SMUG HIV – AIDS Report 2008
SMUG HIV – AIDS – Report Appendix – V Same Sex Sexual Behavior. HIV and Health Care in Uganda
SMUG HIV – AIDS- Report Appendix – IV Gay and Bi Men and HIV in Kampala, Uganda
February 10, 2009 – Behind The Mask
Documentary to feature grassroots LGBTI Ugandans
by Nthateng Mhlambiso (BTM Senior Reporter)
Uganda – Interviews for a documentary, aiming to give voice to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from rural areas, are underway in Uganda. Titled Behind the Mirror, this documentary aims to bring to the fore, challenges faced by LGBTI people at grass roots level such as discrimination and their struggle to survive in a hostile and homophobic society. According to Frank Mugisha of Ice Breakers Uganda many LGBTI Ugandans are treated unfairly, with hatred and lack of respect.
However, this is gradually changing because of the visibility of some courageous Ugandan LGBTI activists, as well as more gays and lesbians coming out of the closet Mugisha said adding that this documentary will show different faces in the LGBTI community and not the ones of LGBTI activists who are always out there. He stated that as the Ugandan LGBTI communities demand space, dialogue, and equal rights, to be understood and accorded the same health care rights like every one else in Uganda, the documentary will put faces to those voices.
In this documentary we will investigate and advocate for responses to the many challenges faced by the LGBTI community in Uganda. It will feature testimonies of LGBTI Ugandans, about their struggle to survive and to comprehend their sexual orientation in Uganda Mugisha said. The documentary is expected to feature various LGBTI communities in Uganda and will address issues such as health care discrimination of LGBTI communities, coming out, understanding of the transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS and will reach out to (men who have sex with men) MSM to seek out their voices. Presently Icebreakers Uganda is conducting interviews to see the availability of people to comment on tape and is also planning to start fundraising for the documentary.
Asked if it will not be a problem for LGBTI people to be identifiable on the documentary because of the risks involved Mugisha said identities will be concealed for those who are not comfortable but said many targeted people feel that it is about time that they show their faces. Mugisha said the documentary will be showcased on film festivals, pride marches, on human rights conferences as well as on demonstrations organised by the Ugandan LGBTI community. To support Icebreakers Uganda on this pioneering project contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 23, 2009 – PinkNews
Training seminar for Ugandans fighting against ‘promotion’ of homosexuality
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
American fundamentalist Christians who advocate "ex-gay" treatments will speak at a three-day conference in Uganda next month. The event has been organised by a Kampala-based "moral watchdog," Family Life Network. Stephen Langa, the group’s director, said that Uganda "is now under extreme pressure from homosexual groups to de-criminalise homosexuality," according to ugpulse.com "He says homosexuals in the country were boosted by a December 2008 court victory which declared that it is unconstitutional to discriminate against homosexuals and that they should enjoy the same rights as enjoyed by other Ugandans. Langa in a statement today said several homosexual groups are active in Uganda and are busy recruiting school boys and girls at an alarming rate using a variety of methods."
The seminars from March 5th to 7th cost 25,000 (£8.66) Ugandan shillings per day and will provide "insight on the causes and treatment of homosexuality; provide practical tips on how to prevent homosexuality behaviour in youth; expose the homosexual agenda, their tactics, strategy and methods of recruitment; and provide information and guidelines on how to respond to the homosexual agenda in an organisation, community or nation."
American guests include Dr. Scott Lively, who runs the California-based Abiding Truth Ministries, Don Schmierer from International Healing Ministries and Caleb Lee Brundidge, "a dreadlocked ‘former’ homosexual who claims he is cured and now works as a mentor of homosexuals looking for a cure." All are proponents of "praying away the gay," and believe that gay people can be "turned" straight through their interventions. In 2005 Uganda became the first country in the world to introduce laws banning same-sex marriage.
