KAMPALA-Veteran Journalist Andrew Mwenda, MP Fox Odoi and nine other activists have petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the just signed Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023.
Yesterday President Yoweri Museveni passed an Anti-Homosexuality bill into law. The law protects traditional families through prohibition of sexual relationships between people of the same sex, strengthening that country’s capacity to deal with emerging threats to the traditional family, protecting the cherished culture of Uganda and protecting children and youth who are vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Other petitioners include; Dr. Busingye Kabumba, a lecturer of Law at Makerere University; Dr. Frank Mugisha, the Coordinator of Sexual Minorities Uganda-SMUG; Solome Nakaweesi Kimbugwe; Eric Ndawula; Richard Smith Luthimbo, the Executive Director of Uganda Key Populations Consortium-UKPC; Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, former Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda-FARUG, Williams Apako, the Executive Director of Tranz Network Uganda and Adrian Juuko, the Executive Director Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum –HPRAF who is also a lead lawyer.
The petitioners claimed that the act was passed without meaningful public participation. During the hearings of the committee, and during the time when the bill was under discussion, no single LGBTI person was invited to appear before the committee yet the law affects them directly.
“During the second and third reading of the bill on March 21 2023 and May 2, 2023, the speaker Anita Among’s conduct showed bias yet she is supposed to be impartial while handling parliamentary sessions. The bill is blatantly unconstitutional,” Juuko said.
The petitioners contended that section 11(1) and 2(b) of the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 by criminalizing the publication, communication or distribution of any material that promotes or encourages homosexuality is in contravention of the principle of legality, freedoms of speech and expression, freedoms of thought, conscience and belief including academic freedom, the right to impart and access and receive information.
Further that section 12 of the Act by prohibiting and disqualifying persons convicted of an offence of homosexuality from employment is in contravention with the right to practice one’s profession or carry on lawful trade, right to equality and Nondiscrimination.
They therefore want the court to quash the entire act and issue an injunction stopping its implementation.
The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 was passed by Parliament on December 20, 2013 with life in prison substituted for the death penalty. Whereas it was signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni on February 24, 2014, the Constitutional Court on August 1,2014 annulled the law citing that it was passed without the required quorum in the House.