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Plot to shame MPs on Anti-gay bill falters

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Plot to shame MPs on Anti-gay bill falters

Dr. Martin Ssempa is making peace with MPs by not waging new war with them as he needs them to pass the AHA law with the required numbers

A campaign by leaders of the anti-gay movement in Uganda to shame Members of Parliament (MPs) who allegedly absconded their duty during the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act back in December 2013, the campaign argues that the MPs failed in their duty to make laws when they absconded the session that passed the bill into law, only to be struck down by the Constitutional Court on procedural grounds of lack of quorum.

The group had wanted to produce a list of MPs who skipped the plenary session of Parliament that Dec 20, 2013 day when the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga asked the House to vote on the controversial legislation.

The anti-gay group was angry at MPs and had hoped that the general public, which overwhelmingly supported the enactment of  the law, would punish the absentee MPs by not voting them back into Parliament come 2016.

They also argued that the country loses a lot of money not only through paying MPs who abscond duty, but also through time and money that is lost in courts of law. For example Lawyers who took government to court over the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), were reported to be planning to demand billions in court costs.  

Pr. Solomon Male of the Arise for Christ Ministries, and a seasoned anti gay crusader, but who had previously opposed the bill for reasons that it was an unneccesary duplication of laws, now says that MPs are a disgrace.

Male said: “They are not fit to be in that House any more if they could not stand with Ugandans in such a matter of national concern.” Male said recounting numerous occasions when both the media and public have complained in vain of legislators continuously skipping sessions with hurting impunity.

Rev. Stanely Jjemba of the Soul-winning and Deliverance Church Bwaise Kawempe Division is in agreement with Male.

He told The Sunrise that: “Such people have no business being in our parliament where they have clearly demonstrated a clear lack of willingness to represent the interests of those who sent them there.”

The move to name the absentee MPs is understood to have caused panic among MPs who now fear the wrath of the public.

Some observers argue that the MPs appear to have sensed the growing public anger and have now thrown their weight behind the renewed move to retable the bill for a second voting.

As expected, the development is good music to the ears of political opponents of the accused MPs as they are leaving no stone unturned to whip up public sentiments to their favor in view of the 2016 elections.  

“Those very legislators should take responsibility for the Ushs 15 Billion court award now being demanded by those who defeated the act, to serve as an example for the rest, now and in coming years,” argued Jude Mbabali while appearing on Martin Oscar Kaweesa’s Radio One talk show last week.

“It would be very unfair shifting such a burden to the tax payer this time round, leaving the culprits to go scot free,” Mbabali added.

Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebaggala, who has successfully solicited signatures to a petition to retable the bill, argued that the December 20, 2013 events should not be blamed on MPs because the bill was not on the order paper of Parliament.

The order paper is Parliament’s agenda or list of issues to be discussed on a particular day. However, the AHA was not listed on that day, prompting MPs who had earlier on supported it overwhelmingly, to miss it.

Ssebaggala told The Sunrise that  ” We are ready to do whatever it will take to bring the bill back to parliament and we have as I speak now,  already secured 253 signatures way beyond the required 125 and more are still coming,”  

However, going by Pastor Martin Ssempa’s comment this week, perhaps the move might help legislators salvage goodwill from a section of moralists.

“It is true they disappointed us but we can forgive them this time since they are now working tirelessly to get the bill signed into law once again. And that is what we want to protect us against homosexuals as quickly as possible,” Ssempa said

Ssebaggala has so far collected 251 signatures way ahead of the required 125 signatures – which is a 1/3 of the total of MPs in the house. NRM Caucus chairman in Parliament David Bahati and his counterpart Hamson Obua have alerted the Speaker of Parliament of their intension to sponsor a new bill.

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