(Kampala) Uganda’s controversial anti-LGBT law passed in late March by Uganda’s parliament could soon go back to lawmakers after government lawyers and ruling party parliamentarians asked the president to reconsider the bill, it has been reported. learned on Thursday.
This text voted on March 21 and providing for heavy penalties for people maintaining homosexual relations has aroused the indignation of many human rights organizations and governments of Western countries.
MEPs denounced it Thursday in a resolution, warning President Yoweri Museveni against enacting it.
The extent of the penalties provided for by this new law is not precisely known. But according to defenders of the homosexual cause, it provides that anyone engaging in homosexual activities incurs life imprisonment and, in the event of recidivism, the death penalty, in this country of East Africa where the homosexuality is illegal.
Included in Ugandan law, the death penalty has not been applied for years.
On Thursday afternoon, the Ugandan president had invited parliamentarians from the National Resistance Movement (NRM), the ruling party of which Museveni is the president, to “discuss, among other things, the Anti-Homosexuality Law 2023”.
Accompanied by a few independent deputies, the latter “advised the president to send the bill back to Parliament, with proposals for its improvement”, according to a text consulted by AFP, the authenticity of which was confirmed by participants in the meeting.
This recommendation is consistent with that made by government lawyers.
In a separate letter to Speaker of Parliament Anita Among on Thursday, seen by AFP, Deputy Attorney General Kaafuzi Jackson Kargaba says government lawyers advised Mr Museveni to “return to Parliament for reconsideration”.
While “the government is not opposed to the law”, however, several provisions are “too broad or vague” and could be challenged “on grounds of unconstitutionality”, Mr. Kargaba points out.
The UN, Amnesty International, Washington, London and the EU have called on the Ugandan president to reject this law.
MEPs passed a resolution on Thursday denouncing a law that “violates the Ugandan Constitution, as well as Uganda’s obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and international law”.
The resolution “deplores President Museveni’s contribution to hateful rhetoric towards ‘LGBT’ people, adding that “EU-Uganda relations will be at risk if the President enacts the bill.”
After the law was passed, the White House warned Uganda of potential economic “consequences” if the law went into effect.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, also called on Mr. Museveni not to promulgate this “discriminatory text – probably the worst in the world of its kind”.
Homophobia is widespread in Uganda, as it is across East Africa.
While there have been no prosecutions for homosexual acts in recent years, harassment and intimidation are the daily life of homosexuals in Uganda, where an evangelical Christianity has developed that is particularly vehement towards the LGBT movement.
Five days before the law was passed, President Museveni called gay people “deviant” in a speech to parliament.
“Homosexuals are a deviation from the norm. For what ? Is it innate or learned? We need to answer these questions. We need medical advice on this. We need to really discuss this,” said the head of state, who has ruled Uganda with an iron fist since 1986.
Uganda – where so-called “unnatural” relationships are already punishable by life since a law dating from British colonization – had adopted in December 2013 new legislation criminalizing in particular the “promotion of homosexuality” and making it compulsory to report homosexuals.
This law, which had triggered an international outcry, had been annulled for defect of form by the Constitutional Court in August 2014.