When a Ugandan Politician Claims The Death Penalty Was Dropped But He Can’t Show You The Draft Recommendations Because They’re Secret, Then The Death Penalty Has Not Been Dropped
November 23rd, 2012
WBS Television in Uganda late yesterday posted another report on YouTube featuring statements by members of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, which is charged with marking up the Anti-Homosexuality Bill with recommended changes.
There are a few troubling aspects to the report. First, the reporter claims that the death penalty has been removed for “homosexuality acts with minors,” which sounds very suspiciously like several other previous reports, later proven to be false, that the death penalty had been removed. The last time we heard that line, we would quickly learn that the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, in fact, had not removed the death penalty from the bill, but instead had simply obfuscated the death penalty’s presence in the bill. A complete explanation can be found here.
The second troubling aspect is that the reporter described the clause containing the death penalty as prohibiting “”homosexuality acts with minors” — which it does, but it also imposes the death penalty for much, much more. This, too, is in line with several prior false statement by the Anti-Homosexuality Bill supporters who had tried to misrepresent the scope of the “aggravated homosexuality” clause. Again, a complete explanation of who can qualify for the death penalty can be found here. The fact that the clause is being misrepresented again suggests to me that those who are speaking about the committee’s draft report are being far from candid about what the draft recommendations contain. A huge, waiving red flag like that casts serous doubt in my mind that the death penalty has been removed.
And in case that red flag isn’t big enough, now we’re being told that the draft report from the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee is being held secret, and that we won’t know its contents until debate begins and the bill is voted on — which can take place in just a matter of a few hours.
This is one of the junk emails sent to all members of Parliament on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee warning them to go slow about the Anti-Gay Bill which Speaker Rebecca Kadaga had two weeks back asked them to finalize so that the House begins debating it. The emails, the majority of which indicate New York as the town from where they have been sent, try to explain to the M.P.’s that gays are normal people and thus their rights should not be trampled upon.
Despite this pressure however, the members sat in a crisis meeting for close to two hours going through the bill’s seventeen (sic) clauses and approved it for debate before the House beginning next week.
“We have come to the conclusion of this bill and it is ready to be ushered into Parliament this afternoon. Iedit) If it means stopping me from going to the United States for all my life, going to any country because of this bill, I shall stand by this bill and I’m for (M.P. David) Bahati (the bill’s sponsor) for what he has come up with to protect our minors the other generations all around us.”
“We received the instructions from the House to finalize it and we have finalized it.”
The members however lifted the death penalty sentence to anyone who engages in homosexuality acts with minors, putting the punishment at life imprisonment and those who carry out the act above the age of consent will have the lowest penalty as seven years imprisonment.
The draft report made by the committee however was confiscated from all members sitting on the committee so as it is not distributed before its debate.
“The rules do not allow me to divulge the contents of the committee meetings before the final report is submitted to Parliament. But we are looking at the bill. … (Edit)…
There are some, there is still some work. In some respects we needed more information. We needed some technical information in terms of the sentences that we’re proposing in the bill.”
Meanwhile, Parliament has refuted reports that Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has been issued with a travel ban to the U.S.A. due to her tough stand against homosexuals. The validity of these reports however are being questioned as some M.P.’s confirmed off-record having seen the travel ban itself.
“I’d like to clarify that there is no formal communication that has come to Parliament about this issue as yet, and therefore we are dismissing that information in the context of this House because as far as we are concerned it isn’t official.
Parliament next week will begin discussing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a private member’s bill presented by Honorable David Bahati. If passed, homosexuality and same-sex marriages will be criminal in Uganda, a matter which however has raised controversy on the world scene with countries like the U.S.A. pledging to cut aid to Uganda.