By Tausi Nakato
Jinja Magistrate’s Court will on February 29 decide whether there’s probable cause to indict the former deputy head teacher of PMM Girls’ School in Jinja City, Ms Lydia Mukodha, with gross indecency and procurement of gross indecency.
Ms Mukodha is being charged with her alleged lesbian partner, Ms Martha Naiga, with whom she was arrested on March 3, 2023, after parents stormed the school following allegations that the two were promoting the vice at the institution.
The duo was granted bail on May 6, 2023, after staying on remand for over 60 days. However, as part of her bail terms, Ms Mukodha was barred from accessing her former workplace on grounds that she might interfere with investigations.
But during a Court session today (Tuesday), Grade One Magistrate, Her Worship Anxious Atumanya, said: “The defence should file its final submission by January 31, I will give the State one week to respond, that is by February 9, and make a ruling on February 29.”
Ms Atumanya told Defence lawyer, Mr Robert Esarait, and Jinja Resident State Attorney, Mr Moses Atoe, to make their final submissions based on what witnesses presented.
One of the State’s star witnesses includes the Chairperson of Jrop Cell, Walukuba Ward in Jinja Southern Division, Mr Joseph Batenga, where the alleged lesbian couple was staying.
On March 21, 2023, Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2023), which was tabled by Bugiri Municipality Member of Parliament, Mr Asuman Basalirwa. Two months later, President Museveni assented to it.
The law, described by human rights crusaders and the West as “one of the harshest”, seeks life imprisonment upon conviction for gay sex and “recruitment, promotion and funding” of same-sex activities.
The law also imposes the death penalty for “aggravated cases” which include; having gay sex with someone below the age of 18 years or where someone is infected with HIV.