By Pastor Solomon Male
Friday, 2013 sparked off much excitement in the country when in a landmark decision the Parliament of Uganda passed the Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009 to honor Speaker Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga’s delayed 2012 promise of a Christmas gift.
Many Ugandans predominantly led by the clergy across religious divides not only rejoiced but proclaimed Speaker Kadaga a heroine and her parliament brave, website like this then turned pressure onto H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to assent to the bill, ‘believing’ it will magically thoroughly address the challenge of homosexuality that continues to wreck lives of many Ugandans, especially youths and children, male and female who get lured into it thinking it is a healthy alternative sex life.
Having spearheaded the nationwide campaign against homosexuality since 2002, I feel obliged to guide Ugandans through this critical moment so that we don’t regret the decisions taken. I am not reacting to circumstances or making a U-turn as the Daily Monitor of 25 December 2013 reported, but re-iterating my position well stated in documents to the Speaker of Parliament: the Report And Petition On Homosexuality In Uganda dated September 30th 2009 which spelt need for an inquiry and my rebuttals of the Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009, dated 7/7/2010 and 19/12/2012.
It is important to note that the bill was premised on lies and driven by populism, opportunism and hypocrisy, and accepted by the masses because of ignorance; there are better laws on the Penal code if only they can be enforced; it breaches the constitution and is a trap intended to culminate into the legalization of homosexuality.
The premise of lies that there are no laws:
Whereas there are very good laws on the penal code to ably contain commission of the act of homosexuality and its promotion, the Bill promoters deceived Ugandans that there were no laws criminalizing it. My efforts to write and inform the legislators about better existing laws if only systems: the Police, judiciary and directorate of Public prosecutions could be cleaned up fell on deaf ears because of their distaste for dissenting views: the lies had already won them public applause especially among populist and opportunistic religious leaders and they had resources to foster the bill.
In its Principle, 1.1, paragraph 5, the Bill states: “There is also need to protect the children and youths of Uganda who are made vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviation as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technologies, parentless child developmental settings and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption, foster care, or otherwise.”
When talking about defects in existing law, 2.1, it states, ‘This proposed legislation is designed to fill the gaps in the provisions of other laws in Uganda e.g. the Penal Code Act Cap. 120.
The Penal Code Act (CapI20) has no comprehensive provision catering for anti-homosexuality. It focuses on unnatural offences under section 145 and lacks provisions for penalizing the procurement, promoting, disseminating literature and other pornographic materials concerning the offences of homosexuality hence the need for legislation to provide for charging, investigating, prosecuting, convicting and sentencing of offenders.
This legislation comes to complement and supplement the provisions of the Constitution of Uganda and the Penal Code Act Cap 120 by not only criminalizing same sex marriages but also same-sex sexual acts and other related acts.”
These lies were told at campaign rallies, religious platforms and through the non-analytical media which also refused to carry the credible argument that the country has excellent laws which just need enforcement.
Surprising is that most Ugandans, even when educated hate reading. Even lawyers supposed to be knowledgeable in law read only what they feel relevant to the cases they handle and many don’t know that very good laws exist on the Penal Code. Those who know never paid attention till it was passed.
When it comes to clerics, it is even worse. Whereas some are preoccupied with the spiritual needs of their followers, most, because of commercialization of religion prove to be more of religious merchants who cannot read what they cannot use to make money from their desperate followers. So, when the Bill was tabled, all believed the lies that there were no laws to ably deal with homosexuality and its promotion, hence, my obligation to uncover the lies beneath the Bill.
The Penal Code Act (Cap 120) already handles the vice of homosexuality:
Its Section 145 on un-natural sex offenses criminalizes homosexuality sex activity. It specifically says: “Any person who – (a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; (b) has carnal knowledge of an animal; or (c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature; commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life.”
The language used is so polite so as not to offend anyone but the message is very clear: sex must not be un-natural. In the Bible, Romans 1.26-27, it says: ‘For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward other; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.’
‘Against the order of nature means,’ the sexual organs are not used in the way they were naturally intended to be used: the man’s penis only penetrating the woman’s vagina: not the man’s penis penetrating the anus or mouth of a person or, vagina being penetrated by anything other than the penis or, a person having sexual intercourse with an animal, etc.
‘Carnal knowledge’ is a legal euphemism for sexual intercourse (activity), doesn’t discriminate between male and female and is derived from the Biblical usage of the word know / knew as seen in Genesis 4.1, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bore Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.” King James Version. So when the Penal code says carnal knowledge, it means sexual intercourse.
This section indiscriminately criminalizes such sexual activity and prescribes sentences of life in jail, and under it, cases are prosecuted.
Under this law, His Worship Byaruhanga Jesse R, Chief Magistrate Luwero, convicted on own plea of guilty and sentenced one Kavuma Sadique Fahad, a teacher of Zakayo Musisi Memorial Primary School, Luwero, to 3 years on each of the two counts of sodomizing two of his primary 7 pupils (Nakibinge Ssozi Dan, 13 years old, Criminal Case No 458 of 2010 and Dan Nkoyoyo, 14 years old, Criminal Case No 459 of 2010.
Though because of the ages of victims this offender would have been more appropriately charged under The Penal Code Amendment Act 2007, Section 129, the Police and State Attorney inappropriately charged him here where the sentence is life in jail because under Section 129 of the Penal Code, he would have faced a death sentence. Circumstances tell a story.
When the victims told their parents and the matter was reported to Luwero Police, instead of Police arresting the offender and investigating the complaints, it helped him to flee and then turned to extorting money from them till they came to me. I immediately took up the matter with AIGP Assan Kasingye, then head of Community Policing, who called the DPC Luwero. The receiver said wrong number. When he called the OC CID, he gave same number. When Kasingye called again, he denied having received any call from his boss. Even instructions to apprehend Kavuma fell on deaf ears till we opted for an expose well handled by WBS TV investigative program, Vumbula (available) which compelled them into action and he was arrested from Katosi, Buikwe District.
On the day of court, the Investigating officer brought another young boy to tell court that the two victims were actually lying, Kavuma hadn’t sodomized them. When the Luwero Resident State Attorney intervened on my request, called the file and interrogated the boy, he gathered the boy had been told by the Police to lie. He decided to seek for an adjournment to amend the charge sheet and charge him under Section 129 of the Penal Code: of aggravated defilement (which carries a death sentence) and defilement (which carries life in jail). The magistrate granted the application for an adjournment and the victims, their parents and I left court as the accused was returned to the cells.
Later that day, I was surprised by the phone call from the Resident State Attorney telling me that after we had left court, the accused was returned to court in the afternoon, charges read for him again, he admitted them and was summarily sentenced to 3 years on each count, a total of 6 years not running concurrently!!! The rest is another long story of abuse of systems to prevent justice.
If there is no law, under which law was he prosecuted, convicted and sentenced since law is not retrospective?
To be continued next week.
The writer is the Leader, of National Coalition Against Homosexuality & Sexual Abuses in Uganda