The government has agreed to delete the provisions requiring the reporting of homosexual conduct but keeping the death penalty in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023.
Uganda’s first Lady Janet Museveni has advocated that the bill should include extensive rehabilitation options to support persons who want to give up practicing homosexuality.
President Museveni and members of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) met behind closed doors on Thursday to discuss these and other issues related to the Anti-homosexuality bill 2023
The likelihood that the bill will pass is strong because the majority of NRM MPs have adopted a unified viewpoint.
The Bill enacted last month establishes strong punishments, including fines and lengthy prison terms (up to 20 years), for offenses like child grooming, aggravated homosexuality, and same-sex activity.
Ms. Museveni claimed that the law’s current formulation places more emphasis on prevention than on correcting individuals who are already homosexual. Currently, the court has the option to order the delivery of social assistance for the aim of rehabilitation after a conviction.
“If we put a law that criminalises all these other things they do in our society but—for those who want to change—provide a formula through which they can change to become normal again, I think our law will be complete,” she said.
The Attorney General’s former position, which disagreed with the death penalty for those convicted of aggravated homosexuality as allowed for in Clause 3(1) of the Bill, has changed, and now supports the death penalty.
The Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Jackson Kafuuzi in an interview with National Media’s Daily Monitor claimed they had ruled out any constitutional violations after carefully examining the provision’s phrasing.
“We were saying it makes the death penalty mandatory, but when you look at the wording of the Bill, it says it is ‘liable to suffer death’. Courts have interpreted this to mean the judge or presiding officer has the discretion to decide whether it should be death or not,” Mr Kafuuzi said
The enacted Act defines aggravated homosexuality as the offense of homosexuality when the victim is under the age of 14 or over 75, has a disability or mental illness, contracts a disease for which there is no known cure, or the offender is a parent, guardian, or a repeat offender.
Due to ambiguity, the government also chose to remove provisions that made failing to report gay conduct illegal. A 5,000 currency point (Shs100m) fine or six months in jail would be imposed for the offense.