Sunday 9 May 2010

Ugandan special committee recommends withdrawal of Anti-homosexuality Bill

The New York Times published a report yesterday written by Josh Kron about the Ugandan Anti-homosexuality Bill. A special committee organized by the president of Uganda has recommended that the Bill should be withdrawn from Parliament.

Adolf Mwesige, a lawmaker and chairman of the special committee, said that virtually all clauses in the legislation were either unconstitutional or redundant, and that any other clauses should be placed in another bill dealing generally with sexual offenses.

“Ninety-nine percent of all the proposals in the Bahati bill have been done before,” Mr. Mwesige said. “If we proceeded, it would definitely provoke criticism, and rightly so.” Mr. Mwesige said he expected the full Parliament to vote down the bill within weeks. “The influence of the cabinet is very important. If it takes a decision, it must be taken seriously.”

Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, has publicly shown concern about the legislation and formed the review committee in February in response to international scrutiny. Though the panel’s ruling is not the final word, analysts saw it as a strong sign that the bill would eventually be dropped.

Gay rights activists in Uganda were hopeful on Saturday that that would be the case. “So far the recommendations are welcomed by the community,” said Kasha Jacqueline, director of Freedom and Roam Uganda.

Spectrum Uganda Initiative, a Facebook group, continues to publish information about the progress of the Bill.

Colin Coward

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