Uganda’s Sunday Monitor interviewed Anti-Homosexuality Bill author David Bahati and gay advocate Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera about the anti-gay bill. Here are some highlights:
Bahati continues to say the death penalty will be removed.
Certainly the punishment of death penalty is something we have moved away from- attempt to commit homosexuality is something we have also moved away from.There are a number of amendments we have made, and those are going to be brought forward. Since we have moved it, we have listened to a number of views from a number of stakeholders, and all those views have been incorporated in the amendments, which will come when we happen to bring it.
But the focus is on inducement, stopping the inducement of our children to this behaviour, and promotion- those two things are the ones that we will be focusing on.
The committee report I have does not remove the death penalty.
In this part, Bahati admits that the bill is not necessary to address defilement. The Monitor reporter asked why the law is needed when laws addressing child protection are on the books.
If protecting children is the focus of the Bill, why does it require an entirely separate bill from current child protection laws?
We are not really singling out anybody. In 2007, we had an Act which stops defilement, the defilement Act, it is already there. We have the Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality in some form, but it is not specific, it’s not effective, it needs strengthening.
The Bill comes in to include other issues that have emerged over time-issues of promotion, it has never happened, it is happening now, issues of inducing children- it was never there, it was happening now.
Do not miss the significance of this. Bahati and Ssempa have been saying that the law is needed to protect boy children. The Penal Code Amendment Act made the defilement laws very stringent and gender neutral.
Finally, note the time frame of addressing a new version of the AHB: a few weeks from now.
The close of this (8th) Parliament is just pressing on the pause button-in a few weeks when Parliament resumes we will begin the process of legislating against homosexuality.
Kasha provides her point of view, and she says they will challenge the bill in court. The current bill would have many problems which would make it immediately vulnerable to a court challenge (e.g., see this excerpt of a longer critique by Makerare University law professor Silvia Tamale).
Finally for this brief post, Kasha reminds us that the GLBT groups in Uganda have condemned defilement and any activities that could be considered “recruitment,” saying
If I found someone trying to recruit children into homosexuality, I would even hand them in myself – he is trying to pretend that he’s protecting children of Uganda, but he’s not doing that.