By Ebi Kesiena
As part of an attempt to overturn the world’s harshest anti-LGBT+ law, Ugandan civil society groups will meet with constitutional court judges this week.
The law, which received overwhelming support from MPs when it was passed in March, imposes the death sentence and life imprisonment for certain homosexual acts.
According Clare Byarugaba, an LGBTQ+ advocate from Chapter Four, a Ugandan civil liberties organisation, the activist will challenge the law.
“We are challenging the anti-homosexuality law because it does not pass any constitutional litmus test, and we shall win, because such an abhorrent law whose only aim is to spread hate and institutionalise discrimination and exclusion does not belong on Uganda’s law books and should never have been enacted in the first place.” He said.
Also, Steven Kabuye, a gay rights activist and executive director of Truth to LGBTQ, said: “We expect the judges of the Constitutional Court to act in the best interest of all Ugandans.”
The law has attracted widespread international criticism.
Last week, the US imposed visa restrictions on hundreds of Ugandan legislators and their families over their involvement in enacting the law. No individuals were named.
“The United States stands by the Ugandan people and remains committed to working together to advance democracy, human rights, public health and mutual prosperity,” said US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, in a statement.
“I once again strongly encourage the government of Uganda to make concerted efforts to uphold democracy and to respect and protect human rights so that we may sustain the decades-long partnership between our countries that has benefited Americans and Ugandans alike.”
The US Treasury department also sanctioned Uganda’s prison commissioner, Johnson Byabashaija, over the alleged torture and abuse of human rights of LGBTQ+ inmates at the country’s correctional facilities.
Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, dismissed the US restrictions. At the end-of-year national thanksgiving prayers held at State House on Friday.
“Don’t be intimidated by all those fellows. If there’s someone who doesn’t want to respect our sovereignty, we pray for them, they can go. We have the capacity, we don’t lack anything, the economy is growing so we shall be able to sustain ourselves.”he said.
Earlier, the speaker of the Ugandan parliament, Anita Annet Among, had urged MPs and officials to ignore the restrictions.
“We will continue protecting the family, protecting the rights of our children and our country and we will not live on handouts. My visa was cancelled, have I died?” she said.
Meanwhile, Chris Baryomunsi, Uganda’s information and national guidance minister, said it was “wrong for the western world to single out Ugandans”.