Section 140 of Uganda’s penal code carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for homosexual conduct, while Section 141 punishes ‘attempts’ at carnal knowledge with a maximum of seven years of imprisonment. Section 143 punishes acts of "gross indecency" with up to five years in prison, while a sodomy conviction carries a penalty of 14 years to life imprisonment. President of Uganda Kaguta Yoweri Museveni and other officials have spoken out against homosexuals on numerous occasions. During his time in office LGBT Ugandans have been repeatedly threatened, harassed or attacked. Many have fled the country.
In Decemebr the Uganda Hight Court issued a ruling in favour of LGBT activists in their suit against the Attorney General of Uganda, citing constitutional violations of the rights to privacy, property and the fundamental rights of women. It was the first time a gay or lesbian person had brought the authorities to court. In July 2005 the house of Victor Juliet Mukasa, of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), was raided in the middle of the night by local government officials who seized documents and other material. Another lesbian activist, Yvonne Oyoo, a Kenyan student who was in Ms Mukasa’s house on the night of the raid, was arrested and detained by local government officials and then taken to a police station. There she was stripped, supposedly in order to confirm she was a woman, and fondled and sexually harassed by police officers.
After the Ugandan government failed to investigate or take any action to remedy the wrongs that had occurred, Ms Mukasa and Ms Oyo filed a private suit against the Attorney General. In her ruling Justice Stella Arach acknowledged that the government was not directly responsible for the actions of the local official, an elected town councilor, but nevertheless held the Attorney General’s office responsible for the actions of the police. Justice Arach cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention of the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and key human rights treaties that had been violated by the police’s actions. She ordered that Ms Oyoo and Ms Mukasa be paid £4,700 in damages.
March 8,2009 – iol.co.za
Anti-homosexuality group formed in Uganda
Kampala – Anti-gay activists in Uganda on Saturday formed a pressure group to discourage homosexuality, following a two-day conference of religious leaders, teachers and social workers in the capital Kampala. The group, to be called the Anti-Gay Task Force, is intended to "fight against the spread of homosexuality and lesbianism in the country," spokesperson for the group Stephen Langa told reporters. Same sex-relationships and marriages are illegal in Uganda, and human rights groups have criticised the government for harassing homosexuals. The task-force said that it would one day "wipe out" gay practices in the African state. – Sapa-dpa
March 12, 2009 – DailyQueerNews.com
EU Group Condemns Ugandan Conference
by Jim Burroway, Box Turtle Bulletin
A European Parliament intergroup has issued a press release condemning the Ugandan anti-gay conference, and called out the three Americans by name: European Parliament’s Intergroup condemns Ugandan parliamentarians for meeting anti-human rights militants.European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights strongly condemns the meeting of 5 March between several Ugandan parliamentarians and Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Stephen Langa of the USA and Uganda-based groups working to diminish human rights of LGBT persons.
“It is very sad that representatives of Ugandan parliament who should work for the rights of every Ugandan citizen, gravely discredit themselves by meeting people who work to spread hate and diminish rights of other human beings”, said Michael Cashman, President of the Intergroup. “It would never be acceptable for any member of the European Parliament to meet for example representatives of Ku Klux Klan thus I do not understand the rational of those Ugandan parliamentarians who agreed to the meeting with anti-gay militants.”
Raúl Romeva, Vice-President of the Intergroup for the GREENS/EFA added, “If these Ugandan parliamentarians are serious about respecting the constitution of their country and in particular Chapter 4 on Protection and promotion of fundamental and other human rights and freedoms, they should instead be working towards abolishing those discriminatory laws of Uganda which still deny full human rights to gay and lesbian citizens.”
Don Schmierer is a board member of Exodus International. This is the first time that I’m aware of that an activity by an Exodus board member has earned the condemnation of an official governmental committee. Today marks the tenth day since we made Exodus president Alan Chambers aware of the actions of a board member. We still hear nothing but silence from Exodus.
