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Will Uganda’s Constitutional Court Strike Down the Anti-Homosexuality Act Tomorrow?

Jim Burroway

July 31st, 2014

The highly unusual speed with which Uganda’s Constitutional Court is responding to the petition filed by several human rights activists is being seen by many as a good omen for a possible declaration striking down the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act which was signed into law last February. Human rights activists filed their challenge in March,  but seeing cases dragging on with almost no action for more than a year is the norm in Uganda’s judicial system. Ugandan’s often talk of things happening in “African Time.” So the Constitutional Court’ts snap call for parties to be ready to present their cases on Wednesday caught a lot of people off guard, including State Attorney Patricia Mutesi who complained that she wasn’t prepared to proceed with her arguments and asked for a delay. That request was rejected. That leaves a lot of folks wondering why the Court is in such an uncharacteristic rush:

Rumors are flying around Kampala in an effort to make sense of the court’s sudden haste in this case. There is speculation that it was ordered to strike down the law by President Yoweri Museveni in order to please the World Bank — which is holding up a $90 million loan over the bill — or to satisfy the United States in advance of next week’s Summit of African Leaders in Washington. Others suggest the court is trying to bolster Prime Minister Mbabazi by validating his call for a quorum; Museveni moved aggressively shortly after the vote to isolate Mbabazi to prevent him from mounting a leadership challenge.

LGBT acticist Frank Mugisha is optimistic, while Pentecostal pastor Martin Ssempa is glum:

“I think that we could have a very good judgment tomorrow, and if we get that judgment then it’s over – and we just have to celebrate,” said Mugisha, who heads the Sexual Minorities Uganda group.

Anti-gay preacher Martin Ssempa, who was also in court, said he feared the “judicial abortion of our bill” due to international pressure.

“This case is moving at lightning speed,” he said, claiming the petition was being pushed to polish Uganda’s international reputation before Museveni travels to Washington next week to meet President Barack Obama at a landmark US-Africa summit.

The Constitutional Court focused its attention this week on the question of whether Parliament acted with the constitutionally-required quorum when it passed the Anti-Homosexuality Act in December. The expected ruling tomorrow will be on that question. If the court rules agaisnt the petitioners on the quorum issue, then proceedings will continue on whether the AHA’s provisions violate Uganda’s constitutional guarantees to a number of rights, including the right to privacy, freedom from discrimination, and freedoms of assembly and speech.

Comments

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Steve
July 31st, 2014 | LINK

Not going to happen. The judges would be murdered if they did.

Johan Lundgren
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

Nice to be proven wrong this time, ey?

Steve
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

It’s purely on a technicality. They’ll just pass it properly and unanimously. This is meaningless in the long run.

Jaime
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

Dr. Frank Mugisha tweeted

Breaking news , I am officially legal . The constitutional court in Uganda has declared anti homosexuality law 2014 null and void
12:20am – 1 Aug 14

Nathaniel
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

Steve, ruling on a technicality should keep them safe. If the laws of the land were violated in how the law was passed, then everybody should support a ruling against the law, even if they supported the law itself. Though, you are probably right that it will come back to haunt us again.

Priya Lynn
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

“It’s purely on a technicality. They’ll just pass it properly and unanimously. This is meaningless in the long run.”

And you’re as certain about that as you were that the judges wouldn’t strike the law down.

sadz
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

what u should know z that the memberz ov parliament who passed that law are still present.so however much the court cancels the law,the parliamenjt will pass it again n again.so i pitty thoz indispicable idiots who are now jubilating,

no homosexuals in the pearl ov africa

its ok if its legal in your countries,its understandable that ur *****less

yours lovely
sadz uganda
thanx

Priya Lynn
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

Sadz, new gays are born every day in Africa. There will always be gays in Africa regardless of how many you persecute and execute.

sadz
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

Priya,this law was brought to prevent other people from becoming gays and by the way ,there z nothing like being born an homosexual,

if a goat,pig,fly n hen can see wats right why nt a human being
there z a reason why God created a penis and a vagina

Ben in Oakland
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

Pearl of Africa?

Do you ever read the news reports about your part of the world? Sounds more like the pyrite than the pearl.

Or the asshole– not to malign a perfectly useful orifice.

Timothy Kincaid
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

sadz,

Passing laws cannot prevent anyone from becoming gay. One’s internal attractions are innate and from infancy (at latest) and are as much a part of God’s design as the shape of one’s eyes or the height to which one grows.

You could pass all the laws you like about height and it would serve no purpose other than to punish persons for no logical reason. The same is true for sexual orientation.

And as for the goat, pig, and hen, I tend not to measure myself by barnyard animals. But if you think that goats, pigs and hens do not engage in same-sex sexual activity, then you know very little about them.

Priya Lynn
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

Sadz, there’s a reason why a penis fits in an anus so nicely – god wanted it that way.

sadz
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

Ben,
unfortunately i dont have enough time to explain y uganda z a pearl but to answer your qn,i am ugandan n i live in uganda so i know wats happening more than u who just gets it on the internet
forexample;
There are some reports saying that gay people are killed in uganda, n people go on to upload video saying that it gay who are mistreated bt when in actual sense they are mare thieves n rapist who are in those videos

What am saying z that in uganda the pearl ov africa,we dont hate gayz n lesbians but instead hate the “act” homosexuality

sadz
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

Ben,
unfortunately i dont have enough time to explain y uganda z a pearl but to answer your qn,i am ugandan n i live in uganda so i know wats happening more than u who just gets it on the internet
forexample;
There are some reports saying that gay people are killed in uganda, n people go on to upload video saying that it gay who are mistreated bt when in actual sense they are mare thieves n rapist who are in those videos being beaten by the crowd(forexample the infamous david who had stolen a motorcycle

What am saying z that in uganda the pearl ov africa,we dont hate gayz n lesbians but instead hate the “act” homosexuality

Priya Lynn
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

Sadz you may be in Uganda but you are obviously ignorant about about gays and lesbians. Who we are attracted to is a core part of who we are, there is no such thing as hating gayness but not hating gays. You hate gayness it necessarily follows that you hate gays.

Uganda does not imprison homosexuality for same sex sex, it imprisons the gay person for same sex sex. Uganda abuses innocent gay people, that is all there is to it. It is quite simply a pathetic excuse that theives and rapists are the ones attacking gays in Uganda – it is people like you, who are ignorant about gays and who hate gays, that are attacking gays in Uganda.

People like you spread lies about gays to encourage ordinary Ugandans to attack innocent gay people. You have blood on your hands.

Ben in Oakland
August 1st, 2014 | LINK

The real sadz in this is that you actually believe what you say, without a hint of remorse at what this does to the lives of people you don’t know, know nothing about, and who have done you no harm.

So here’s a suggestion for you. Walk down the street in Kampala with a sign saying “I’m gay”. Now we both know you are not and have never had gay sex. See what happens to you.

I have a feeling that your going to find out exactly how much you are hated for being queer, not how much you’re hated for having gay sex when you haven’t.

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