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Deputy AG: I would tell Museveni again not to sign Anti-gay bill

Jackson Kafuuzi in parliament

Jackson Kafuuzi in parliament

On May 5, Deputy Attorney General JACKSON KAFUUZI had a torrid time in parliament while explaining the circumstances under which he advised President Museveni to return the Anti-Homosexuality bill to parliament.

Matters got heated with the speaker Anita Among to the extent that she vowed never to have him defend any bill in a House she presides over.

The two later reconciled but in an interview with The Observer, the soft-spoken Kafuuzi maintained that going forward, he would not hesitate again to advise the president against assenting to a bill if he feels there is a necessity.

How is your relationship with the speaker?

Relationship with the speaker is OK. There is nothing ugly between us. I have known the speaker for more than 20 years while still in our FDC days along with the deputy speaker [Thomas Tayebwa]. We were also together in East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) elections.

So, whatever happened on May 5 may have given people a different impression but I didn’t take the matter beyond the floor of parliament and at the right time I will talk to her to get over the whole issue.

What prompted you to change your mind?

We are human beings and to err is human. When parliament passes a bill, it is sent to the president for assent. Normally, the president sends it to us as the Attorney General’s chambers to look at it one more time. If there is something we may not have canvassed in parliament, be it in the drafting or a clause likely to cause an absurdity, we advise accordingly.

You cannot be an encyclopedia to know or grasp every aspect of the bill. So, my case was not a change of mind per se but it was a discovery that there is something we omitted during the passing of the bill. In 2014, parliament passed a similar law in the presence of the attorney general but some nitty gritties like quorum were not considered. Court went on to quash the act.

My aim was to tie all the loose ends before it becomes law. Incidentally, what I have come to learn about our society is everything is done under a cloud of euphoria without taking time to think through it. And when you think through it, some people think you are wrong. You don’t make such a law in a frienzied mood.

When a bill is presented to parliament, it normally stays there for 45 days but on this one, the committee was ready in just two weeks. That’s okay but all the nitty gritties need to be addressed. We know some members of the international community may challenge the law and go to court but I needed to ensure that in whatever they do, they find a brick wall.

Going by the wrath you faced in parliament, would you advise the president again not to sign a bill you are uncomfortable with?

Honestly I wasn’t happy with how it transpired. However, I would do it again because it is my role to advise the president. I cannot allow a law to be challenged in court, then thrown out and we go back to square one.

It would mean I have not discharged my duty. So, I would do it again and I think the speaker would not be annoyed again because she would understand the context from which I am coming.

The Attorney General’s chambers continue to lose so many cases, some of which are suspected to be out of collusion. How do you plan to address this?

I have reason to believe we are improving and we are only constrained by staffing. We have few lawyers handling wide areas. When the lawyers are constrained, it affects their performance. However, cabinet is now allowing us to recruit and we are doing it gradually as the budget improves.

This financial year, we have announced positions for state attorneys and we hope to address the staffing issue in five years.
Then again, the judiciary is solving the staffing problem faster and this means they are cause-listing more cases than before. But the Attorney General’s chambers, you may find only four state attorneys serving more than 20 districts in a particular region and they have to deal with several High and Magistrates courts. That is stretching but we are improving.

Comments

0 #1 Lakwena 2023-05-18 12:04
In other words, the Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuuzi is a numb soul Pro-gay activist, probably on the payroll of LGBT activist.

Otherwise, since when has unnatural, harmful unacceptable "sexual orientation", which is dehumanizing and humanly a wrongdoing become a human rights worth defending and/or protecting?
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