Members of the Ugandan parliament have stated, once again, the intention to pass an anti-gay bill before Christmas.
Latif Ssebagala, the MP of Kawempe North Constituency said that the bill should be considered as a “Christmas gift to Ugandans”.
“What can we do to restart the bill so that we assure our people that we have never backtracked?” Ssebagala was quoted by the Daily Nation as saying.
“I have 256 signatures and I have kept them long enough. I want to lay them on the table so that they become [the] property of this Parliament.
“The ultimate problem is for us to go [on] recess without handling this Bill. It is us MPs who did not do our work. Since we are nearing Christmas and the New Year, we can as well give it as a gift to the people.”
The bill was first put forward in 2009 by MP David Bahati. It originally proposed a death sentence for homosexuals.
The proposed legislation, which was later amended and condemn gay Ugandans to life imprisonment, was dropped two years later, after the brutal murder of gay activist David Kato sparked international outcry.
It was only in August 2014 that Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill into lawprompting many countries to condemn its decision to criminalise homosexuality.
Shortly after, however, the law was annulled by the country’s constitutional court on the grounds that the parliament had passed it without the required quorum.
After a few weeks, the parliament put forward a new bill which, according to critics, will punish anybody who supports homosexuality.
If passed into law, the new bill will criminalise:
Members of the LGBT community who will risk seven years’ imprisonment.
People who own property in which “unnatural sexual practices” occur.
Activists and advocates in the LGBTI community who will be also banned from publishing, broadcasting and distributing of information “intended to facilitate” homosexuality and for or providing funding that is viewed as promoting homosexuality.
LGBTI people who express their identity openly.