Members of Parliament have accused the Attorney General of undermining the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was unanimously passed by the House last month.
According to reports, Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Karugaba Kafuuzi, who is also the Kyaka South County Member of Parliament, wrote a letter to President Museveni “disassociating” the Attorney General’s office from the Bill and advising the President not to give his assent to it.
During a parliamentary sitting, Solomon Silwany, the Bukooli County Central MP, revealed that he had seen the letter and questioned whether it was procedurally correct for Kafuuzi to go against the position of the House, which had unanimously passed the Bill, and why he had not raised any objections at the time.
Cecilia Atim Ogwal, the Dokolo District Woman MP, raised concerns over the President’s delay in assenting to the Bill while the country anxiously waits.
Buhweju County Member of Parliament, Francis Mwijukye, also expressed fears of a pending caucus meeting of NRM MPs to discuss the bill on Thursday at State House Entebbe.
The Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, confirmed that his deputy wrote the letter and urged the House not to interfere with the legislative process, but Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, citing Article 91 of the Constitution, pointed out that the matter is at the discretion of the President to either take the advice rendered to him or reject it and return the Bill to the House for reconsideration.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill seeks to impose severe punitive measures against anyone who engages in acts of homosexuality, including a 20-year jail sentence, and a maximum death penalty for anyone engaging in aggravated homosexuality.
It also prohibits acts that expose children to homosexuality by imposing a 10-year prison sentence on a person found to recruit a child into the vice. The Bill seeks to penalize an owner, occupier, or manager of premises who knowingly allows the premises to be used for acts of homosexuality with a 10-year prison sentence upon conviction.
Also, a person who contracts a marriage with a person of the same sex presides over a same-sex marriage ceremony, or knowingly participates in the preparation of such a marriage is liable on conviction, to a 10-year prison sentence.
Several activists have opposed the Bill, arguing that the law is regressive and does not meet human rights standards.