23rd March, 2009 – NewVision.co.ug
Oundo addresses parents at Hotel Triangle Kampala where he confessed to recruiting students
by Paul Kiwuuwa
A man shocked parents on Sunday when he confessed to recruiting schoolchildren into homosexuality as part of a programme to promote the practicein Ugandan schools.George Oundo said funders gave them “much money” and training abroad andthat he would target mostly the needy children who had problems of tuitionand pocket money and “others who like outings.” Oundo warned parents to know their children’s friends. Homosexuals, headded, were targeting mostly children “because they are easy to initiateand they like easy things”.Oundo said he got seriously involved in promoting homosexuality in 2003.
“I was taken to Nairobi for training,” he said. “I used to supply pornographic materials in form of books and compact discs showing homosexuality to young boys in many schools,” he explained. The training, he said, was facilitated by Gay and Lesbian Coalition. “I also got the pupils’ telephone contacts. We used to meet with both girls and boys in schools during ceremonial parties,” he asserted. He said he only stopped his activities after becoming a Born-again Christian. He told all this to about 50 parents attending a seminar at Hotel Triangle, Kampala on Sunday. It was organised by Family LifeNetwork, a local charity which promotes family values. Oundo said he got saved at Pastor Martin Sempa’s church, the Inter-FaithRainbow Coalition against Homosexuality, based at Makerere University Kampala. Oundo asserted that he had been a renown gay and lesbian activist for five years and had operated under the umbrella group, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).
He said he had taken on the female role and his name was Georgina. “Praise God. Recently I realised that I have been victimising young people into devilish ways,” Oundo said. “I confess before the parents of the victimised children and they should forgive me.” He hoped to go back to his former school, Muyenga High (Jinja), where he recruited many students and repent. He said he was initiated into the vice at 12 by friends like Victor Mukasa, a gay activist, after his parents separated and he was being raised by a single mother.“I was brought up in a poor family. Lack of parental care, love and the loneliness may have led me to join gay activities,” he added. Oundo said he experienced a transgender transition because he “wanted to be a woman”.
“Just go to the Internet and Google the name Georgina and you will see how I have been defending gay activism,” he explained. Oundo said homosexuality was spread by international human rights organisations. He said after he denounced the gay activities, he received threats from a gay activist who accused him of betrayal. George ‘Georgina’ Oundo and another gay activist, “Brenda” Kiiza, were arrested on September 10, 2008, for “recruiting homosexuals”. But they were released on September 18, 2008 after their lawyer and the international human rights organisation, Human Rights Watch, protested.In July 2005, local government officers raided the home of Juliet Victor Mukasa, the former chairperson of SMUG.
They seized documents and arrested another lesbian activist. Mukasa sued for torture and court awarded her damages. Gay rights activists have become more vocal in their campaign for recognition and have featured prominently at international conferences, particularly relating to HIV/AIDS. Last year, education minister Namirembe Bitamazire announced an investigation into homosexuality in schools following complaints by MPsthat the illegal activity was rampant in schools. The Uganda AIDS Commission chief, Kihumuro Apuuli, also noted at the time that schools had become a breeding ground for the vice, which targets youth aged between 15 and 24. He said parents and guardians had a big responsibility to inculcate African values into their children. Sodomy is a crime under the penal code and the Constitution prohibits “marriage between persons of the same sex”. Pastors of Pentecostal churches last week called for a commission of inquiry into allegations of sodomy and homosexuality in churches. Other pastors yesterday told journalists in Kampala the war against sodomy would be long and challenging but must be fought.
March 24, 2009 – New Vision
Uganda: Anti – Religious groups continue the fight on homosexuality
This is to refer to the article that was published by the New Vision onthe 24th March 2009
“Homosexual admits recruiting students”. Mr. George Oundo commonly known as Georgina a well known gay transgender man, who we believe has been compromised by the Family Life Network – FLNand other anti – gay religious groups in Uganda, George has confessed to recruiting people into homosexuality.The information these groups are using and spreading to the Ugandan Society is totally false intending to destroy the Ugandan LGBTI movement. SMUG does not recruit people into homosexuality as stated in the NewVision article.
