BY AMBROSE GAHENE
President Yoweri Museveni has declined to sign into law the Sexual Offences Bill and directed Parliament to make the necessary changes and thorough review. The President, according to a letter he wrote and was read on the floor of the 11th Parliament, by Deputy Speaker Anita Among, says a number of provisions in the bill are already catered for in other existing laws.
“I have received the Sexual Offences Bill 2021 for assent. However, the Bill needs to be reviewed because there are several provisions of Act that are already provided for in the legislation i.e. Section 2, 3, 5,6,7,9,10,12,13, 14,15,16,17,18,19,20 and 22. All the above offences are already provided for in the Penal Code Act Chapter 8 on the offences against morality,” Museveni said in an August, 3 letter to the Speaker of Parliament.
The President said the Uganda Law Reform Commission has on several occasions tried to make amendments to the bill but was frustrated by parliament’s legal affairs committee.
“Their (Uganda Law Reform Commission) proposed amendments were presented by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to the Legal and Parliamentary Committee of Parliament but were never considered. Instead of carrying out piecemeal amendments, the commission should be given an opportunity to review all the criminal laws and propose comprehensive amendments of relevant laws for consideration of Parliament,” he said.
The 10th parliament passed the Sexual Offences Bill, which among others, provides for the criminalization of a number of sexual offences; including indecent utterances, gestures and touches to the sexual organs of another person.