In an unexpected development, the Ugandan 8th Parliament adjourned today without the hotly anticipated vote on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The meeting opened with a prayer and a statement read by the Communication Chair. With no other business taken up, the meeting was adjourned.
Ugandan activist, Peter Yiga told Citydesk he believes, “The bill will defiantly come back since all those guys advocating for it will still be in Parliament.”
Bills that are not passed at the close of the session automatically die and must be re-introduced into the next session if they are to proceed.
Dr. Thomas, an Uganda HIV/AIDS service provider says, “LGBTI Ugandans are still using all means necessary to stop the bill.” Tabling the bill for a second year without it being completely denounced he says, “fuels discrimination and stigma by the State.”
This uncertainty marks one of several twists and turns in the bills two year evolution that began directly following a three-day Kampala seminar in March 2009 lead by American Evangelicals namely Bryan Fischer’s friend Scott Lively.
“The public is very bitter,” said Yiga. “People have resorted to beating and insulting us, telling us to migrate to the USA where homosexuality originated.”
Dr. Thomas says, “There is a dwindling number of LGBQI Ugandans who call for counseling for diseases. The few calls that do come in are of distress and fear. This week I have witnessed three transgender people forced to move from their homes in Kasubi, Namuwongo and Keybando.”
Activists say they are doing a better job at mobilizing but still desperately need international pressure to continue. Dr. Thomas said he needs, “UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS to provide genuine support for LGBTI groups as a measure of anti-HIV campaigns.”
Yiga wants increased international pressure to help keep moral high while enduring hate crimes. “The five people that attacked my house confessed they are bitter about the way Museveni is handling the matter,” said Yiga, “and are planning to kill us one-by-one.”
Swearing in for the 9th Parliament is scheduled to begin May 16 with an announcement on May 18 as to when the next session will begin. Speculation is that the break will be about four weeks.