Melanie Nathan- March 10, 2011
The Ugandan Parliament seems uncertain as to whether or not the Kill the Gays Bill will be debated on a make up session, preceding the new Parliament. From here in Cape Town South Africa I have noticed that the ANC, the President, Jacob Zume and the SA ambassador are all silent and exerting no influence whatsoever to attempt to halt the legislation.
THE Speaker of Parliament, Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi, has summoned MPs to report to the House on March 22.
Hellen Kaweesa, the public relations manager of Parliament, said the clerk to Parliament had already notified all the MPs to return and handle unfinished business.
Last year, Sekandi sent Parliament on recess to allow MPs get enough time for their recent elections campaigns. The catch up Bills to be debated include the parliamentary pensions amendments Bill of 2010, the anti-homosexuality Bill and the retirements benefits authority Bill.
This sitting will be the first since the Constitutional Court kicked out 77 MPs from the House for refusing to vacate their seats before defecting to other parties.
The 8th Parliament, whose term expires in two months time, has remained with only 255 MPs.
This is of concern given that The New Vision’s majority ownership is the Ugandan government. Warren Throckmorton says “I suspect that opponents and proponents of the bill will be jockeying for their agenda over the next several weeks.”
Throckmorton reported recently “that Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Chair Stephen Tashobya was unsure if the bill would come up. In light of the New Vision report, I asked him if the bill might now make the agenda. He told me that the Parliament would indeed reconvene on March 22 but that the agenda had not yet been decided. He said, “What I can say is that we have a lot of work to get done and if there is time to get to that bill (the Anti-Homosexuality Bill) then we will look at it, but if there is no time, then we won’t be able to this session.” Tashobya added that the agenda would not be worked out until Parliament reconvenes and that he could not confirm anything at this point.”
This uncertainty indicates that activists must bow up the ante – any ideas? One is to write to Department of State.
When LezGetReal called the Uganda Desk at the DOS to discuss Uganda, it was clear that the Department is indeed keeping a watchful eye; however one wonders what we can do to be more proactive in our attempts tom thwart the Bill.
Will we ever threaten divestment? Or do we need to wait for passage?
South Africa’s leadership is defying the responsibility bestowed upon it , by its Constitution, as it pertains to the rest if Africa, by failing to pick up a critical human rights issue that has besieged the Continent and is spreading