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The Quiet Death of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill?

Jim Burroway

April 9th, 2010

Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which imposes life imprisonment on gay people, with the death penalty added under certain circumstances, was introduced in Parliament last fall. It was then sent to two Parliamentary committees for further review, namely the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee and the Presidential Affairs Committee. A month later, Uganda president Yoweri Museveni urged the Parliament to “go slow” on the bill, citing international outcry and the resulting foreign policy implications.

And slow it has certainly gone since then. When Parliament returned from recess in early February, the anti-gay bill was expected to be near the top of the agenda with passage expected in March and a presidential signature by Easter. But Easter has come and gone with no apparent action from either Parliamentary committee. AFP is now reporting that Members of Parliament say there is little enthusiasm for the bill and no time table has been set for its debate:

“I think it is useless and will not achieve what it intends to achieve,” said Alex Ndeezi, a member of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee tasked with reviewing the bill before it can be presented to the house.

…The panel’s chairman Stephen Tashyoba said the draft law was not a priority. “As far as I am concerned, we really have more urgent matters to discuss like electoral reforms, which are already behind schedule,” he said.

Comments

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Rebecca
April 9th, 2010 | LINK

Wow, they think there are things more important than repressing gays. More progressive than the Republican Party.

Lindoro Almaviva
April 9th, 2010 | LINK

“I think it is useless and will not achieve what it intends to achieve,”

Translation:

If we pass this bill Uganda will loose all the aid that it has been receiving and it will hot the fan so fast… We have reconsider our priorities and we have realized that we like the aid that we receive and therefore we better keep it rather than having our dignitaries been told that they are a bunch of Neanderthals. Furthermore, we have come to the conclusion that whatever little tourism we get will be dead in no time flat and even the red cross will not send anyone here for fear of having to create an international situation defending an employee due to this witch hunt.

Zoe Nicholson
April 9th, 2010 | LINK

Watching it fizzle out – or atrophy away is not the same as opposing the bill, valuing diversity, protecting life. Countries that decriminalize homosexuality will not achieve balance until the put into place health and human services to educate the public, protect employment and housing, and full equality under the law. Our work is not done until that is done for all.

paul j stein
April 9th, 2010 | LINK

Follow the MONEY! The controllers of the MONEY have the POWER!

cgauthier
April 9th, 2010 | LINK

Watching it fizzle out – or atrophy away is not the same as opposing the bill, valuing diversity, protecting life.

Exactly. It must be very hard to be a gay person living there, with or without the bill, since the public consensus is what put the bill up in the first place. I think I would move.

anteros
April 10th, 2010 | LINK

i’d be cautious about drawing conclusions based on delays simply because timetables and schedules mean absolutely nothing to ugandans. if the bill didnt meet any delays, that would be a surprise.

here are some ugandan stories about how delays are a part of everyday life, politics and everything:

http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/459/715116

http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/696490

http://www.computerworld.co.ke/articles/2010/02/02/audit-faults-huawei-ministry-ugandan-internet-project

oh by the way, cgauthier… if passed, the bill would have gay ugandans extradited from wherever they live.

…the bill needs to be officially trashed (not sure how, since i heard that it’s technically impossible for it to be withdrawn at this stage), homosexuality decriminalized, and discrimination based on sexual orientation outlawed.

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