Uganda’s Cabinet Minister’s have urged Parliament and MP David Bahati to drop the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, according to the Daily Monitor. Bahati declined to do so, saying the bill is now the property of Parliament. Here the entire story:
Cabinet has finally thrown out the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009 on the advice of Mr Adolf Mwesige, the ruling party lawyer. However, Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, the architect of the Bill, insists the proposed legislation is now property of Parliament and that the Executive should stop “playing hide- and- seek games” on the matter.
The decision to throw out the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was made at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday where Mr Mwesige, according to sources, told ministers that the Bill was unnecessary since government has a number of laws in place criminalising homosexual activities.
“We agreed that government should search the law archives and get some of the laws, enforce them rather than having another new piece of legislation,” a source said. “He [Mwesige] said the Bill is overtaken by events and that donors and other sections of the public were not comfortable.”
The Bill seeks to criminalise all same-sex relations in the country and proposes the death penalty for sodomy. Mr Bahati and his group maintain that the country should have stronger laws against homosexuality in order to protect the moral fabric that holds society intact.
“The future of this country’s children will be determined by the peoples’ representatives in Parliament,” Mr Bahati said during a phone interview on Saturday.
It is not clear whether or not this action will effectively kill the bill. In 2010, a Cabinet committee led by Adolf Mwesige recommended that the bill be dropped for essentially the same reasons. However, it was not dropped at that time, even though Mwesige was confident that it would be shelved.
Even though the bill might be slowed by the Cabinet’s reluctance to push ahead, Mwesige also called for enforcement of existing law (prohibition of unnatural carnal knowledge). If so, Uganda’s GLBT community could still face a worsening situation going forward.