Midweek Message

LABC Update – March 27, 2023

Jim Hopkins

March 25, 2023

Brian Byamukama share the following reflection following the passage of an Anti-homosexuality Bill by the Parliament of Uganda.
March 21, 2023, marked a sad day in the history of Uganda. This was the day the Parliament of Uganda, which is charged with passing laws that promote good governance, decided to disregard humanity, tolerance, and dignity that is inherent  to all human beings, and guaranteed by the Constitution of Uganda. The Parliament of Uganda has passed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) 2023 and submitted it to the President for assent. As the political and religious vitriol, scapegoating, and state sanctioned violence against gender and sexual minorities continues to take root in Uganda and many parts of Africa. This odious bill, if assented to by the President, means witch hunts targeting LGBT people, physical and online attacks, despicable and false claims of LGBTI “recruitment of children,” arbitrary arrests and systematic violation of human rights would become legalised and institutionalised in Uganda.
The AHB not only duplicates the harmful provisions of the 2014 Anti Homosexuality Act, which was nullified by the Constitutional Court in August 2014. It also imposes harsh new criminal penalties for offences that will criminalize identity, association, assembly, expression, and the provision of health and other essential social services. This is a retrogressive and unconstitutional Bill that is designed to distract ordinary Ugandans from the fact that Parliament is offering no solution to the crises they face every day: rampant government corruption, unemployment, the failing education system, lack of access to qualityhealth care, and catastrophic effects of grinding and unrelenting poverty. Parliament and Government wants to inflame hatred instead of addressing life and death issues Ugandans face.
The AHB criminalises the existence of LGBT Ugandans, the provision of services for LGBT Ugandans, and the dissemination of information that acknowledges their right to exist and live peacefully as law abiding citizens.The Bill requires all Ugandans to report any person suspected of being LGBT to the authorities and forbids the provision of shelter of a homosexual on one’s premises. This will directly affect BETHANY BAPTIST CHURCH, a ministry we started to accept all people of all races, sexuality and and gender. Currently, 21 LGBTQ persons are under safe custody by our church and I declare to you that the team on ground is now performing an illegal act of sheltering them according to this bill. As we talk now, they have been texting and calling me frequently, asking me on what they should do with the 21.
This Bill means anyone’s identity, how we express ourselves, will be policed and criminalized. Society will be weaponized and turned into the police to forcefully out and report suspected gender and sexual minorities including family members. The right to privacy and minding your own business is now a thing of the past as one is expected to know what your neighbour or tenant is doing within the confines of their homes. This Bill will deny gender and sexual minorities access to basic social services like shelter, healthcare,education, food as mandated by  the constitution, because all the service providers for these have a legal duty to report gender and sexual minorities and if they do not for them to be in jail.
Below is a link to what proceeded in parliament during passing of the bill. It’s a lengthy session about 2 hours and 20minutes watch time, someone has to be patient to critically watch and understand what transpired in parliament that day;
Oh what a mistry Ugandan LGBT persons are going through!
I pledge the international community especially the church to to express and release statements to revoke this bill. I am thinking of starting an online petition to ask the president of Uganda not to assent to this bill but I don’t have the expertise. I will be happy if this can be started and we share with friends to sign this petition.
God have mercy.
Byamukama Lawring Brian
Rural Based Human Rights Defender
Executive Director
Rural Movement Initiative (RUMI)
Official Member-International AIDS Society- Member ID 76656
Pastor at Bethany Baptist Church-Mbale