Back Ground: The Family Life Network – FLN, on Thursday, 19th March 2009, launched theAnti – gay task force in Kampala – City Uganda. This launch follows a recently concluded Anti – homosexuality seminar in Uganda 5th to 7th March 2009. On the 21:00hrs News on Thursday, 19th March 2009. WBS a local television station in Uganda – reported that, “Family Life Network FLN and the Uganda Joint Christian Council have launched the campaign to cab homosexuality in higher institutions”. According the news FLN falsely accused Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG, of having received 1.2 billion Uganda Shillings from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and other organizations in UK, saying these funds were to promote homosexuality in Schools. FLN also said they will publish a list all homosexuals in all institutions including government institutions, and they will stop at nothing to stop this vice in Uganda.These allegations are all false spearheaded by anti – religious groups in Uganda to promote homophobia and silence the Ugandan LGBTI movement.
An Open Letter of Encouragement to SMUG and LGBT people in Uganda
by Rev. Michael Kimindu
Dear Brothers and Sisters of SMUG (Sexual Minorities of Uganda): Ugandan Homosexuals Claim to be Healed
Information reaching us (Other Sheep East Africa) from Uganda has revealed a group of individuals there claiming to have been homosexual, but now cured, some within a space of two weeks. They have also charged that homosexuality is Western and un-Christian.
Extensive Studies and African History are Overlooked
This group is ignoring, or may not even be aware of, much scientific, psychological, psychiatric and theological research in this area. Their further claim that homosexuality never existed in Africa before colonization is another display of ignorance.
Those Claiming to be healed: How is the Spirit of Christ now being demonstrated?
And furthermore, if they are healed, why do they talk of fighting those who are yet to find cure? Why not take the message of cure to them in a Christian manner? If they used to recruit people, whatever that means, let them go and apologize to those they recruited and make peace. They may as well offer themselves to the police for arrest and subsequent charges and imprisonment.
We have suffered and we are now suffering … until justice is realized
May this message be communicated to these brothers and sisters: that we who are activists on behalf of LGBT people have suffered much through discrimination, stigma and even physical violence; and that we seek justice, acceptance and inclusion for all. This we believe is central to the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is also what any civilized community should offer to its members.
Let us pray … and render evil to no one On behalf of Other Sheep East Africa, and the Executive Director of Other Sheep, be assured of our prayers at this very trying time.
Remember to not pay evil for evil, but stand firm with the truth.
Rev. Michael Nzuki Kimindu
Coordinator, Other Sheep East Africa
March 31, 2009 – PinkNews
Ugandan gay rights event ‘sparsely attended’
by Sophie Wilkinson
Fewer than 20 openly LGBT Ugandans attended a public protest in Kampala calling for equal rights. Speaking at the protest in the capital of the east African country, lesbian activist Jacqueline Masha said "We are law-abiding citizens. We deserve equal rights and protection under the law and constitution." Ugandan law deems homosexuality as illegal. Despite there being no known cases of lesbians or gays being convicted, legislation states that perpetrators of this ‘crime’ can expect to face a penalty of up to seven years’ imprisonment.
"Uganda is a Christian country," said Minister of State for Ethics Nsaba Buturo. "We don’t believe in homosexuality. We love the gays and homosexuals but we hate their activities. We want to help them to get rehabilitated." According to Associated Press, the protestors, all but one of whom were female, told of their experiences of homophobia at the hands of church officials and ordinary Ugandans. Masha has been victimised by verbal taunts, such as "pig," "inhuman" and "un-Ugandan."
Victor Mukasa, described being publicly stripped naked and taunted by a pastor and his congregation as they attempted to ‘exorcise’ her. Mukasa remains proud: "That did not stop me from being a lesbian." Activists say Uganda, with a population of 31 million, has some 500,000 gays and lesbians. Ugandan officials have previously blamed Europe for ‘spreading’ homosexuality.
