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The East African : January 13th 2014
The EastAfrican NEWS JANUARY 11-17,2014 ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL 2012 Museveni faces rebellion over anti-gay law The p≥esident faces opposition f≥om within NRM and a ≥eligious ≥ight conce≥ned about what it sees as declining mo≥al standa≥ds By HALIMA ABDALLAH Special Correspondent ing out with Western donors over a recently passed law that criminalises same-sex relations, President Museveni faces opposition from within the ruling NRM and from a religious right concerned about what it sees as declining moral standards. Museveni will convene a A meeting of the National Resistance Movement party caucus at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwazi from February 6 as part of efforts to get them to moderate their position on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2012, which prescribes life imprisonment for people convicted of engaging in same-sex relations. The law, passed by the house on December 20, also prescribes a seven-year jail term for members of the public who fail to report samesex activity or those found to be aiding the “propagation of the vice.” Since Museveni has re- fused to append his signature to the law that defiant legislators cheekily dubbed a “Christmas present” to Ugandans, his encounter with the caucus promises to be explosive. Middle ground “The president could be trying to find a middle ground because of the foreign-relations component. We are all human beings, but the pro-gay lobby should respect our decisions because homosexuality is not a human rights issue, we agree that it is an abnormality that also exists in our country, but the Western world do not regard it as abnormality,” said Dr Sam Okuonzi Agatre, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Dr Okuonzi added that the Bill had become a political and foreign policy issue with the majority of Ugandans against gay practices and Western countries that still fund 25 per cent of Uganda’s budget firmly opposed to any form of legislation that criminalises same-sex relations. That leaves Museveni — who, according to party insiders, is likely to push for a compromise that allows punishment of acts that promote the practice while shielding practitioners from prosecu- s he moves to defuse a potentially damaging fall- tion — in a tight fix. “It is not that the whole Bill will be rejected. We do not want the practice on our streets; we do not want it to be seen as a normal practice in Uganda,” Dr Okuonzi said, giving a glimpse into Museveni’s strategy. As Simon Mulongo, deputy chair of the House Defence and Internal Affairs Committee of parliament, observed, the major challenge for Museveni will be to navigate the issue without his intervention being seen as encroachment on parliament’s independence. President’s response “The law is clear on what should be done with the Bill, so we are waiting for the president’s response, because at this moment neither the Speaker nor the prime minister has authority to do anything about the Bill. “We passed the law and we stand by it, unless there are serious reasons from the president. We shall look at it then send the Bill back to him, but the fundamentals of the law remain. We are saying that the law reflects the culture and aspirations of the people,” said Mr Mulongo, adding that the country was willing to brave any fallout such as freezes of donor aid. “We know that the interna- tional community is threatening cutting off of aid; if the condition to aid is homosexuality, then they can keep the aid. We shall always find other willing donors. This is a very strong movement with huge finances that can be used to even overthrow governments, but we cannot let our culture diminish,” he said. Mr Mulongo’s remarks came as Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and House Speaker Rebecca Kadaga clashed over the issue. Addressing a conference of Uganda’s diplomats in Kampala, the PM said it would be contradictory for the country to pass a law that punishes rather than seeks to help sufferers of deviant behaviour. Speaking before the same forum days later, Kadaga fired a salvo at Western governments, telling them to stop bullying Uganda over the controversial law. Although Museveni has traditionally enjoyed total control over his party, with procedural law on their side, KEY PLAYERS PRESIDENT MUSEVENI. He has to assent to or reject the Bill. He will convene a meeting of the NRM party caucus at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwazi from February 6. REBECCA KADAGA. The Speaker fired a salvo at Western governments, telling them to stop bullying Uganda over the controversial law. LIVINGSTONE SEWANYANA. The activist argues that Uganda would also be violating the provisions of international human rights conventions to which it is a signatory. Ugandan activists demonstrate during an anti-homosexuality protest rally in Jinja. Now, the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill has attracted a ‘Shun Uganda’ campaign. Picture: File the House can afford to ignore him and get the law onto the statutes. He must also be conscious of the public mood. He has spent the festive season and the early days of the year traversing the country, congregating with members of the Pentecostal movement over Christmas and presiding over the consecration “Not every social issue requires a law. This is a social issue that requires education.” Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, human rights lobbyist of a new mosque in western Uganda. If his presence at these functions was an attempt to gauge the public mood on the law, he got his answer as invariably, he was asked to expedite its endorsement. In response, he asked for time to study the issue. This has left Museveni walking on banana peels in a confrontation that leaves him few options on a highly charged subject. The law has already attracted a “shun Uganda” campaign led by global figures such as Virgin group CEO Sir Richard Branson. Even if he succeeded in swaying the House towards moderation, it is doubtful an amendment to the penalties would placate Western activists and governments who are totally opposed to the criminalisation of same sex relations. “Not every social issue re- quires a law. This is a social issue that requires education. We are saying that some of these laws will need to be reviewed,” said Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative. In criminalising the prac- tice, Dr Sewanyana argues that Uganda would also be violating the provisions of international human rights conventions to which it is a signatory. However, Uganda’s Constitution prohibits samesex marriage. The Constitution requires that the president assents to, or returns the Bill to parliament with amendments for consideration, or writes to the Speaker notifying her of his refusal to assent to the Bill within 30 days from the date of its passing. 3 MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK & FISHERIES NATIONAL IRRIGATION BOARD ISO 9001:2008 Certified AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ISO 9001:2008 Certified EXTENSION OF DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF APPLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL OPEN TENDER EXPRESSION OF INTEREST TENDER NAME: LEASE OF LAND FOR IRRIGATED AGRICULTURE IN THE GALANA/KULALU FOOD SECURITY PROJECT, TANA RIVER & KILIFI COUNTIES, REPUBLIC OF KENYA TENDER NO. NIB/T/043/2013-2014 1. Further to the publication of Invitation for Expression of Interest (EoI) for the above tender in the local dailies and NIB’s website: http://www.nib.or.ke/tenders on 28th January 2014. November 2013, the Procuring Entity, National Irrigation Board (Board), has extended the deadline for submission of applications from 1200 hours local time on 7th 1200 hours local time on 21st January 2014 to a new date of 2. Interested and participating applicants are advised to take into account this extension of the deadline for submission of applications in the preparation and submission of their applications. 3. The other details, terms and conditions remain the same. Procuring Entity’s Address: General Manager National Irrigation Board (NIB) Unyunyizi House, First Floor, Room 309 Lenana Road, Hurlingham Nairobi, Kenya Tel: +254-20-2711380/468 Fax: +254-20-2722821/2711347/2723392 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com GENERAL MANAGER NATIONAL IRRIGATION BOARD.
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