Hon Monicah Amoding defends the Sexual Offences Bill 2019

Hon. Oboth Jacob the Chairperson of the Legal Committee said that many Bills have been passed in this Parliament apart from the Gender Bills.  He therefore said that as a committee they will have to prioritize all Gender Bills like the Sexual Offences Bill 209 and the Succession Amendment Bill 2018 among others in this remaining period. On this very note he ordered that all the reports should be presented to the committee, signed and ready to be presented on the floor of Parliament before end of February.

Hon. Chair said that the Sexual Offences Bill 2019 is a bill that has taken long yet it’s a very rich bill which is not controversial in nature and not “a women’s bill” like many say but rather good for both men and women. He said the report is ready and urged members to sign and support the bill to passed.

 Hon Monicah the mover of the Bill requested members to support her and UWOPA to have it passed because it’s one law that Ugandans need especially with the increasing cases of sexual offences. She said wide consultations with Members of Parliament, religious leaders, political and cultural leaders, the CSOs, media, academia and government institutions among others were conducted and their views were incorporated in as proposed. In 2015 the Bill was read for the first time on the floor of Parliament and referred to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee for scrutiny. In 2019 the Bill was tabled for second reading but was deferred for redrafting because of the several amendments which were taken up. UWOPA had to draft a new Bill with the amendments incorporated in which is the Sexual Offences Bill 2019. It was read for the first time on 26th November 2021 and referred to the Legal Committee for scrutiny. 

Justifications for the bill

  • The Penal Code Amendment Act, 2007 took into consideration some of the key emerging issues on sexual offences, a number of crucial aspects were still not catered for such as the requirement for penetration in rape and defilement yet there are other forms of sexual gratification that violate others and the narrow definition of sexual act or intercourse.
  • It should also be noted that new forms of sexual violence and exploitation have emerged such as sex tourism; child marriages, sexual harassment and sexual assault among others that are not provided for, such also need to be provided for.
  • The application of the Penal Code Act is also limited, there is need for extra territorial application of the law in order to combat sexual violence on Ugandan citizens by Ugandan citizens and residents while outside the country.
  • It is therefore apparent that a specific law on sexual offences be enacted to provide for the effectual prevention of sexual violence.
  • In Uganda, cases of Sexual Offences have drastically escalated and now over whelming as a result of outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown (From March 2020 to date.)
  • According to the Police Annual Crime report 13,682 children were defiled in 2019, of whom, 13,441 were female juveniles and 241 were male juveniles. Defilements were highest in the region of East Kyoga with 945 cases, followed by Elgon with 922 cases while Mbale District registered the highest number with 317 cases, followed by Kamuli with 274 cases. Victims of Defilement by age group 0-8 years (1,026) 9-14 years (2,100) 15-17 (10,556) years total no. of victims 13,682. In the annual police report, rape cases registered in 2019 were 1,528 and these statistics speaks volume of words.
  • Furthermore, the existing laws such as the penal code and defilement acts do not categorically address some of the sexual related cases such as Aggravated Rape; Attempt to commit rape; Administering substance for purpose of committing a sexual act; Sexual Assault; Sexual harassment; Sexual offences relating to position of authority and persons in position of trust; Sexual act with a person incapable of giving consent among others. Even some of the punishments accorded to such crimes are too light and therefore need revision.
  • In addition, the private members bill seeks to consolidate laws relating to sexual offences in to one law to easy the work of the judiciary, provide for the appropriate punishment of perpetrators of sexual offences and also provide for procedural and evidential requirements during trial of sexual offences and for other related matters.
  • It is our humble appeal that the honorable committee MPs support this Bill for the good of our country. I thank you for listening to me.