Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Uganda’s Cabinet and Parliament At Odds Over Anti-gay Bill

Posted on August 22nd, 2011 by Warren

Today, in the face of reports that Uganda’s Cabinet tossed out the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Parliament spokesperson, Helen Kawesa, said that the bill ”is in the Parliament now. It’s Parliament’s property.” She added the Cabinet ministers will “have to argue it out in the Parliament” since the bill is controlled by Parliament and has not yet had a vote.

Kawesa added, “If the Cabinet has issues with it, they will be brought in to the floor of the House.”

Currently, budget meetings are on the agenda but a budget is slated to get a vote by next Wednesday. After that, other business, including the anti-gay bill could be considered. As of now, according to Kawesa, there is no official action scheduled for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill but she said the bill could come up at any time after the budget has been passed.

In 2010, a Cabinet committee chaired by Adolf Mwesige called for removal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and made recommendations to enforce existing law. Those recommendations were detailed in a report to Parliament. Many observers believed at the time that the bill had been shelved. However, the bill remained under the jurisdiction of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee. That committee then wrote a report recommending that the bill be passed. However, for reasons that remain unknown, the Parliament placed the bill on the daily agenda but then failed to act on the measure. Currently, the bill remains in the hands of Parliament and is one of several measures considered in the last session which is alive in this session.

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