By Melanie Nathan, January 13, 2014.
It seems that I am not the only one who is wondering why no one can get their hands on the current version Ugandan Parliament’s Anti-homosexuality Bill (AHB) and mistrusting the situation. Where is a Parliamentary copy of the version of the AHB that has apparently passed Parliament; the version that is currently with or on its way to President Museveni, pending his assent or return to Parliament.
The process is hardly to be trusted especially that Bill was passed in an unorthodox process as it had not been on the Order Papers of Parliament pending the day’s vote, as is usual protocol, and in addition there was no quorum present when passed.
We are told the death penalty is out, but do we believe it until we see it for ourselves and do we continue to promote is removal in our media as if we have seen it for ourselves
In addition to chasing the current version of the Bill, which seems still to be held in secret, Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill watcher, Warren Throckmorton is reminding us that we have been misled about the death penalty on previous occasions:
On one other occasion prior to the adjournment of the 8th Parliament, the public was told that the death penalty had been removed. However, later, it was learned that the death penalty was in fact, still in place. And if the committee report that supported the enactment of the bill in December is the same report as offered in May 2011, then the death penalty could very well still be in the bill being considered now by Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni.
Throckmorton, like me, has asked for copies of the current Bill:
“I have asked Parliament several times for a copy of the amended bill. Recently, when I asked Parliament’s media relations for a copy of the bill passed in December 2013, I received a copy of the bill tabled in June, 2011. In that bill, there are no changes from the original bill; the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality is still in place.”
All that I have managed to receive is a Civil Society mark up and an unofficial version – which may be inaccurate because it is not proof of what was passed or sent to President Museveni. From that it seems the death penalty could be out, but how can we rely on it? And why is Parliament failing to provide media with the current version? It smells very fishy to me. Are they hiding something?
“Now it may be that amendments were made and the bill as amended is being kept a secret. However, with the deadline looming for Museveni’s decision, it is worth asking what is actually in the bill. The world was told once upon a time that the death penalty was taken out and that other changes were made. However, the committee report in 2011 revealed otherwise.” Notes Throckmorton.
Please read Throckmorton’s post and see if you share our suspicion. And let is be aware that perhaps we should stop echoing that the death penalty is out, which no media with major resorces, not organizational groups such as HRC with major resources has bothered to check up on.
I have asked Ugandan activists and Parliament to provide a copy of the actual version from Parliament, but none is yet forthcoming. The last I heard Ugandan activists were still waiting for a copy.
We will keep you posted:
A local activist has been told that the copy out of Parliament has not been ready and it will be ready tomorrow. Lets wait and see… It has taken weeks and in this time the international community has been reporting that the death penalty has been removed, even though we have yet to see it for ourselves.