Jail and no Bail Museveni’s Valentines Day gift to gays is making it worse for those who may try and escape persecution when arrested under unjustifiable and unconsitutional laws
By Melanie Nathan, February 15, 2014.
Just when we thought things could not get any worse for Ugandan Gay people, President Museveni and his ruling Party have considered taking matters that could impact gays or those perceived or accused of being gay to another level of human rights infractions. The ruling party majority yesterday resolved to back President Museveni’s apparent proposal to deny bail for, defilers and rapists and then the NRM included sodomy suspects and now “tasked Ministry of Justice to expedite the process of amending the Constitution to that effect, ” according to the Ugandan Monitor,
The publication noted:
Mr Museveni, in a renewed call for the scrapping of the bail window for suspects in capital offences, told the NRM Caucus retreat in Kyankwanzi that the status-quo is encouraging crime in the country. Under the Common Law, sodomy consists of anal intercourse. Traditionally, courts and statutes referred to it as a “crime against nature” or as copulation “against the order of nature.” According to an online legal dictionary, because homosexual activity involves anal and oral sex, gay men were the primary target of sodomy laws.
While the President wants Parliament to enact a law that denies bail for sodomy suspects, he is yet to assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Parliament last year.
Discussing the Justice Law and Order Sector, sources quoted the President saying: “I do not know why the Judiciary is giving bail to every suspect. There is bail to everybody, including the core criminals. We shall do legislation as politicians about this law to determine the categories of suspects supposed to be granted bail.” In April 2011, the President made a similar case for people accused of economic sabotage, treason, rape, murder, embezzlement and defilement. However, this time, he only singled out sodomy, defilement and rape.
When the issue of denying bail first came up, out-going Leader of the Opposition Nandala Mafabi and other critics, however, argued that the proposal on “economic saboteurs” targeted his political opponents.
Caucus spokesperson Evelyn Anite confirmed the latest developments to the Daily Monitor that the Ministry of Justice was tasked to kick-start the process amid cheers from the ruling party members. “The President had proposed that bail must be denied to those who rape and defile others and MPs amended it to include those that sodomise others. The proposal was overwhelmingly supported,” said Ms Anite.
It seems that Museveni is pandering to the popularity of the anti-gay measures that seems to excite his party to point of screams and cheers, as he managed to increase the numbers of MPs who have signed on for President Museveni’s sole candidature in the 2016 party primaries yesterday increased to 215, continuing his dictatorship to exceed its 26th year.
The latest MP to sign is NRM’s vice chairperson for eastern region Mike Mukula. Now it is clear why Museveni has so far ignored his ability to return the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to Parliament with a rejection. Instead he used the Bill to reprimand his possible competition – those who may have stood against him – such as Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of the house, and further kept the Bill in its years long ball toss, as a political weapon, to gain points. His strategy seems to be working.
It is believed that the President has mere days to sign the Anti-gay legislation. If he signs or ignores it, it will become law. He can return it to Parliament for amendment and reconsideration, whereupon it can still pass upon a two third majority vote. he has no outright veto power.
In the meantime over 200 researchers and mental health professionals from around the world joined together to provide a statement of scientific consensus regarding sexual orientation. The letter was in response to Museveni’s call for evidence regarding choice of sexual orientation as he deliberates about his response to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The letter was distributed for comment and signature among various professional and academic listservs during a 3 day window of time. Many more wanted to sign the letter but because they wanted to get the letter to President Museveni in time for his political party retreat, were unable to add all that asked to sign on. However, those wanting to add their support may do so in the comments section or via email (see the letter). Click the link to read the letter.
The bottom line is that Uganda, is now clearly headed toward unimaginable increase in the persecution circumstances of gay people, as the laws seem to be padding up the likely Anit-Homosexuality Bill, to make it almost impossible for Ugandans to escape its drag net and the witch hunts which are starting to increase. Imagine, people can merely make accusation – for example against political opponents or even a teacher that gives low grades, and boom – jail and no bail!