Ugandan parliament on 22 March 2023 overwhelmingly passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023, introducing strict penalties for people found engaging in acts of homosexuality. The Bill now awaits assent by the president.
However, in a short message issued by State House the official residence of the president, Museveni may not be comfortable with some of the provisions in the legislation and hence requires harmonization before he signs the Bill into law.
“President @KagutaMuseveni has said that once he receives the Anti-Gay Bill, he will convene Ugandan Members of Parliament to harmonize on it & see how best to protect children. “Children are children, they need to grow as children, no one should invade their childhood,”” he said. Sate House Uganda reported on Thursday in a post on their official Twitter account.
While the message is not specific on which procedure president Museveni is going to use to convene a meeting with the legislators, Article 101(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda empowers the President (in consultation with the speaker) to cause a special sitting and address members of parliament on matters of national importance.
Homosexuality remains a very contentious issue in Uganda and the recent passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 is a second attempt by the country to enact a law strictly to stamp out acts of homosexuality, which legislators say threatens traditional family and cultural values.
The first attempt was in 2013 when parliament passed a similar law but the Constitutional court shot it down on technicalities including lack of quorum. This time, the issue of quorum will not arise after 389 MPs -way above the required quorum, participated in the session at its passing.
President Museveni has on several occasions, unequivocally stated his disgust against the Homosexuals and described them as “deviants” but pressure from leaders of the Western world has also intensified following parliament’s decision, with several of them threatening to withdraw donor funding to Uganda.
Museveni recently called on African nations to lead in rejecting the promotion of homosexuality, describing the vice as a big threat and danger to the procreation of human race.
However, it should be also recalled that on 16 March 2023 -a week before passing the Bill, President Museveni hinted on the need for wider consultations on the matter, promising to meet the NRM ruling party caucus over the same. This meeting was never given an opportunity as parliamentarians moved faster to pass the bill.
It is not clear if President Museveni intends to meet NRM party caucus members alone but it is apparent Museveni may take some more time before the Anti-Homosexuality Bill gets his endorsement.