Academic experts and members of parliament (MPs) have expressed contrasting opinions regarding the Anti-gay bill, 2023.
The lawyers urged the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Monday to reject the bill because it would not add anything new to the existing heavy punishments for aggravated sexual offenses, including those committed by children.
“The Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) of the School of Law, Makerere University is of the considered opinion that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is unnecessary,” said Dr Kabumba Busingye, a senior lecturer of law and director at HURIPEC.
“Strict penalties for defilement (included aggravated defilement) are already provided for under existing laws, particularly the Penal Code Act, Cap 120),” he added.
Dr. Busingye stated that the HURIPEC believes that the Bill should be abandoned since it is pointless and troublesome.
Similar comments were expressed by Dr. Sylvia Tamale, a recently retired professor of law at Makerere University, who said that the Bill duplicates several other existing laws.
“The Bill should be scrapped and not given the light of day. The Penal Code deals with these issues,” Dr Tamale said.
With the proposed rules granting courts the authority to order protection for a child judged likely to participate in homosexuality, the Anti-gay Bill among other things aims to safeguard children and teenagers against lesbianism and homosexual activity.
Nonetheless, a number of committee members supported the Bill, arguing that it was necessary to combat homosexuality in general and to protect minors in particular.
According to Mr. Bosco Okiror (Usuk County), there was no turning back because current laws needed to be updated.