Editor’s note: For the most up-to-date news on Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill,Â visit our Uganda section.
Uganda’s infamous “Kill The Gays” bill, which would provide the death penalty for the “crime” of being gay, is about to become law, based upon current reports and the surrounding political situation in the staunchly conservative and Christian East African country. The bill has been debated in the Uganda Parliament for the past two days, and may come to a vote in the next 24 hours, which is when the current session of Parliament concludes.
The bill is being seen by many in the western media as a diversionary tactic for a government attempting to regain control amidst an increasingly angry and rioting population — one that is extremely homophobic and anti-gay, thanks in large part to American Evangelical groups, including The Family, that have infiltrated the country of 32 million people, 84% of whom are Christian.
Despite reports that the AHB’s author David Bahati has “conceded” to removing the death penalty from the bill, it remains in the bill’s current form. A surprise move calling for removal of the death penalty provisiuon by Bahati’s partner in the bill’s advocacy, Pastor Martin Ssempa, may have served to allay some concerns, but both Bahati’s and Ssempa’s moves may be chalked up to little more than grandstanding. What counts is what’s actually in the bill when it comes to a vote, most likely within the next 24 hours.
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His Excellency Professor Perezi K. Kamunanwire
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Tel: (202) 726 4758
Fax: (202) 726 1727
Visit this Facebook page for updates.
Ssempa on Monday told lawmakersâ€‰â€”â€‰members of theÂ Uganda Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee â€“Â â€œThe parliament should be given the opportunity to discuss and pass the bill, because homosexuality is killing our society.â€
Uganda ranks number 143 of 169 countries in the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index, which examines a combination of health, education, and living standards. Uganda is also considered to have a high number of people who are illiterate, especially women. All these factors lead to a population easily indoctrinated into religious extremism.
Currently, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) is listed in a Uganda Parliament publicationÂ under â€œbusiness to follow,” which could mean it will come to a vote shortly, as all reports indicate, or it could languish there until the next session of parliament begins.
“There are two ways to read this. The billâ€™s listed under ‘business to follow’ do not always come up for immediate consideration. Iâ€™ve watched some bills remain under this notice for weeks on end,” writes Box Turtle Bulletin’s Jim Burroway.
“On the other hand, Wednesday May 11 is a very significant day, and the vote can be an important diversion. Not only is it the last scheduled day of final scheduled session of the 8th Parliament, but it also happens to coincide with the day in which the opposition leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye, plans to return from Nairobi, Kenya, where he had been treated for injuries sustained when he was attacked by security forces during a peaceful protest.”
Burroway adds that “Parliament Speaker Edward Ssekandi is fighting to retain his position as Speaker in the next Parliament,” and suggests that “MP David Bahati, the sponsor of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, appears to be involved, either directly or behind the scenes, in the Speaker selection process. He may be using that leverage to force the speaker to fast-track the bill for a vote.”
And more bad news. Warren Throckmorton, who has been following the events very closely, writes today, “According to Stephen Tashobya [chairman of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee,]Â the bill is not really dead until May 18. If the Speaker wants to bring the Parliament together to consider the bill, he can do so, even after tomorrow. While that seems unlikely, it is possible. Also, the next Parliament begins the same day that the old one ends. There is nothing to prevent Bahati from bringing a version of the AHB back if he gets leave from Parliament to table another private memberâ€™s bill.”
â€œSsempa and others â€¦ continue to claim homosexuality is imported from the West, is aÂ threat to Ugandan children and needs to be legally stopped,â€ saidÂ Christopher Senyonjo, aÂ UgandanÂ Bishop working to defeat the bill, according to aÂ special report inÂ SDGLN, which writes,
â€œBishop Christopher said he is convinced that the bill will move forward to Parliament and if passed, it will be up to the president to veto it. International pressure from the U.S., the United Kingdom, the European Union and human rights organizations is intense, but Ugandans are being greatly influenced by anti-â€‹gay American missionaries from the Religious Right and from the extremely conservative Anglican Church in Africa.â€
Jim Burroway ofÂ Box Turtle Bulletin reminds that even if the death penalty is withdrawn, â€œthe bill would still remain aÂ potent threat to human rights. The bill would lower the bar for conviction, making mere â€œtouchingâ€ for the perceived purpose of homosexual relations aÂ criminal offense. It threatens teachers, doctors, friends, and family members with three years imprisonment if they didnâ€™t report anyone they suspected of being gay to police within twenty-â€‹four hours. It also would broadly criminalize all advocacy of homosexuality including, conceivably, lawyersÂ defending accused gay people in court or parliamentarians proposing changes to the law. It even threatens landlords under a â€œbrothelâ€ provision if they knowingly rent to gay people.â€
(Image: Pastor Martin Ssempa reportedly showing pornographic images to a group of people including minors.)
