MP David Bahati
After months of speculation, the author of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill has officially reintroduced the dreaded legislation into parliament.
According to the BBC, MPs laughed, clapped and cheered “Our bill, our bill” when MP David Bahati tabled the draft law on Tuesday.
Originally introduced in October 2009, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill has never been voted on in parliament due to a number of technical reasons.
There are reports that the death penalty clause in cases of “aggravated homosexuality” has now been removed from the bill.
Other reports, however, claim that the original version of the bill was introduced but that Bahati is prepared to drop the death penalty if a parliamentary committee recommends this.
The proposed legislation is expected to nevertheless further criminalise homosexuality which is already illegal in Uganda.
Anyone who “aids, abets [or] counsels” any gay person and anyone who rents a home or room to a gay person could also be sentenced to seven years in jail.
According to Warren Throckmorton, parliament’s spokesperson, Helen Kawesa, said that bill will go through the entire parliamentary process from the start.
This will include various readings, referral to committee and a final report from the committee to parliament, before being voted on.
“The bill will go through a new process again. It is a new parliament,” she said.
An international petition opposing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was signed by over 1.6 million people. It has been condemned by numerous governments around the world, some threatening to suspend aid to Uganda if it is passed.