MP David Bahati, author of the Anti-Homosexuality Act
Described as akin to the mythical Hydra with many heads, the horrific Anti-Homosexuality Bill appears set to return to Uganda’s Parliament.
According to the Daily Monitor, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanya, has received written notification from MPs David Bahati and Benson Obua Ogwal of their plans to re-table the legislation.
It was Bahati who first introduced the bill in 2009. It was eventually passed in December last year and signed into law in February. Last month, the country’s Constitutional Court struck down the law on a technicality: because there were not enough MPs present when it was voted on.
The re-introduced bill is expected to proceed through the legislative process as per normal and will apparently not be fast-tracked. Oulanya rejected calls to make the bill Parliament’s first order of business, said the Monitor.
It’s not clear how the MPs’ move fits in with an earlier decision by the ruling NRM party and President Museveni to set up a committee to analyse the ruling and the law and to report back with a way forward.
In their letter to the Deputy Speaker, Bahati and Obua reportedly “promised to look into” concerns about the repealed law that were raised by the LGBTI activists who challenged it in the Constitutional Court.
The newspaper noted that a disturbing 254 of the 376 MPs required to pass the law had apparently confirmed that they would vote in favour of doing so.
The move to reinstate the law could also continue on another front, with news that the government may still appeal the Constitutional Court’s ruling, despite reports that it had decided not to do so.
“Despite all the talk about the Attorney General being instructed to withdraw the Notice of Appeal, this has not been in fact done,” Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), said in a statement, reports Erasing 76 Crimes.
“The Petitioners lawyers have never been served with a withdrawal notice and neither is there a withdrawal letter on the file at the Registry. So this implies that the Attorney General may go on with the Appeal,” he said.
Writing on Facebook, Jjuuko added: “The Bahati bill is like the proverbial Hydra with many heads. I just hate it and all it represents.”