His Excellency Professor Perezi K. Kamunanwire
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Tel: (202) 726 4758
Fax: (202) 726 1727
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J6 Committee Announces Plan for Final Report
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack is wrapping up its 17-month long investigation and has announced its plan for its final report.
Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) Wednesday evening told reporters the committee will issue a final report in two weeks, on December 21. A “formal presentation” will accompany the final report, Axios’ Andrew Solender reports.
What form the presentation will take is unclear. Presumably it will not be a primetime televised hearing.
Chairman Thompson told reporters, “there will be some form of public presentation. We haven’t decided exactly what that would be,” Grayer says.
NBC reporters say that date is “a bit later than the committee was hoping and it forced some members and staff to change holiday plans.”
“In addition to considering a referral involving former President Donald Trump,” NBC News reports, “the committee could offer contempt of Congress referrals for fellow members who have ignored its subpoenas, for witnesses it believes lied to its investigators and for individuals it believes attempted to intimidate witnesses in the probe.”
“The report will be a massive compilation of the work the committee has done for the last year and a half, outlining its findings and offering up recommendations and possible legislation to prevent something like the Jan. 6 attack from happening again. Thompson has said the document could be up to eight chapters.”
Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Author Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges: DOJ
Florida Republican state lawmaker Joe Harding, the author of the highly-criticized and some say unconstitutional “Don’t Say Gay” law, has been indicted by a U.S. Dept. of Justice grand jury on federal fraud charges.
“A federal grand jury has returned a six-count indictment against Joseph Harding, 35, of Williston, Florida,” the Justice Dept. said in a press release, detailing an alleged scheme, which included obtaining “fraudulently created bank statements,” to defraud the U.S. Government’s Small Business Administration of $150,000.
The felony charges include wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements.
The DOJ indictment also alleges, “Harding committed two acts of wire fraud by participating in a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration (SBA) and for obtaining coronavirus-related small business loans by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and for the purpose of executing such scheme, caused wire communications to be transmitted in interstate commerce.”
Trial is scheduled for next month. DOJ says Harding could be subject to as many as 35 years in prison should he be found guilty on all charges.
Harding’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis not only signed into law but used, via his then-press secretary to further attacks on the LGBTQ community, doubled-down on one of his key components: outing LGBTQ children to their parents.
The legislation, technically named the “Parental Rights in Education” Act, prohibits “classroom instruction” on sexual orientation or gender identity in certain school grades, but as expected, has been seen as “confusing” and a total ban on any discussion of LGBTQ issues.
Making clear the legislation’s intent, Florida GOP lawmakers voted down an proposed by a Democrat that would require schools create a safe environment for LGBTQ children.
“Those are serious allegations of corruption,” Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith told Florida Politics, which first reported the news. “The courts will sort through that sordid mess but we know he’s made many false statements about the LGBTQ community. Florida parents are forced to navigate schools that are less safe for their children because Joe Harding’s political ambitions know no bounds.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
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‘Plot Thickens’: Trump Ally Claimed He No Longer Had Storage Facility Where Classified Docs Were Found – NYT Reporter
People close to Donald Trump appear to have been misleading reporters as The Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN all broke news regarding the stunning revelation more classified documents were found among items Trump had shipped from federal government offices to Florida – this time, to a storage facility in West Palm Beach.
The Washington Post broke the news that the Trump legal time had hired a third party to search for classified documents, after the Dept. of Justice remained unconvinced all classified documents Trump had removed from the White House had been retrieved or returned.
As it turned out, this latest batch, which The Post now reports were only two classified documents, had been shipped not from the White House but from a federal office building in Virginia Trump and his team had been using after he left the White House.
The Post in its initial story had reported its sources said no classified documents had been found. It later updated that report, including the title of the article which now reads: “Items with classified markings found at Trump storage unit in Florida.”
“Trump’s lawyers have told the Justice Department that the outside team did not turn up any new classified information during their search of Bedminster and Trump Tower, according to people familiar with the process, and have said they utilized a firm that had expertise in searching for documents,” The Post added.
Outside of her reporting with Alan Feuer at The New York Times, Maggie Haberman noted the deception or lack of information her sources presented.
“People close to the former president had insisted earlier Wednesday that no classified material had been found at any of the facilities,” Haberman tweeted, which turned out to be false.
“One person close to Trump previously insisted he didn’t have the storage facility anymore,” which was also false.
“The plot thickens,” observed constitutional law expert and retired Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, “as more criminally mishandled classified documents turn up at yet another venue. Trump’s skeletons seem to be buried in an ever-expanding array of places.”
Attorney Teri Kanefield suggested there’s more to this story.
“The thing to remember about this rapidly shifting more-classified-documents story is that the information seems to be coming entirely from Team Trump,” she tweeted. “Something is going on . . . but we don’t know what.”
“If I recall correctly, the 11th Circuit’s mandate in the MAL [Mar-a-Lago] docs case issues tomorrow. Trump has to not only appeal but also get an emergency stay before that or the Special Master process is officially dead.”
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