On Tuesday, April 26, President Museveni met the Parliamentary Legal Committee at State House Entebbe led by their Chairperson Hon. Robina Rwakoojo.
On the agenda was the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill which has attracted global condemnation.
During the discussion that lasted over four hours, Museveni said some provisions were ambiguous.
The President asked Parliament to reconsider some provisions within the bill which he said needed clarity before its assent.
According to a letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, Museveni for instance argued that the law should not criminalise the state of one having homosexuality disposition but those who engage in and promote homosexuality.
The bill that criminalises acts and promotion of homosexuality was passed on 22 March 2023 pending the President’s assent.
“It is important to distinguish between being a homosexual and engaging in acts of homosexuality. What is clear is that our society does not support homosexuality conduct or actions,” said Museveni.
“Therefore, the proposed law should be clear such that what is sought to be criminalised is not the state of one having a deviant proclivity but rather the actions of one acting on that deviant or promoting the same in any way,” Museveni said in a letter to the Speaker.
The President added that, any person who is believed to be homosexual but does not engage in homosexuality act or its promotion commits no offence as stated under sections 2 and 3 of the bill.
Museveni’s letter to Parliament was read by the Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa as he chaired the House on Wednesday, 26 April 2023.
Museveni is concerned that clauses 14 and 15 of the bill when read together appear to create unnecessary contradictions which may cause a challenge in implementation of the law.
Clause 14 imposes a duty of one to report suspected cases of homosexuality yet the bill under clause 15 makes it an offense for one to make false allegations.
“This contradiction could present challenges in the implementation of the law and could be the source of conflicts in the society. I therefore suggest that clause 14 be reviewed with the aim of removing it altogether or restricting it to apply for protection of children and vulnerable persons,” said Museveni.
Museveni said he desired that the bill makes provision for rehabilitation of people formerly engaged in homosexual acts but reiterated that his proposal was not binding and could be handled at a later time.
“Whereas I am of the view that the bill should include a provision that facilitates those who have previously been involved in acts of homosexuality, when they present themselves to the relevant authority seeking help in case where their involvement in homosexuality was not of an aggravated kind, should not punishable,” said Museveni.
He added that, “I am advisable that since this is a private member’s bill, my proposal could offend Article 93 of the Constitution. This would be subsequently attended to.”
Article 93 authorizes Parliament to proceed on a bill or motion that does not impose a charge on the Consolidated Fund.
Tayebwa directed the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to reconsider the bill expeditiously.