“We gathered earlier today to dedicate Parliament to the Lord, and I pledged to the country that a bill will be introduced as soon as possible to deal with homosexuality and lesbianism. We shall Jealously protect our cherished values and culture” (…) “Tomorrow, we are going to introduce the bill on homosexuality and I want to request the religious leaders that this time around, be there to see who is who” (…) “We are going to vote by show of hands. You’re either for homosexuality or against it. we want to see the kind of leaders we have in this country” – Speaker Anita Among (28.02.2023).
I don’t know if the Member of Parliament and now Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has read the 1995 Constitution. Neither does it matter, because it is a forgotten text. The one that was the “fundamental change” and game changer when launched. It gave life to the National Resistance Movement and legitimacy. However, with time it has withered and obviously lost value.
Still because of her words… I just have to add two parts of the 1995 Constitution. Just to remind ourselves of the goals, the aims and what is the supposed law of the land. It is fine that the Speaker is a woman of faith and wants to live her life to honour a deity. That is fine and dandy as an individual, but as a legislator and such. She is out of bound with the ideals of the State, the government and her own role as Speaker.
“Article 7 Non-adoption of State religion Uganda shall not adopt a State religion” (1995 Constitution – Chapter 2)
“Article 21 Equality and freedom from discrimination (1) All persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law. (2) Without prejudice to clause (1) of this article, a person shall not be discriminated against on the ground of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, or social or economic standing, political opinion or disability. (3) For the purposes of this article, “discriminate” means to give different treatment to different persons attributable only or mainly to their respective descriptions by sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, or social or economic standing, political opinion or disability” (1995 Constitution – Chapter 4).
Speaker Among can be Christian all she wants and that’s all good. Nevertheless, the 11th Parliament and the Members of the Parliament doesn’t have to be connected to any faith or such. So, to say that she gives the House to God is out of the sphere and function of the Parliament.
I wonder if the fellow legislators have seen these articles or even considered them. The activist lawyers’ better tool up. Because this should be food for the Courts and be tested by law-abiding citizens. This law should be tested, especially when the Article 7 and Article 21 specify certain rights. These rights has to be respected, even if are against or see it as sinful to live with the same sex. In your faith and what you deem as right is maybe morally incorrect in your view, but as society and by law it shouldn’t be criminalized. Especially, when the 1995 Constitution specifically says a individual should be discriminated against “on the ground of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, or social or economic standing, political opinion or disability”. Those words are giving the homosexuals rights to live as they deem fit and they shouldn’t be discriminated against. I am maybe against it by faith myself, but by law they should be allowed to live the way they please. Just like I am allowed and have the rights to live after my religion. That’s why the laws shouldn’t target a minority and one group, which the anti-homosexual bill is doing. They are target today and tomorrow it could be another group of faith. Therefore, it is a slippery slope and when you start… they must demonize more people and make them illegal. That’s just how these things are played out historically.
If the Speaker wants to be Christian that is fine, and I applaud her. However, in this case… it’s the wrong context, the wrong forum and the plenary sessions isn’t made for that. That’s for church or the holy communion. The 11th Parliament is created for legislative agendas and not a prayer house. Secondly, the law itself is a violation of the Constitution, which is what the Parliament is supposed to protect. So, the Speaker and her merry men are violating their own purpose and function by doing so. That’s the interesting part here… and that’s why this got to be tested in the Courts. Peace.