Parliament Grants Basalirwa Leave to Introduce Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Asuman Basalirwa, the Bugiri Municipality legislator has secured leave of parliament to introduce the Private Member’s Bill titled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023. The bill seeks to prohibit same-sex relationships.

Basalirwa invoked Rule 79 of the Rule of Procedure, Article 79, and Article 94 of the Constitution and moved a motion seeking leave of the House to allow him to present the Bill during the plenary sitting on Tuesday.

Basalirwa told the House that there is a need to improve the Penal Code Act, which was enacted by British colonialists to prohibit recruitment, promotion, and funding of same-sex practices because the vice threatens the continuity of the family, the safety of children, and the continuation of humanity through reproduction.

Sarah Achieng Opendi, the Tororo District Woman Member of Parliament seconded the motion noting that it is regrettable that the colonialists who introduced religion in the county and enacted the Penal Code Act have backtracked on the morals they preached.

Speaker Anita Among warned legislators against accepting bribes from the promoters of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer-LGBTIQ+ agenda with a view of frustrating the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, noting that the House will vote physically on the matter to expose those who are against the country’s position.

The Ndorwa East Member of Parliament and current Minister of State for Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives, David Bahati first introduced the Anti Homosexuality Bill, 2009 as a Private Member’s Bill on October 14th, 2009.

The Bill proposed life imprisonment for gay relationships, including oral sex, life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality”, including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive, and life imprisonment for living in a same-sex marriage.

The Bill also prescribed seven years for “attempting to commit homosexuality” between five and seven years in jail or a fine of Shillings 150 million or both for the promotion of homosexuality. Businesses or organizations found guilty of promoting the vice would have their certificates of registration revoked and directors to face seven years in jail.

Parliament passed the Act on December 20, 2013, prescribing a life sentence with a maximum death penalty. On Feb 24, 2014, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni signed the Act into law but the Constitutional Court outlawed it on August 1, 2014, on grounds that had been passed without the requisite quorum.

A 2020 global review report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA), shows that nearly half of the countries worldwide where homosexuality is outlawed are in Africa

Only, 22 out of the 54 African states have legalized homosexuality. In some countries, same-sex relationships are punishable by imprisonment, while it is punishable by death in Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan. 

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