Tuesday , 21 January 2020

Uganda’s anti-gay law struck down


Frank Mugisha
Frank Mugisha


The anti-gay law in Uganda has been declared illegal and struck down by the country’s Constitutional Court in Kampala.

Despite a petition from campaigners who sought to delay the hearing, the ruling was made at 11:20am Friday (9:20 local time), overturning the legislation that had condemned LGBTI people to life in prison and those accused of harbouring them to as much as seven years.

“I am officially legal!” declared delighted activist Frank Mugisha.

Originally proposed in 2009 by MP David Bahati, the bill passed into law in December last year and is considered to be responsible for a significant rise in violence against LGBTI people including murders and the defilement of bodies exhumed from graves. A campaign against LGBTI people led by preachers such as Martin Ssempa sought to portray LGBTI people as monstrous and a threat to children.

In a packed court, a panel of five judges including Acting Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, Justices, Augustine Nshimye, Eldad Mwangusya, Solomy Balungi Bossa and Rubby Aweri Opio unanimously struck down the Anti-Homosexuality Act on grounds that it was passed without the required quorum and that Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was warned by three people but ignored their concerns.

The court also awarded petitioners 50% of the costs of the suit. The case involved a group of pro-LGBTI campaigners who sued the Attorney General in March last year, challenging the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law for lack of quorum.

Petitioners include Prof. Joe Oloka-Onyango, MP Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda, Prof. Morris Latigo, Dr. Paul Nsubuga Ssemugoma, Jacqueline Kasha Nabagesera, Julian Pepe Onziema, and Frank Mugisha.

Other petitioners include local organisations such as the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, the Centre for Health and Human Rights and Development.

About Jennie Kermode

Jennie Kermode is a professional journalist who also edits at Eye For Film and who has written for publications including The Independent, The New Statesman, The Press Gazette, Pink News and Mosaic. Chair of reform charity Trans Media Watch, Jennie is also a member of the Equality Network and the Scottish Transgender Alliance.

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  1. I love that; pray it happen in nigeria too

  2. I have long expected this from Nigeria coalition. Will it ever happen where we have no face? Until we shun closet activism and shame, we may be in for long term oppression.

  3. As though we are not guaranteed to our own freedom in Nigeria, we still look forth to a time like this to come into fruition. Let's come out and fight for our right, how long must we continue hiding under the pavilion of pretence and self made false impressions?

  4. The main reason the law was overturned was the USA withdrew all it's financial aid, the end result of the court verdict was predetermined to have access to those funds again.

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