A group of activists wasted no time rushing to the Constitutional Court yesterday, to challenge the Anti-Homosexuality law (2023), shortly after President Yoweri Museveni assented to it. The petitioners include senior journalist and analyst Andrew Mwenda, Budama North East MP Fox Odoi, Makerere lecturers Dr Busingye Kabumba and Prof Sylvia Tamale.
Others are renowned feminist Solome Nakaweesi, Dr Frank Mugisha, Jacqueline Nabagesera Kasha, Richard Smith Lusimbo, Eric Ndawula, William Apako and Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF). Shortly after filing the petition, one of the lawyers of the petitioners, Adrian Jjuuko, told the press that they were challenging the law on two major grounds. First he said, the team had questions on the manner in which the law was passed, as they believe there wasn’t enough consultation with all stakeholders.
“The people who are really affected by this law were not invited to make their contribution by parliament and yet the constitution says when drafting laws you must incorporate the views of the people affected,” he said. The second main ground, Jjuko says, is that the law is in breach of several provisions of the constitution, which guarantee among others equality of all Ugandans before the law, and the right to dignity.
This, he says, is in contravention to Articles 20, 89 (1) and (2) of the Constitution. The petitioners asked the court to issue an injunction preventing the government through the Attorney General from implementing the law.
Meanwhile, as the news of the law quickly spread around the world, US President Joe Biden on Monday evening issued a statement condemning the law as “a tragic violation of universal human rights—one that is not worthy of the Ugandan people, and one that jeopardizes the prospects of critical economic growth for the entire country.”
“I join with people around the world—including many in Uganda—in calling for its immediate repeal. No one should have to live in constant fear for their life or being subjected to violence and discrimination. It is wrong,” he said.
The law, President Biden said, endangered “everyone residing in Uganda, including U.S. government personnel, the staff of our implementing partners, tourists, members of the business community, and others.”
Biden, as such,said he had directed the National Security Council to evaluate the implications of this law on all aspects of U.S. engagement with Uganda, including our ability to safely deliver services under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other forms of assistance and investments.
The US will reevaluate Uganda’s eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) program, through which Ugandan businesses have been exporting goods to the US tax free. Additional steps being taken by Mr Biden’s government include sanctions and restriction of entry into the United States against those involved in passing the law.
Earlier on Monday, it was confirmed that the US Embassy in Kampala had revoked Speaker Anita Among’s visa to the US, and that the British Government was in the process of doing the same. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 041 4674611 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).