The Attorney General has formally asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss 14 applications linked to four consolidated petitions challenging the Anti-Homosexuality law. Citing bias and partiality, the Attorney General contests the legitimacy of these applications.
The parties include various entities such as the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, Centre for Legal Applied Studies, non-profit organizations, Lawyer Robert Rutaro, Pastor Martin Ssempa of Makerere Community Church, E Tendayi Achiume, the Attorney General, UNAIDS, and VIIV Healthcare Limited UK. Represented by a team of State Attorneys led by Director for Civil Litigation Martin Mwambutsya, the Attorney General argues that these applications are driven by individuals with biased interests rather than neutrality and impartiality in seeking involvement in the case.
Pastor Martin Ssempa’s application, in particular, faced strong resistance from all parties involved. The Attorney General, represented by State Attorney Mark Muwonge, opposed Ssempa’s attempt to join the government as a respondent, citing its incompetence and lack of legal basis. The court heard that Ssempa’s viewpoints on the moral and ethical aspects of homosexuality were relevant during the law’s enactment but weren’t pertinent to the current constitutional considerations regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Act’s alignment with constitutional provisions.
Despite objections from various parties and their respective legal representatives, who argue that Ssempa’s inclusion would lead to undue delays, Ssempa, represented by lawyer Gawaya Tegule, remains steadfast in upholding the law based on his beliefs.
In a separate application, a group led by E Tendayi Achiume, consisting of legal scholars from diverse countries, seeks to join the case as “friends of the court” (amicus curiae). They claim neutrality and offer expertise in international law, human rights, and African constitutionalism, asserting their potential to contribute significantly to the case’s resolution.
These scholars aim to assist the court by providing insights into legal facets concerning human rights and the law’s impact on equality, protection from discrimination, sexual autonomy, property rights, and socio-economic rights. They argue that their involvement will contribute to the evolution of legal principles. The Justices have concluded their deliberations on these applications and are scheduled to announce their ruling at 5 pm Wednesday.
The petitions contesting the Anti-Homosexuality law allege infringements upon constitutional freedoms and dignity, hindrance to the HIV/AIDS fight, and the imposition of severe penalties for consensual adult sexual acts. This law has attracted international criticism, with threats of aid cuts and sanctions against Ugandan officials, further intensifying the global controversy surrounding it.