West Budama North Member of Parliament, Fox Odoi has written to President Yoweri Museveni urging him to reject the antigay bill currently before him saying it has been proven to be against the constitution and other international laws.
The anti-homosexuality bill which had been before parliament for the last four years was passed on December 20th last year.
In the February 13th letter, MP Odoi tells the president that he and a Civil Liberties Organisation-Chapter Four, commissioned an independent law firm to assess the legality and constitutionality of the bill which he says confirms earlier fears that the bill is indeed unconstitutional.
The law firm, which declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, in its legal opinion says that section two of the bill violates fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution like equality and freedom from discrimination, and the right to privacy of a person, home and property.
They argue that by regulating the behaviour of gay and lesbian Ugandans while not regulating similar behaviour by heterosexual Ugandans, the bill discriminates against the former and violates Article 21 of the constitution.
The law firm goes on to argue that section 13 of the bill violates the freedom of expression, conscience and association. It says that by prohibiting persons from promoting or sponsoring homosexuality, the bill criminalises free speech which violates Article 29 of the constitution.
They further submit that having been passed without quorum, the bill violates Article 88(1) of the constitution and Section 23(1) of the parliamentary rules of procedure which state that the quorum of parliament shall be one third of the members eligible to vote.
The firm further notes that the bill violates Uganda’s obligations under the international law saying that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights-ICCPR, to which Uganda is a signatory, prohibits states from violating the privacy interests of citizens.
The firm concluded that as a consequence of being unconstitutional, the president is obliged to reject the bill since Article 99 (3) of the constitution states that it shall be the duty of the president to uphold and safeguard the constitution.
Odoi, who sought the law firm’s services, is a member of the Legal and parliamentary affairs committee which reviewed the bill. He and Kibanda County MP Sam Otada presented a minority report opposing the bill.
The ruling NRM party caucus Members will be discussing the bill today at their ongoing retreat at the National Leadership Institute, Kyankwanzi.