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    Parliament approves tough penalties for homosexual acts

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    Parliament approves tough penalties for homosexual acts

    Parliament was full to capacity on Tuesday as legislators unanimously voted and passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023 that criminalizes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer– LGBTQ activities. 

    358 out of the 529 legislators participated passed the bill after a protracted debate that lasted up to seven hours.

    The Bill prohibits and penalizes homosexuality and its related practices, the promotion of homosexuality, and protects and provides assistance and payment of compensation to victims of homosexuality.

    Once assented into law, the bill poses a penalty of up to shs 1 billion for any cooperate entity found guilty of promoting homosexuality.

    The Bill poses a life sentence in prison for an individual convicted of committing the offence of homosexuality, whereas attempt to perform the act would attract a seven year prison term.

    It also provides for a three year imprisonment for a child convicted of the act of homosexuality which is in line with section 94(1) (g) of the Children Act, Cap 120.

    Persons found openly declaring that they belong to the LGBTQ community face between 2-10 years imprisonment for engaging in homosexuality, aggravated homosexuality, attempted homosexuality, aiding and abetting homosexuality, and conspiracy to commit homosexuality.

    The bill was first moved as a Private Member’s Bill by the Bugiri Municipality Member of Parliament, Asuman Basalirwa, who first tabled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023 on March 9 2023.

    The bill was later referred to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for scrutiny by the before Speaker Anita Among.

    After 10 days of rigorous public hearings and scrutiny, the Committee returned the Bill to the House on Tuesday.

    West Budama North East Member of Parliament, Hon. Fox Odoi Oywelowo presented a minority report saying that the Bill is misconceived and did not have a comprehensive provision catering for anti-homosexuality.

    Odoi said that the Bill was a duplication of provisions that exist in other laws.

    Parliament approves tough penalties for homosexual acts
    “It is therefore, the position of the minority that the provisions of the Bill, if passed into law will infringe on the rights of Ugandans specifically freedom of expression, association and liberty…” Odoi Oywelowo said.

    The State Minister for Defence, Hon. Jacob Oboth said the Bill was in the right direction and restored hope to Ugandans in protection of the country’s heritage.
    “The Penal Code that was put in place in 1923 is almost 100 years old and is obsolete. Is the Penal Code protecting the intentions of our fore fathers who crafted it at the time?” Oboth said.

    Speaking to the Bill, Basalirwa argued that the new law will protect the cherished culture of Uganda, children, and youth who are vulnerable to sexual abuse as well as prohibit same-sex marriages.

    Anita Among, the Speaker of parliament, said the house has performed its cardinal role of legislation and reiterated that no sanctions by the Europeans will shake the country’s sovereignty.

    Uganda first passed the Anti-Homosexuality law on December 20, 2013, which was tabled by the Ndorwa East Member of Parliament, David Bahati. This particular law provided a life sentence and the death penalty for offenders. 

    President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni signed the Act into law on 24 February 2014 but it was later annulled by the Constitutional Court on grounds that it was passed without the requisite quorum in the House. At the time, several donors in countries like Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the USA suspended aid to Uganda. 

    Parliament approves tough penalties for homosexual acts

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