Constitutional Court has scheduled December 11 as the date to address four petitions challenging the legality of the Anti-Homosexuality Law enacted in May 2023. The decision to consolidate these petitions and 19 related applications, filed by various individuals and groups, was reached after mutual agreement among the petitioners.
Prominent figures among the petitioners include West Budama North East MP Fox Odoi, Uganda’s deputy High Commissioner to South Africa Kintu Nyango, veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda, Makerere University Law professors Sylvia Tamale and Busingye Kabumba, along with several civil society organizations.
Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, sitting as a single judge of the Constitutional Court, endorsed the Attorney General's proposal to consolidate the petitions. He emphasized the need for a swift resolution.
"If we are to handle one by one, we shall finish in 2026. We need to bring the petition for trial as quickly as possible." he stated.
The court directed the parties to file a consent agreement by the specified date, emphasizing that no amendments to the petitions would be permitted during the trial. Former legal counsel to President Museveni, Mr. Odoi, expressed the petitioners' commitment to follow the court's guidance.
However, before addressing the main petition, the court will address an application by Born-again Pastor Martin Ssempa, who seeks to join the Attorney General in defending the Anti-Homosexuality Law.
The petitioners argue several grounds, contending that the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023, contradicts a 2014 Constitutional Court decision nullifying a similar law and is therefore inconsistent with Article 92 of the Constitution. Additionally, they claim that the Act was rushed through Parliament within six days, violating the prescribed 45-day period. The petitioners further allege that the law was enacted on May 2 without meaningful public participation, violating various constitutional articles.
This legal battle marks a pivotal moment in Uganda's ongoing discourse on human rights and legislative decisions surrounding issues of homosexuality. As the Constitutional Court gears up for the December 11 hearing, it is anticipated that the proceedings will attract significant attention both nationally and internationally.