This morning, a tweet by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party of South Africa caught my attention. Specifically, because, it asserted that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by the 11th Parliament of Uganda “contravenes the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.”
Yes, I am among those Ugandans, and I assume we are many, who had not consciously considered the said bill in the context of the African Charter. And so, I decided to educate myself on the provisions of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. First, I did a cursory reading of all its 19 pages and then I double-read the provisions that I believe have specific bearing to the assertion that the bill contravenes the charter.
Unless the 11th Parliament, doesn’t consider people who consensually engage in same-sex sexual relationships as human beings who are inviolable, the anti-homosexuality bill it passed violates the African Charter.
Which begs the question: Are the proponents of the anti-homosexuality bill aware that “Uganda ratified the said African Charter, therefore has an obligation to take care of and protect all individuals in their country regardless of the belief, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity etc.?” Yes, it is one of the few persons who tweeted in support of the EFF who educated me on this fact; I have not heard or read of any of the current Uganda members of parliament engaging on the compliance of the bill with the African Charter and out nations other international obligations.
It is, indeed, baffling that the 11th Parliament, which passed the technically and legally suspect anti-homosexuality bill, has a significant number of its members who claim they studied and obtained academic qualifications as lawyers. They include the Right Hon. Speaker Anita Among and Hon. Asuman Basalirwa, the author of the bill.
According to Wikipedia, Speaker Among holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Kampala International University; while Hon. Basalirwa holds a Master of Laws from Makerere University Kampala; a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre Kampala; and a Certificate in International Humanitarian Law from Pretoria University. Hon. Basalirwa, according to Wikipedia, is in fact a Lawyer and a Partner at Sewankambo & Co. Advocates.
Two possible scenarios came to my mind. The first, the probability that a significant number of members of the 11th Parliament fit within the assertion that:
Fifty percent of the people running this country are not the best, of whom some possess fake academic papers – obtained from Nasser Street.”Inspector General of Government, Betty Namisango Kamya
The second, the poor culture of reading that is predominant in Uganda and I dare say Africa as a whole. Which could explains why the majority who tweeted in reply to the EFF, criticized it for its plan: “CIC Julius Malema to lead picket against Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill on Tuesday, 4th April 2023, at the Uganda High Commission in South Africa.”
In support, another of the few who tweeted in favourably of the EFF wrote: “For those allergic to reading see attached, but go read the founding manifesto. The EFF has always been against oppression based on sexual orientation and gender identity. you can’t say you are a ground force yet disagree with this March when the EFF founding manifesto is clear. I support EFF’s stance on homosexuality, human rights aren’t for certain humans only.”
Time is neigh for the 11th Parliament and all subsequent parliaments to honour the late Speaker Jacob Oulanyah and adopt the culture of DEAR (Drop Everything And Read). Do so, in particular, case in point, of relevant international charter and instruments that Uganda has ratified, before drafting, debating and passing bills that contravene our nation’s obligations.
Otherwise, the current practice of seemingly drafting, debating and passing bills, without having read up and done research on the subject matter doesn’t inspire confidence. And, it is a form of corruption.