The New Vision
Wednesday, 14th October, 2009
By Mary Karugaba and Catherine Bekunda
Aggravated homosexuality will be punished by death, according to a new bill tabled in Parliament yesterday.
The private member's bill was tabled by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati (NRM).
A person commits aggravated homosexuality when the victim is a person with disability or below the age of 18, or when the offender is HIV-positive.
The bill thus equates aggravated homosexuality to aggravated defilement among people of different sexes, which also carries the death sentence.
The Bill, entitled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, also states that anyone who commits the offence of homosexuality will be liable to life imprisonment.
This was already the case under the current Penal Code Act.
However, it gives a broader definition of the offence of homosexuality.
A person charged with the offence will have to undergo a mandatory medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.
The bill further states that anybody who "attempts to commit the offence" is liable to imprisonment for seven years.
"The same applies to anybody who "aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality" or anybody who keeps a house or room for the purpose of homosexuality.
The bill also proposes stiff sentences for people promoting homosexuality.
They risk a fine of sh100m or prison sentences of five to seven years.
This applies to people who produce, publish or distribute pornographic material for purposes of promoting homosexuality, fund or sponsor homosexuality.
Where the offender is a business or NGO, its certificate of registration will be cancelled and the director will be liable to seven years in prison.
Failure to disclose the offence within 24 hours of knowledge makes somebody liable to a maximum sh5m fine or imprisonment of up to three years.
The provisions, according to the bill, are meant to "protect the traditional family by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex."
They are also meant to prohibit the "promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions and other places through or with the support of any government entity or NGO."
The bill further aims at protecting children and youth who are "made vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviation as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technologies and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption or foster care."
Bahati said the legislation is intended to complement the provisions of the Constitution and the Penal Code Act.