Uganda MP seeks to criminalise oral, anal sex among married couples

Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa appears before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee on March 13, 2023.

Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee yesterday started hearing views from different stakeholders about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023.

The proponent of the Bill, Mr Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri Municipality), who was the first to interface with the committee, said the act is against the order of nature and that if no punitive action is taken against the proponents, the victims will continue to suffer. 

He also said married people who engage in anal or oral penetrative sex should be punished under the new law.

“I have had an opportunity to speak to some counsellors; they have said of incidences where a man is married to a woman and instead of using the normal address, is using the wrong address,” the legislator said.

“They said this aspect is lacking in the Bill and I want at this point in time to bring it to the attention of the committee that it should be considered,” Mr Basalirwa said.

He also defended the lighter sentences proposed in the Bill, saying they were deliberate to deflate the international opposition.

“I am aware that when [David] Bahati brought the Bill, which was nullified, what the international community and media did was quickly pick it and baptise it ‘kill the gay Bill’ and because of that alone, there was a lot of discussion out there and now with this proposal, they have found it difficult to baptise the Bill,” Mr Basalirwa said.

He, however, said the committee needs to review the sentence to make it more deterrent for the perpetrators of homosexuality.

“So, chair, I am proposing that the sentence be increased to life imprisonment as it is in the penal code,” he said.

Mr Basalirwa also said aggravated homosexuality that includes engaging in the act with a minor, especially if the perpetrator is living with HIV or is a parent to the victim must carry a life imprisonment sentence. He added that those attempting to engage in the act must be imprisoned for 10 years. 

“We want aggravated homosexuality to carry the same sentence as the act and that is life imprisonment,” he said. The MP also said victims of homosexuality must be compensated by the culprits. According to him, while sentencing the culprits to serve the jail term is a deterrent act, the victims continue to suffer from trauma, especially where they were sodomised against their will.

However, Mr Fox Odoi (West Budama North) called the law obnoxious. He argued that there are already legal provisions as stated in the Constitution and Penal Code Act, which prohibit same sex marriage, hence no need for additional legislation.

Mr Odoi also said there is no basis for also stopping a married man from having anal sex with his wife.

“When you are talking about protecting the women in marriage, are you only talking about protecting the anus of the women or you are talking about all the other things I have talked about?” he added.

Mr Odoi said there is no statistics to indicate that homosexuality is on the rise. Instead, he said, the police statistics indicate that the biggest problem is defilement.