Fearful Ugandan Parliamentarians want to vote in secret for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
If the Bill does see passage, in whatever form, with or without the death penalty, this Ugandan Parliament will go down in global history as one which legislated hate and genocide
and all of them will be held accountable, both as a group and as separate individuals.
By Melanie Nathan, April 06, 2013.
An article has appeared in the Observer at the end of last month, noting that despite the popularity of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and the fact that if put to a vote it will likely pass, the Ugandan parliamentarians, out of fear of judgement from people in the West, want a private, secret debate and vote.
The basis of the Bill, otherwise known as The Kill the Gays Bill
is premised as follows:-
Based on the foundations of “strengthening the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family”, that “same sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic“, and “protect[ing] the cherished culture of the people of Uganda, legal, religious, and traditional family values of the people of Uganda against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Uganda”.
It is very difficult for me to understand the hypocrisy of MP’s who are afraid to stand openly behind the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I do not understand how they think that the ‘The Kill the Gays Bill’ will have any less impact internationally if debated privately. Are they ashamed of the arguments they are going to make to promote its passage in Parliament? Do these MPs really believe that the international community will let them off the hook after it is passed, just because they have not seen what was said or noted who of them voted? That notion is unfounded as it will be easy to determine which of the MPs voted for passage. If the Bill passes, in whatever form, with or without the death penalty, this Ugandan Parliament will go down in global history as the one which legislated hate and genocide, and all of the MPs involved will be held accountable, both as a group and as separate individuals.
I am tired of hearing that the Ugandan Parliamentarians see these truths expressed from western governments and activists as blackmail. How dare they hide basic human rights behind so called “cultural norms,” and a fallacious set of reasons upon which the bill is based. Hurting another individual and criminalizing the innocent can never be justified as a cultural norm and the preamble principles which have been set as a basis for the bill are nothing but myth, untrue assertions and yet to be proven.
It would seem that the parliamentarians are legislating on subject matter that ought to be an issue relating to acceptance vs. non-acceptance of homosexuality in society. Instead however, while using cultural norms in their reasoning, they are not willing to leave it to mere cultural norms, but rather are legislating the eradication of homosexuals, and doing it based on false premises.
There is no need to legislate societal acceptance. The culture can simply go on being “non-accepting” without calling for death, imprisonment and eradication.
How the world standardizes human rights is applicable to every country which has signed on to international declarations and Uganda has done so too. The Ugandan bill is in direct contradiction to its international treatise and obligations, and will probably be ruled unconstitutional when tested.
The proponents of the legislation owe the Ugandans the measure of proof that its parliamentarians probably know it has failed to do, to prove that homosexuality is the vice that they contend it is. But they cannot prove it. Homosexuality is condoned by many in the rest of the world, where science and understanding has spoken clearly, where homosexuality has been proved to be a natural born sexual orientation. So what the Ugandans are then suggesting when they say they want this bill passed is that they want to eradicate homosexuals, because you cannot eradicate homosexuality without getting rid of those who are homosexuals. And now they want to pass legislation to ensure that. Legislating genocide, the eradication of a group of people, who are unjustifiably written into the law as criminals, and hence made criminals just because of how they were born.
To refer to homosexuality as being against cultural norms is one thing, and Ugandans ought to be left free to harbor and practice their cultural beliefs, and they are welcome to be unaccepting of gays on that basis, (not that I agree with it.) However to call for imprisonment and death as a cultural normative way of dealing with unacceptance and intolerance will cause harm, and persecution to Ugandans and will place a huge burden on Uganda and the Parliamentarians who vote for it.
If the Ugandans believe that not having homosexuals in their society is one of their cultural norms, then why do they have to legislate death and eradication through imprisonment. Is that a legitimate way to deal with something that may be counter culture? And if it is the “vice” they tout, causing the harm they suggest, then they must prove that it is not a natural sexuality. I suggest in the international arena, when called to account, the Ugandans will be expected to shoulder the burden of proof, and not the other way around.
For the Ugandan parliamentarians to think that the world is going to stand by, while they legislate to kill off a part of their population, however small those numbers may be, in the name of so called cultural norm, they can forget it – whether they vote in private or in public. This is not a threat, it is a natural consequence of what will occur.
The Bill has been described my many Ugandans as unnecessary, as there is already law criminalizing and outlawing homosexuality. This Bill seeks stronger definitions and explicit harsh punishment, not only for LGBTI people, but also 3 years mandated jail time for family, friends, co-workers, medical professionals who fail to report a “known” homosexual within 24 hours.
Here it must be noted that even if the death penalty is removed from the Bill, life in prison and the other harsh terms are designed to deprive gays of their right to live in happiness and freedom and hence as insidious as death itself.
