On Saturday, David Bahati called up his new best friend Melanie Nathan and told her that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be heard before the end of the 8th Parliament in May.
Today I immediately mentioned the confusion surrounding the status of the AHB in this eighth parliament. I asked Mr. Bahati if it was true that the Bill has been scrapped and he asserted – “absolutely not” and that it is a matter still in the hands of the Parliament and that it can be passed at anytime.
The best update preceding this call can be found on the site of Warren Throckmorton, posted the following series of updates on his Blog Post: In Sum: On March 24, 2011 Throckmorton notes: “This afternoon I have heard from two sources in Uganda that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) has been shelved…” Then on March 25th NTV Uganda provided a report noting that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill had yet to be decided, it was not shelved but that the Museveni administration spokesperson indicated that the criminalization of homosexuality in Uganda is sufficiently covered by other legislation.
David Bahati, as prime defender of the AHB spoke in the report that appeared on Throckmorton’s site , clearly noting his dissatisfaction with the idea that the law should remain as is for lack of clarity on certain issues that he believes ought to be specifically dealt with.
Today Mr. Bahati informed me categorically that the AHB has not been shelved and that he still hopes it will be “decided” by the 8th Parliament. He informed me that the 8th Parliament will continue until the President is sworn in again in MAY 2011 to herald the new 9th Parliament, and that the AHB can be decided upon anytime up until then. He insisted it is still being considered by Committee.
I made several calls to Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Stephen Tashobya, including one this morning. However, he did not answer, nor has he replied to emails. I know he was traveling some last week out of the country, so that may be some of the absence. However, I also wonder if the matter has been buttoned up by the Museveni administration. If so, Bahati may be placing himself at some risk by continuing to promote his bill.
My guess is that the bill is not going to get out of committee. We have yet to see the Marriage and Divorce Bill which is slated to take place before anything else from that committee. It seems highly unlikely that the AHB would be considered before the Marriage and Divorce Bill, given the promises made by the Speaker of the Parliament and Hon. Tashobya – the committee chair.