The Daily Monitor is doing some digging and reporting what seems to be some conflict over how to proceed with Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality BIll.
Two Cabinet ministers have disagreed over the proposed softening of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that seeks to punish those involved the act.
The Committee, however, agreed that promotion of homosexuality should be criminalised. “The law should provide that all the parties: publishers, printers, distributors of any materials that promote homosexuality should all be liable to have committed an offence,” the minutes read in part.
Local Government Minister Adolf Mwesige who chaired the Cabinet Committee tasked with finding possible ways of amending MP David Bahati’s Bill and counterpart James Nsaba Buturo of the Ethics docket failed to agree on the recommendations of the committee.
According to correspondences seen by Sunday Monitor, although the Cabinet Committee was supposed to be attended by seven ministers, only three attended the meeting that took place February 22 in Kampala.
Those who attended are Mr Mwesige and State Minister for Foreign Affair Isaac Musumba together with Education Minister Namirembe Bitamazire.
Those who are on the committee but did not attend the meeting are Gabriel Opiyo (Gender Minister), Kabakumba Masiko (Information Minister), Fred Ruhindi (Justice State Minister) and Dr Buturo.
In a letter dated March 11, Dr Buturo wrote to Mr Mwesige complaining: “The report of the Cabinet Committee … is not in the spirit of the said assignment. There are other concerns that I personally have which that report has not captured.” Dr Buturo argued that Mr Bahati, “an important player in the Bill” should also be invited for consultations in another meeting.
But Mr Mwesige, who chaired the meeting, wrote back on March 15: “The report is already scheduled on Agenda of Cabinet. I am therefore not in position to hold another meeting of the committee as your letter suggests.”
In their recommendations, the committee argued that the title of the Bill; Anti-Homosexuality, is stigmatising and appears to be targeting a particular group of people. They therefore want the “useful provisions of the proposed law” incorporated into the Sexual Offences Act.
Unfortunately, the desire to criminalize consenting adults remains according to this report. Opponents of the bill need to do more than protest. We need to make the case that criminalization is not an appropriate state action.