President Yoweri Museveni today signed into law, the World’s most criticized as harshest anti-Homosexuality Bill. The law, had by press time received Western World and Human rights agents` criticisms, calling it as barbaric, anti-human, derogatory, harmful and that, it flagrantly violates and discriminates the human rights, etcetera, the same that had prior ducked Museveni’s assenting to the same.
“Not in our Country Boundaries,” finally seems to be the strong message as Museveni courageously recollected himself amidst applause by the local leaders and legislators to assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023. Either ‘Good or Bad’ for you as an Act and/or law, according to your orientations, cultural and societal backgrounds, beliefs and or settings, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, today Monday 29th May 2023, put away his prior hesitations, braved the Western world ‘Human Rights’ pressures and criticisms, reinvented himself and assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, signing it into a law.
It’s already written into the history books, The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, which was introduced in Uganda’s Parliament in March this year, calls for the life imprisonment penalties if convicted for “aggravated homosexuality,” which is defined as cases of same-sex relations involving people who are HIV positive as well as with minors and other categories of vulnerable people.
Meanwhile, anyone who engages in gay sex could face life imprisonment if convicted, while anyone caught trying to have same-sex relations could face up to 10 years in prison. The Media of all forms and anyone promoting the same in one way or the other, is not spared either. Ugandan Parliament Speaker Anita Annet Among was the first to announce, that the president had signed the bill into law. This was on her tweeter handle, praising the statesman. Others followed in suit, also applauding Museveni on the development, saying, “he is such a brave, courageous and of strong cultural norms.”
The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among revealed the development earlier today. “His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, has executed his constitutional mandate as prescribed by Article 91 (3) (a) of the Constitution. He has assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Act,” Among said in a tweet.
“As the Parliament of Uganda, we have answered the cries of our people. We have legislated to protect the sanctity of family as per Article 31 of the Constitution of Uganda. We have stood strong to defend our culture and aspirations of our people as per objectives 19 & 24 of national objectives and directive principles of state policy.”
Harsh Bill cum Act:
Having been passed by parliament earlier by all legislators save for two, President Museveni returned the Anti-Homosexuality bill back to parliament for improvement. This followed advice by the Attorney General, asking him not to assent to the bill in its current form. The Attorney General – the chief legal advisor for government said the new law provides for mandatory death sentence for a person convicted of aggravated homosexuality which he said, is in contravention with articles 21, 22(1), 28, 44(a) and 44(c) of the Constitution.
He said the Constitutional Court has already pronounced itself on laws concerning mandatory death sentence which he said is inconsistent with the constitution. According to the Attorney General, the new law risked violating the principle of separation of powers when it prescribes mandatory death sentence as it didn’t give the judiciary discretion to determine an appropriate sentence.
He cited several other provisions in the new law that he said need to be revised by parliament before it is assented to by the president or else it risked being challenged in courts of law on grounds of being unconstitutional. Consequently, after making amendments, parliament passed the Anti-gay bill for the second time.
African Culture and Norms:
The Speaker of Parliament has hailed the president for finally assenting to the Bill that she said will protect the Ugandan cultures. “I thank His Excellency, the President, for his steadfast action in the interest of Uganda. With a lot of humility, I thank my colleagues the Members of Parliament for withstanding all the pressure from bullies and doomsday conspiracy theorists in the interest of our country. By their action, we have lived by our motto, for God and our country,” Among said.
“We shall always stand for and promote the interest of the people of Uganda. I now encourage the duty bearers under the law to execute the mandate bestowed upon them in the Anti-Homosexuality Act. The people of Uganda have spoken, and it is your duty to now enforce the law in a fair, steadfast, and firm manner.” The development comes on the backdrop of fears expressed by members of the public, including Members of Parliament over the ability by the president to assent to the law.
The new law has been widely condemned by rights groups and Western countries. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the UN’s HIV/AIDS program and the US AIDS relief program all expressed concern over the harmful impact of the newly signed law. Amnesty International said that the law “flagrantly violates the human rights of LGBTI people in Uganda, including the right to a private life, protection against discrimination and the right to equal protection before the law.”
A statement from the UN read: “We are appalled that the draconian and discriminatory anti-gay bill is now law. It is a recipe for systematic violations of the rights of LGBT people and the wider population. It conflicts with the constitution and international treaties and requires urgent judicial review.”
In a joint statement, the heads of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAids and the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) reacted with “deep concern” and said progress on tackling Aids and HIV was “now in grave jeopardy”.
“The stigma and discrimination associated with the passage of the act has already led to reduced access to prevention as well as treatment services. Trust, confidentiality and stigma-free engagement are essential for anyone seeking health care,” said the statement. “LGBTQI+ people in Uganda increasingly fear for their safety and security, and people are being discouraged from seeking vital health services for fear of attack, punishment and further marginalization,” added the statement, signed jointly by Peter Sands, Winnie Byanyima and John Nkengasong.
Ugandan authorities have also recognized the possibility that the new law will lead to the imposition of international sanctions. In 2014, when Museveni signed a less restrictive anti-LGBTQ law, the Western governments suspended some aid, reduced security cooperation with Uganda and imposed stronger visa restrictions on its citizens. This move immediately drew widespread international outrage as well as condemnation from many Ugandans.
The law, has been described by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, as “shocking and discriminatory”. This time, early on Monday when the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Anita Annet Among, released a statement on social media confirming Museveni had assented to the law, her US Visas were quickly annulled. The Speaker said MPs had withstood pressure from “bullies and doomsday conspiracy theorists” and called for courts to immediately begin enforcing the new laws. Many continue to project that by assenting to the law, Uganda risks sanctions from the west.
Locals speak out
Ssemuju Nganda: Largely a big-time critique and critic of the President Museveni and the NRM regime, MP Ssemuju Nganda this time joined many to congratulate the President. “I am happy that President Museveni has fulfilled his Constitutional obligation by assenting to this law (Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023). Now that he has signed, we would like to call upon the security agencies to enforce the law with the people promoting Homosexuality.
Asuman Basaalirwa: Hon. Asuman Basaalirwa, while announcing that Visas to the US have been canceled, said; “I don’t know why they are picking out a few; cancel all visas of MPs save for two. In fact, cancel visas for all Ugandans.” He added; “Western gov’ts have actualized their threats concerning the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023.”
Stella Nyanzi: Like before, Stella Nyanzi, a Ugandan human rights advocate, poet, medical anthropologist, feminist, queer rights advocate, and scholar of sexuality, family planning, and public health, joined the queue with her trademark verbal weaponries to criticize Museveni’s move tagging the same dictatorial statements. “Dictator Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act (2023) into law. Cry beloved Uganda, cry for this sad day for the rights of LGBTIQA+ people and their allies. La luta continua!” Stella was arrested in 2017 for insulting the Ugandan President. She went into exile thereafter.
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