President Museveni declined to sign into law the Sexual Offences Bill arguing that a number of its provisions have already been 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 letter in which the president asked that the bill be reviewed was read on the floor of parliament by Deputy Speaker Anita Among.
According to the president, 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 amendment 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.
According to the bill, a person who has consented to a sexual act can also withdraw the consent at any time before or during the performance of the sexual act.
The bill also criminalises indecent communication and unnatural sexual acts among others.