This is not blackmail nor is it a threat, this is simple truth and consequence in a world that seeks to preserve human rights for all – if the Ugandan Parliament passes this Bill, they are not going to only isolate Uganda on many levels from the West, but also themselves as individuals, because each and every one of them will be named, hand in hand with its author David Bahati, as a purposeful persecutor siding with genocide to rid Uganda of a portion of its population, all in the name of so called cultural norms and a series of phoney unprovable principles.
Here is the article from the Observer:-
Gay bill: Why MPs fear open vote
Sunday, 31 March 2013 23:22, Written by Sulaiman Kakaire
While the Marriage and Divorce Bill is facing its fiercest public attack since 2009 when it was first introduced in Parliament, the opposite has happened with the Anti-homosexuality Bill.
A snap survey by The Observer suggests that if their MPs’ views are anything to go by, many Ugandans want the bill passed immediately. But many MPs prefer to discuss the bill behind closed doors for fear of retribution from Western interests. Americans and Europeans have condemned the bill which they say violates the rights of minorities.
Some 40 lawmakers we spoke to say their constituents are in full support of the draft law.
“People are saying we need to protect our culture. Homosexuality has not been approved amongst some of their [donor] states but they are imposing it on us,” said Remigio Achia (Pian county, Nakapiripirit). We shall not accept this regardless of the implications.”
Arinaitwe Rwakajara (Workers) says the bill should have been passed yesterday.
“We have even delayed to pass this law because some of these things have to be penalised if we are to protect our culture and religions,” he said.
However, in Sembabule and some parts of Karamoja, voters have told their representatives not to even ask them about the bill.
“People have told me not to talk about homosexuality but just to make sure that in my actions I oppose the act,” said Hanifa Kawooya (Sembabule Woman).
The lawmakers say they consulted voters at the same time as they gathered views on the controversial Marriage and Divorce bill.
However, The Observer understands that some lawmakers have toyed with the idea of lobbying Speaker Rebecca Kadaga for a closed-door session when debate on the bill starts. National Youth MP, Monica Amoding, told The Observer that some MPs on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee proposed the move because of the sensitive nature of the bill.
“This subject is very sensitive and some of us fear that if it is discussed in public view, we will be persecuted for holding particular views,” Amoding said. Not surprisingly, she refused to state whether she supports the bill.
Another MP, who requested anonymity, explained that supporting the bill publically could lead to being blacklisted. He cited David Bahati, the main promoter of the bill, saying the MP has been ostracised by some elements in the West because of his views.
“We have some projects that are funded by donors and at the same time we don’t want to be misunderstood by voters. So, it is better to remain silent to avoid being blacklisted,” he said.
Surveyed MPs who back and likely to vote for passage of the Private Members Bill authored and introduced by MP David Bahati:-
Yahaya Gudoi (Bungokho North,NRM)
Isabirye Idi (Bunya South,NRM)
Lyndah Timbigamba (Kyenjojo Woman, NRM)
Jovah Kamateka (Mitooma Woman,NRM)
Cyrus Amodoi (Toroma, Indep)
Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West, NRM)
Chris Baryomusi (Kinkizi East, NRM),
Arinaitwe Rwakajara (Workers, NRM)
Hellen Asamo (PWD Eastern, NRM)
Martin Drito (Madi Okollo, NRM)
Amos Mandera ( Kooki, NRM)
George Ekuma (Bukedea, NRM)
Rose Akol (Bukedea Woman, NRM),
Michael Ayepa (Labwor, NRM),
Remigio Achia (Pian, NRM)
Elizabeth Karungi (Kalungu, NRM),
Hatwib Katoto (Katerera, NRM)
Hanifah Kawooya (Sembabule Woman, NRM)
Twa Twa Mutwalante (Iki Iki,NRM)
Geofrey Ekanya (Tororo,FDC)
Olivia Kabala Kwagala (Iganga, NRM)
Benard Atiku (Ayivu,FDC)
Bakaluba Mukasa (Mukono North, NRM)
Stephen Birahwa (Buliisa, NRM)
James Kakooza (Kabula, NRM)
Kaps Fungaroo (Ubongi, FDC)
Tophace Kaahwa (Hoima Woman, NRM)
Mary Turyahikayo (Rubabo, NRM)
Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri, FDC)
Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality, Indep)
Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West, DP)
Vincent Ssempija (Kalungu East, Indep)
Mariam Nalubega (Butambala Woman, Indep)
Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala, DP)
Jesca Ababiku (Adjumani Woman, Indep).
If the Bill passes Uganda’s Parliament, the President does not have the ultimate veto. He can refuse to assent to the Bill and return it twice to Parliament. After the second time the bill can pass with a two third majority vote.
Unlike its usual process, the Ugandan Parliament has failed to publish its regular Order Papers this week, hence the Parliamentary agenda has not been made public in advance as is usual protocol for this past week.