Tuesday , 17 October 2017

Uganda plans to reinstate Anti-Gay law

 

Frank Mugisha
Frank Mugisha

Uganda’s attorney general has filed an appeal against the constitutional court’s decision to strike down the country’s new anti-gay law, his deputy told AFP on Saturday.

The news was broken by Ugandan rights campaigner Frank Mugisha via his twitter account on Friday, where he stated: “The Attorney General has filed a motion to appeal constitutional decision on nullification of Uganda’s anti gay law”

Deputy Attorney General Fred Ruhinda told AFP: “We are unsatisfied with the court ruling and we have appealed,” he added that the appeal has been lodged at the Supreme Court, the country’s highest court.

“The law was not intended to victimise gay people, it was for the common good,” he said.

The tough law called Anti Homosexuality Bill (AHB), branded “draconian” and “abominable” by worldwide human rights, was scrapped by the constitutional court on 1 August.

The law criminalised further same-sex relations imposing up 14 years imprisonment for “offenders”, and further includes provisions for Ugandans who engage in same-sex relations outside of Uganda, asserting that they may be extradited for punishment back to Uganda.

It further includes penalties for Ugandan individuals, companies, media organisations, or non-governmental charities that know of gay people or support LGBT rights.

It also obliges Ugandans to denounce LGBTI people to the authorities.

Judges ruled it had been passed in December without the necessary quorum of lawmakers in parliament.

Uganda beach Pride, with Frank Mugisha on the right
Uganda beach Pride, with Frank Mugisha on the right

US Secretary of State John Kerry had likened the law to racist and anti-gay legislation in Nazi Germany, while many Western nations have slashed financial aid to Uganda’s government.

According to AFP critics said President Yoweri Museveni signed the law to win domestic support ahead of a presidential election scheduled for 2016, which will be his 30th year in power.

Some analysts suggested that Museveni, who lost valuable allies worldwide that the surprise court hearing last week was encouraged by Museveni, so lesson foreign pressure on his government.

It was also reported on Friday that Uganda’s government hired US PR firm to help lobby support against sanctions over AHB.

Over 165 Ugandan lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties signed a petition last week calling for a new vote on the bill bypassing parliamentary rules that require it be formally reintroduced from scratch.

“Our prayer is that the Speaker waives house rules of procedure, to enable us to pass the bill without going through the three stages of the reading,” said lawmaker Latif Sebagala, a member of the opposition Democratic Party.

Also on Saturday, activists gathered for their first gay-pride march since the law was overturned, waving rainbow flags in celebration, in determination to show resilience and courage despite the moves of Ugandan lawmakers.

 

About Dan Littauer

Dan Littauer is a journalist who specializes in LGBTI current affairs, travel writing, feature writing and investigative journalism. He is a correspondent for LGBTQ Nation, ManAboutWorld, and previously worked for Gay Star News, PinkNews, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, Gay Middle East, Lonely Planet as well as contributing occasionally to the BBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN and The Guardian. He also had an extensive career outside journalism, which included teaching psychoanalysis and social science, and consultancy work for the travel market. When he is not busy writing, he can be spotted rambling around the stunning Scottish landscape, where he lives, spending time at home with his cat.

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