Uganda lawmakers pass new draft of anti-gay bill
Uganda’s parliament on Tuesday passed a new draft of anti-gay legislation, retaining many draconian provisions despite President Yoweri Museveni’s call to rework an earlier version of the bill following an outcry by Western governments.
“The bill passed,” parliamentary speaker Annet Anita Among said after the final vote saw the legislation win approval from all but one lawmaker.
“We have a culture to protect. The Western world will not come to rule Uganda,” she said.
Legislators amended portions of the draft law to clarify that identifying as gay would not be criminalised, but “engaging in acts of homosexuality” would be an offence punishable with life imprisonment.
Although Museveni had advised lawmakers to delete a provision making “aggravated homosexuality” a capital offence, lawmakers rejected that move, meaning that repeat offenders could be sentenced to death.
Uganda has not resorted to capital punishment for many years.
– ‘Conflicts in society’ –
The revamped bill says that “a person who is believed or alleged or suspected of being a homosexual, who has not committed a sexual act with another person of the same sex, does not commit the offence of homosexuality.”
The earlier version also required Ugandans to report suspected homosexual activity to the police or face six months imprisonment.
Lawmakers agreed to amend that provision on Tuesday after Museveni last month said it risked creating “conflicts in society.”
Instead, the reporting requirement now pertains only to suspected sexual offences against children and vulnerable people, with the penalty raised to five years in jail.
The bill will now be sent to Museveni, who can again choose to use his veto or sign it into law.
If he were to return the bill to parliament a third time, a two-thirds super-majority of lawmakers could override his veto, forcing the bill through.
The legislation enjoys broad public support in Uganda and reaction from civil society has been muted following years of erosion of civic space under Museveni’s increasingly authoritarian rule.
The European Parliament last month voted to condemn the bill and asked EU states to pressure Museveni into not implementing it, warning that relations with Kampala were at stake.
The White House has also warned the Ugandan government of possible economic repercussions if the legislation takes effect.
Last week the US embassy wrote to delegates working on funding proposals to tackle the AIDS epidemic informing them of delays “in light of the recent developments with the potential signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act and how it could impact our ability to provide services and assistance.”
Homosexuality was criminalised in Uganda under colonial laws, but there has never been a conviction for consensual same-sex activity since independence from Britain in 1962.
APM’S petition against my election is dead , it died May 26, Tinubu tells Court.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Tuesday in Abuja informed the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) that the petition filed by the Allied People’s Movement (APM) against him and his Vice, Kashim Shetima victory is dead by the Supreme Court decision on May 26, 2023.
Tinubu said that the main issues raised by the petitioner queried ‘place holder’ by Kabir Masari and Vice President Kashim Shettima’s alleged double nomination and that the issues have been resolved by the Supreme Court last Friday in a judgment in the suit marked SC/CV/501/23 between the People’s Democratic Party PDP Vs INEC and 3 others.
He gave the information at the resumed hearing through his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN , on Tuesday. He disclosed that the PDP’S case had resolved the grievances brought before the Court by the Allied People’s Movement.
Recall that the Supreme Court had on Friday held that PDP, or any other parties, have no right to poke nose into how other parties conducted their primary elections and nominated their candidates.
The Apex Court while dismissing PDP’S case described the party as busy body and meddle some interloper and imposed a fine of N2M on the party for meddling into the internal affairs of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Olanipekun argued that the APM’S petition was similar to the case taken to Supreme Court by PDP that was dismissed on the grounds that PDP has no locus standi (legal right) to bring the action in the first place.
He submitted that the APM’S petition is predicted on internal affairs of the APC and that the Supreme Court’s latest judgment had taken life out of the petition.
He promised to make a copy of the judgment available within two days to the Court for perusal on the effects on the APM’S Petition.
Counsel to the APM, Mr Sheu Abubakar said he has not seen the judgment the respondents counsel was referring to and requested for adjournment in the hearing of the petition based on the submissions and revelations of Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN.
Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN who stood for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Abubakar Mahmoud SAN who appeared for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not object to the request for adjournment sought by the APM.
Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani granted the request for adjournment and shifted hearing till Friday, June 2.
Fuel Subsidy: Osun Govt threatens to seal stations hoarding petrol
The government of Osun state has warned filling stations against hoarding petroleum products in the state.In a statement signed by the state’s governor spokesman, Olawale Rasheed on Tuesday, the govt threatened to seal filling stations found guilty and prosecute the operators.The removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu during his inaugural speech at Eagle Square on Monday, immediately after he was sworn in.“Any fuel station found guilty of hoarding fuel to create artificial scarcity shall be sealed off and operators prosecuted for the crime of economic sabotage,” Adeleke said.It added that the removal of fuel subsidy by Tinubu has caused unnecessary hardship for the people of the state.“This deliberate action is not only inhumane but unpatriotic and will not be allowed by the government. To this end, the Special Monitoring Team on fuel scarcity set up by His Excellency, Governor Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke headed by the Chief of Staff, Hon Kazeem Akinleye is still effective and shall not condone any form of economic sabotage.“As from today, May 30, 2023, the Committee shall begin special monitoring of all the filling stations across the state in collaboration with law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders,” it added.However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has supported the decision of Tinubu on the removal of fuel subsidy.The head of the company, Mele Kyari explained that the company had been spending a significant portion of its profits on the product subsidy.However, he assured Nigerians that there was no need for panic buying as the company had enough product to supply the country for the next 30 days.
Fuel Hike: Tinubu’s thoughtless announcement responsible – Sowore
Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, in the February 25 presidential election has lashed out at President Bola Tinubu. This followed Tinubu’s decision to end fuel subsidy. Reacting to the resurfacing of queues, Sowore said that Tinubu’s “thoughtless fuel subsidy removal announcement triggered fuel scarcity and price gouging all over the country.” Recall that marketers and operators have increased petrol pump prices to N210-N500 per litre, following the confirmation of fuel subsidies removal by Tinubu’s administration. In a post via his verified Twitter handle on Tuesday, Sowore claimed that the nation’s elites don’t care about Nigerians. He wrote, “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu @officialABAT thoughtless fuel subsidy removal announcement has already triggered fuel scarcity and price gouging all over Nigeria. This is why Nigerians must understand that nothing good will come out the Nigerian Elite-in and out- of power. They’re always after you. They don’t care about you! #Revolutionnow.”
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