Uganda’s anti-gay bill back on agenda as parliament returns

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Uganda’s anti-gay bill is expected to come up for deliberation soon, as parliament returned from Christmas break yesterday, Feb 5.

Gay rights activist Frank Mugisha tweeted that the so-called Kill the Gays bill is listed at number eight under “business to follow” on the Feb 6 order paper.

Ugandan daily New Vision also reports that the anti-gay bill is among pending pieces of legislation up for consideration in a clogged parliamentary schedule. “The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee is expected to table the Bill for the third reading before it’s rejected or passed by the House,” the report states.

In an interview with Gay Star News, Geoffrey Ogwaro, of Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, restated the group’s rejection of the bill.

“We are surprised that even as parliamentarians are continuously being cautioned as to the economic, health, social, political and international relations ramifications if the bill is passed into law, they still insist on going ahead with it. Our only hope is that if the bill gets to the floor for debate, that the debate will be informed and considering of the different dimensions on the issue. And that those MPs who are more critical in their approach will find the courage to air their views.”

MP David Bahati, who has spearheaded the internationally condemned measure, is on record as saying that his government is “determined that this law gets through parliament.”

Addressing the threat that Uganda will cease to receive aid from various countries if it passes the measure, Bahati says the country “will never exchange our dignity with the money from abroad.”

Natasha Barsotti is originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. She had high aspirations of representing her country in Olympic Games sprint events, but after a while the firing of the starting gun proved too much for her nerves. So she went off to university instead. Her first professional love has always been journalism. After pursuing a Master of Journalism at UBC , she began freelancing at Xtra West — now Xtra Vancouver — in 2006, becoming a full-time reporter there in 2008.

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