Another group comprising nine activists, including legislators and renowned LGBTQ activists, has filed another petition before the Constitutional Court in Kampala, seeking to nullify the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023.
The petitioners include Foxi Odoi Oywelowo, the West Budama MP, his Kisoro municipality counterpart, Paul Bucyana Kwizera, Frank Mugisha, a human rights activist; Pepe Onziema, a self-described human rights activist who identifies as a transman; and Jackline Kemigisa, a writer, researcher, and communication specialist.
The other petitioners are Andrew Mwenda, a journalist and the managing director of the Independent magazine, Linda Mutesi, a lawyer, Kintu Nyago, a public officer and Jane Nasiimbwa, a transgender individual. Odoi, Mugisha, and Mwenda were initially included in another petition filed on Monday without their consent.
As a result, their names were removed from the petition, which was filed by the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), leaving only nine petitioners. This comes just two days after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni announced on Twitter that he had assented to the bill, which imposes capital punishment for same-sex relations and engaging children below 18 years in homosexuality.
In their petition, the activists argue that the Anti-Homosexuality Act was introduced without proper consultation and public participation. They highlight that the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, responsible for scrutinizing the bill, only met for six days to consider it, which they believe undermines the principles of the rule of law and constitutionalism.
The petitioners also cite previous court decisions, such as a case filed by Jacqueline Kasha and others against Rolling Stone, where the court ruled that the publication violated their right to privacy. They contend that consensual same-sex acts between adults should be protected unless they involve children or are performed in public.
Furthermore, the activists challenge specific sections of the law that they argue restrict press freedom, freedom of expression, and the public’s right to information. They assert that the actions of Parliament contravene human rights guaranteed by the constitution and international law, including the right to life, equality, non-discrimination, human dignity, privacy, and freedom of expression.
The petitioners seek an order to restrain the government from implementing the Anti-Homosexuality Act, and they request that the Attorney General, listed as the respondent in the case, be ordered to pay the costs associated with the petition.
It is worth noting that in 2014, the Constitutional Court struck down an earlier version of the Anti-Homosexuality Act on procedural grounds, resulting in the suspension of aid and other measures by certain Western governments