Uganda: Parliament 'Quietly' Passes Bill Reintroducing Homosexuality Ban

(File photo).
5 May 2021

Cape Town — Uganda's Parliament "quietly" passed the Sexual Offences Bill 2019 which reintroduced a ban on homosexuality in the country, Uganda Radio Network (URN) reports.

During what was described as a heated debate among MPs, the lawmakers also rejected a proposal that allows a person, who had consented to a sexual act, to withdraw that consent at any time before or during the performance of the sexual act.

The object of the bill is to enact a specific law on sexual offences for the effectual prevention of sexual violence; to enhance punishment of sexual offenders; to the protection of victims during sexual offences trials; to provide for extraterritorial application of the law; to repeal some provisions of the Penal Code Act among others.

Pink News reported that the law "includes introducing a sex offenders registry and making it an offence to use date rape drugs or to release a tape or recording of a sex act without that person’s consent. Although, during committee scrutiny, a vital clause was scrapped that would have allowed the withdrawal of consent before or during sex acts."

Other new measures include tougher safeguarding measures to protect children from sexual harassment in schools and the expansion of a clause to not only consider sex work an offence but criminalises those who pay for sex as well.

Several MPs commented on the withdrawal of consent during sex, reports URN. The chairperson of Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) Pamela Nasiyo Kamugo said that when you realise that the man is not protected, a woman should be allowed to withdraw consent and discontinue.

The latest ban comes after the Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed by parliament in 2013. The law proposed life imprisonment or the death penalty, but after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni signed that bill into law in 2014, it was annulled by the Constitutional Court.

In 2019, government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo denied that the government plans to re-introduce the contentious anti-gay law.

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