During their last meeting for the current session of Parliament on Friday, where it was expected that Uganda officials would vote on the abhorrent “Kill the Gays” Bill, the bill was dropped from the agenda. During a Thursday meeting the Parliament did swear in Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni for another term, but the “Kill the Gays” Bill was shelved until the legislature’s next session, which will be the first session of Museveni ‘s new term. It’s unknown whether he plans to vote on the “Kill the Gays” Bill as his first order of business.
The AFP reports:
Lawmakers had been due to debate the legislation calling for capital punishment notably for consensual gay sex where one partner has the HIV virus.
The United States, a major aid donor to Uganda, said Thursday that nothing could justify passing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Parliament speaker Edward Ssekandi said he was “adjourning this house,” effectively killing off the debate over the controversial legislation for this parliament.
David Bahati, the lawmaker behind the anti-gay bill, said that no bills could be passed as the cabinet was dissolved following the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday following a landslide election victory in February.
But he said that even if the bill was not passed this session it had achieved the goal of sparking a debate that would continue when the new parliament convenes.
“We have made important steps in raising the issue and that will continue,” he said.
Frank Mugisha, executive director of the rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), voiced relief over the adjournment, but warned: “We shall continue advocating because the bill could come back next parliament.”
Parliament’s current session ends on Wednesday, but since Monday and Tuesday will be given over to the swearing-in of new parliamentarians, officials said that Friday is effectively the last day bills could be discussed before the recess.
Ssekandi said he reserved the right to reconvene parliament in case of an emergency, but rights group Avaaz also welcomed the news of the decision to “drop” the legislation from parliamentary discussions.