Plaintiff’s ready as Ugandan Court Hears Case on Constitutionality of the Anti-Homosexuality Act

Scroll down for daily updates on the case against the Anti-Gay Bill in Uganda.

By Melanie Nathan, July 30, 2014.

Judges inside the Court today
Judges inside the Court today

In Kampala, Uganda, the Constitutional Court heard arguments for the Petition seeking to nullify the Anti Homosexuality Act which was signed into law earlier this year.

Five of the Petitioners were in court: Prof. J Oloka-Onyango, Hon. Fox Odoi, Frank Mugisha, Jacqueline Kasha Nabagesera and HRAPF. They were represented by five counsel: Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, Caleb Alaka, Francis Onyango, Nicholas Opiyo and Fridah Mutesi.

Five Justices of the Constitutional Court included:  Justice S.B.K Kavuma, Hon. Justice A.S Nshimye, Hon. Justice Mwanguhya, Hon. Justice R Opio Aweri Opio, Hon. Lady Justice Solomy Balungi Bbossa.

The Attorney General was represented by Principal State Attorney (PSA), Ms. Patricia Mutesi.

The case started with the lead Counsel for the Petitioners, Mr. Rwakafuuzi introducing the legal team and the case for the petitioners, and informing court that the petitioners were ready to proceed.

The PSA  objected to hearing on the basis that the hearing date had been brought forward by the Court to be heard earlier than the September and so the state noted it was not ready to proceed.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 6.50.55 AM
Fervently Anti-gay Pastor Poo Poo Ssempa shows up to court in his robe and rubs elbows with to 2 Ugandan LGBT Activist Plaintiffs, Kasha and Mugisha. Ssempa’s, son is looking on. Ssempa is married to an American.

After a 20 minute adjournment to deliberate, the judges returned with a ruling that the state had failed to file affidavits that they were out of time, and so there was no basis for the PSA’s assertion. They ruled that the hearing of the Petition hearing should continue.

The PSA asked court to stay the hearing so they could file a Petition to appeal the ruling. The Court heard arguments on both sides and once again decided to proceed with the hearing. Court asked Counsel for the petitioners to submit on Issue no. 1.

Counsel for the petitioners submitted on Issue No. 1 which is the question of the quorum.  The Ugandan parliament did not have a quorum of parliamentarians when the Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed in Parliament back in December, 2013.  The Plaintiffs argue that the Ugandan Constitution requires the Parliament to have quorum as laid down in the Rules of Procedure before they can pass a bill into law. The Rules of Procedure require the Chairperson (Speaker) to ensure a quorum when in Parliament. The Plaintiff’s one argument alleges that the lack of the quorum renders the Bill unconstitutional due to Parliaments  failure to follow the law of procedure.

After submissions, Court adjourned the case for tomorrow July 31st at 9.30am.

This issue could stand alone for a ruling on whether the AHA law is unconstitutional and so how this case proceeds is being observed with great interest around the world.
Picture: Fervently Anti-gay Pastor Martin Ssempa,  known for  preaching to thousands of Christians to promote the Bill at the time it was referred to as The Kill the Gays Bill, showed up to court in his “religious” garb, and is seen here commenting to 2 of the Ugandan LGBT community members who are also Plaintiffs, Kasha and Mugisha. Ssempa’s, son is looking on. Ssempa is married to an American.


n a further attack against gays, the Christian and anti-gay groups of Uganda are trying a desperate move to try and defeat the Ugandan Human Rights defender Plaintiff’s from succeeding to prove that the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law in February of this year, is unconstitutional. These are delaying tactics as many believe the Anti-gay law, once dubbed The Kill the gays Bill is indeed unconstitutional.

The Plaintiffs report update as follows:
“Today, 30th July 2014, three anti gay organisations: The Inter Religious Council of Uganda, Family Life Network and the Uganda Centre for Law and Transformation (UCLT) filed an application to be joined as parties.They cite both the Attorney General and the 10 Petitioners as respondents. Their application is Miscellaneous Constitutional Application No. 23 of 2014. The application is by Notice of Motion supported by affidavits filed by Bishop Joseph Serwadda of Victory Christina Center and Stephen Langa of Family Life Network (the one who hosted Scott Lively the last time he was here).It was officially received by the Court today.The Application has to be heard by the Court after being fixed for hearing. This means that it may not be heard tomorrow and that the hearing of the Petition will proceed. However, it may also be decided to hear it tomorrow since the case is ongoing. “

Updated July 31, 2014 After Second Day:


Today court opened with the State submitting on the issue of quorum. PSA Patricia Mutesi argued that the Petitioners had not proved that there was no quorum that day since the Hansards on which they seek to rely only record proceedings and not attendance. That the fact that the Speaker did not ascertain quorum as per the Hansards does not prove that there was no quorum that day. The burden of proving that there was no quorum squarely lay on the petitioners and they had not discharged it on a balance of probabilities. She prayed that the court dismisses the petition with costs against the petitioners.

The Petitioners were given an opportunity to respond to this, and they argued that it was the duty of the Speaker to ascertain quorum when the issue was raised. By not doing so, she flouted the Rules of Procedure of Parliament. Parliament cannot deliberately ignore the conditions of law making that are imposed upon them by the Constitution which is the Supreme law of the country. That this was an illegality that nullifies the outcomes of the procedure. As such the law should be struck down for it was passed in a manner inconsistent with the Constitution.

The Court then adjourned until tomorrow at 9.30am when they will make a ruling on the issue of quorum.

The significance of this is that a ruling in favour of the Petitioners effectively disposes of the petition since there would be no need to consider the issues of non discrimination, privacy, freedom of expression etc since the law would have been struck down. A ruling in favour of the state would be mean that the Court will continue hearing the matter on the other substantive grounds and make a decision as to whether the law is unconstitutional.

The Legal team remains ready to proceed on all the legal issues.


Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 12.36.51 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 3.23.22 PMUPDATED FURTHER:

NEw PLaintiff seek to be joined


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“no personal opinion, no religious belief, no matter how deeply held or widely shared can ever justify depriving another human being of his or her basic rights…” By Cathy Kristofferson, March 11, 2014 Today advocates from the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRSL) filed a constitutional challenge to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA).  The team […]


8 thoughts on “Plaintiff’s ready as Ugandan Court Hears Case on Constitutionality of the Anti-Homosexuality Act

  1. All I can say is, “what a bunch of wimps” they are…sitting back & hoping/waiting for anything else to “pad their case” so they don’t actually have to “do” anything…little sh*ts, no talent & no real guts. Typical.

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