By Paul Canning
Are we winning on the 'Kill gays' bill? The short answer: we don't know.
The longer answer is that reports said the Anti-Homosexuality (AHB, 'Kill gays') bill was to be reintroduced to the Ugandan parliament round about now, some reports said this could happen yesterday, but this didn't happen.
Ugandan activist Frank Mugisha was at Parliament yesterday and said there was no sign of the bill. One report said that the committee which would decide upcoming Parliament business was postponed due to the Speaker being in Canada, another said that it had met and the AHB wasn't put on the agenda for the next session of Parliament.
Updated to add: Warren Throckmorton has spoken to a Parliament spokeswoman. She said she knew of no meeting to set an agenda for business and:
The next step will be for the bill to be read a second time with amendments possible at that time. However, she added, “As far as I know, no agenda has been set for that bill.”
How it could come back is also unclear as Warren Throckmorton has reported that he had been told that the Speaker could allow it to pick up where it left off at the close of the last Parliament in May, which would mean it could be quickly brought to a vote. Other sources have told South African news website Behind The Mask that the AHB must be reintroduced from scratch, that is it would have to go through committees again.
What is opaque is whether the lobbying of the government and individual politicians, which is happening, both locally and internationally, is causing a delay in - or halting of - the AHB's reintroduction.
Some have interpreted the new, loud campaign by Pastor Steven Langa for the AHB, which includes political threats against any MPs who might oppose it, as a sign that its proponents are losing. Langa was the organiser of the infamous March 2009 conference in Kampala which featured American anti-gay religious extremists which some cite as the real origins of the AHB. Langa has also organised anti-gay marches and publicly outed people and called for witch hunts.
Another sign could be the ability of Ugandan LGBT and allies three month anti-hate campaign to get a hearing in Uganda. Organisers are reporting no issue with media coverage and supporters coming forward.