Members of the Ugandan parliament held a press conference yesterday to announce their plan to bypass rules of procedure in order to vote on and reinstate the anti-homosexuality act (struck down by the Ugandan constitutional court last Friday). Led by Latif Sebagala, the group of MPs stated that they were collecting signatures (pictured below, in a tweet from Parliament Watch) in order to build support and petition for a reconsideration of the law.
Sebagala seems to believe that House speaker Rebecca Kadaga should be able to suspend the rules of procedure, which would otherwise necessitate starting the legislative process over from the beginning. The court's decision last week was predicated on parliament's breaking of Ugandan law, though, so it is unclear just how viable an option Sebagala's plan would be. Supporters of the bill are conflicted about his risky strategy but are still adamant about the anti-homosexuality stance.
A group of MPs led by Latif Sebagala said the petition for a re-vote had already collected 100 signatures from MPs. He said that by Friday he believed he would have signatures from a majority of parliament…
In a phone interview, the bill’s original sponsor, MP David Bahati, would not directly answer several questions about how soon he wanted to see the bill brought to the floor and whether it should be passed under rules of procedure…
“Any bill will pass through the procedure, and by the rules of procedure we will follow them and we will pass it,” Bahati said, adding, “We can suspend any of the rules if we think it is important.”
“Whether it’s tomorrow or a week or a month, we will take whatever time is required to make sure that the future of our children is protected, the family is protected, and the sovereignty nation of the protected,” Bahati said. “The issues of technicalities is not a big deal to anybody. But the big deal … is that homosexuality is not a human right here in Uganda.”
Whether or not the bill can be passed quickly, Ugandan officials risk increased tensions and financial restrictions with the United States and other global organizations. Still, the vehemence of Sebagala and the other MP's is disturbing: not only did they share news of the petition at the press conference, they also reportedly broke into song: