Tuesday 11 March 2014
3.00pm, Kampala, Uganda
Today was a day of stunning resistance with great dignity and strength at the Constitutional Court of Uganda in Kampala. This day came as a great relief after the past few weeks since the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was signed into law by President Museveni of Uganda.
At 2.30pm, the petition, Constitutional Petition No. 008 of 2014 was filed against the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 at the Ugandan Constitutional Court. It was a simple procedure, quickly over, taking place in a small registry within the court building. The moment was a well-timed example of the power of movements. This is how change happens. Using the law to confront the injustice of the Anti-Homosexuality Act and its consequences and implications for justice for ordinary people in Uganda.
A number of activists and human rights defenders turned up at the Court and stood waiting alongside the media for the arrival of the petitioners.
After a false start when the media clamoured to capture the arrival of two white women supporting the action, the petitioners arrived. As they stepped out of the elevator, there was a push by the media to capture the hystoric moment. Professor Morris Ogenga-Latigo, the Honourable Fox Odoi-Oywelowo and lawyer and Executive Director of Ugandan Non-Governmental Organisation, Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum – Uganda, Adrian Jjuuko carried three huge blue spiral bound documents – the petition. About half of the ten petitioners were not available at the Court.
At the press conference shortly after the filing, there was a short summary of the basis of the petition and the floor opened to the press. The petition was lodged both in terms of questions of procedural justice [the Bill was passed without a quorum in the Ugandan Parliament], as well as on substantive grounds, [where the provisions of the Act are being challenged on a number of grounds.]
Here are our top five highlights of Resistance, Love and Power of the political moment:
Ø “This law is imposing criminal measures against consenting adults engaging in same sex relations”. [Odoi-Oywelowo]
Ø “The claim that homosexuality is unAfrican is a lie.” [Ogenga-Latigo]
Ø “It is odd to hear Africans defending Christianity, which was brought here from somewhere else” [O-L]
Ø “When we consider the propaganda around the process of passing this Law, we have no option but to conclude that the motives are sinister.” [O-L]
Ø “I am not just surviving, I am strong!” [Julian Pepe Onziema]
The Petition can be accessed here.
Attached the press statement issued.
Coalition of African Lesbians Correspondent.