President assents to Anti-Homosexuality Act
President Yoweri Museveni has assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023.
The President signed the bill into law on 26 May 2023.
The law was initially passed by Parliament on 22 March 2023, having been introduced as Private Members Bill by Bugiri Municipality Member of Parliament, Hon. Asuman Basalirwa.
Despite the Bill the receiving unanimous legislative support, it was returned to Parliament by President Museveni on 27 April 2023 with proposals before he would sign it into law.
The House reconsidered the Bill on 02 May 2023 and passed it with amendments to five clauses in regard to proposals by President Museveni.
Addressing the media on Monday, 29 May 2023, Basalirwa said there has been deliberate distortion of the law.
“The law defines what constitutes an act of homosexuality and gives a punishment of imprisonment for life. This means that one would spend the natural term of their life in prison when found guilty,” Basalirwa said.
He also clarified on the provision of the death penalty for individuals found culpable of perfuming acts of aggravated homosexuality.
“Sometime back, you saw a document by the Deputy Attorney General saying that this law creates mandatory death penalty, it is not true. What the law creates is a maximum sentence and therefore, the courts can decide not to impose the maximum sentence of death,” said Basalirwa.
He cited other legal provisions for the maximum sentence of the death penalty that include murder charges, as well as terrorism charges under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
“The death penalty was never outlawed. What the Constitutional Court said in the case of Kigula is that it is not mandatory. Parliament cannot create death as a mandatory sentence because then you take away the latitude of the courts to exercise the discretion,” he added.
He also made clarifications on sections of the law that cater for child offenders, acts of compensation, consent which he said is not a defense under the law, matters of confidentiality as well as the knowing use of premises to perform the act.
Basalirwa said that the law provided for punitive measures for the offence of promotion of homosexuality and failure to report acts of homosexuality.
“Knowingly advertising and publicising as well financing acts of homosexuality amount to promotion, and once you engage in any of those acts, then you are breaching the law,” said Basalirwa.
He added that Section 145 of the Penal Code has not been affected by the new Anti-Homosexuality Law.
Basalirwa said that to counter threats of aid cuts from the West, Government of Uganda should intensify efforts to attain development partners from the Middle East.
“I am ready to champion the cause of going to the Arab World to look for donor support. We will go to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and this deficit that will be occasioned by aid cuts can easily be replaced,” Basalirwa added.
The President also assented to the Museums and Monument Act, 2022, the Public Health (Amendment) Act, 2022, the Markets Act, 2022, the Microfinance Deposit Taking Institutions Act, 2022 and the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2023.