Last year, Ugandan Bishop Luzinda said: "I have been hearing that gays are demanding that the government should legalise their activities. This is absurd because God created a man and woman so that they can produce and fill this world. "The government should not be tempted to legalise this backward culture which is bound to destroy this country. "Not all that comes from Europe is superior and must be taken up by us."
31 March 2009 – From: Sexual Minorities of Uganda
LGBTI Ugandans Hold a Press Conference to Refute Foreign Homophobes
In response to the hostility by different anti–gay groups in Uganda spearheaded by the American-based Family Life Network (FLN) and religious leaders,the Gay,Lesbians, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Ugandans have come out and held a huge press conference in Kampala city Uganda.Through the press conference we informed Ugandans that, we do not recruit people into homosexuality as alleged by the anti – gay groups in Uganda.
The situation is still hostile, minutes after holding our press conference, the anti gay religious groups with ex- gay Ouudo George also held a press conference. In the press conference they ‘outed’ more LGBTI people, our partners and uttered continuous false accusations, insults and threats. We thank all our partners, who supported us today at the press conferenceand ask you to continue with the support, as we handle this matter. Sexual Minorities Minorities Uganda – SMUG will continue to update youwith more observations.
Press Release: 31 March 2009
From: Sexual Minorities of Uganda(SMUG)
To: Fellow Citizens of Uganda
Over the past few weeks, very serious allegations of ‘recruitment’ intohomosexuality, have been leveled against Homosexual Citizens ofUganda by various people and institutions.We have been accused of accepting huge amounts of money for the so called‘recruitment’ drives, by the Family Life Network (FLN).We affirm that we are homosexual. That means that we are different in sexual orientation from most of our fellow Ugandans. That does not make us criminals. We, like all other Ugandans, are responsible and law abiding citizens. Homosexual Ugandans do not condone or support recruitment of people into homosexuality at any level. We strongly and fiercely condemn it. We know that sexual orientation is not changeable. We are homosexuals and cannot change. In the same way, we cannot change heterosexuals into homosexuals.
We cannot recruit. We Cannot, Do Not, Have Never, And Will Never ‘recruit’.
We can only deduce that those leveling these claims aim to inflame the public against us, a minority group.The allegation that we receive huge amounts of money for the so called ‘recruitment’ services is simply ridiculous. We do not receive any money for ‘recruitment’. It is absurd that some assume we would be paid to do something impossible.We strongly affirm that these allegations are not only false and ridiculous, they are also far from the truth. Our campaign for gay rights is rooted in the fact that, as Ugandans,we deserve the respect and protection of the law, just like all other Ugandans. We do not deserve to be discriminated against. We do not deserve to be criminalized. We do not deserve to be treated as criminals simply because we are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Inter-sex.We call upon all Ugandans to reject this campaign of falsehoods, inflammatory statements and hatred.
Ours is a peaceful plea to inform fellow Ugandans about us, to have attitudes changed, so that fellow citizens do not think that we are, as we have been accused of being; ie.insane, pigs, sick, inhuman, un-natural, un-Ugandan and un-African.We are fellow Ugandans. We deserve equal rights and protection under the Law and Constitution. We don’t deserve to be demonized and falsely accused in the name of ignorance of who and what we are. For and on behalf of all the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Inter-sex, People of Uganda.
For God and My Country!
Frank Mugisha Chairperson Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUGP.O. Box 70208, Clock Tower Kampala – Uganda EA.Email:email@example.com Tel: +256772616062
April 3, 2009 – PinkNews
Uganda accuses UN of spreading homosexuality
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Ugandan ethics minister James Nsaba Buturo has accused United Nations member countries of being involved in a covert mission to ‘impose’ homosexuality’ on other nations. Speaking at a press conference today, he also said that Uganda will not bow to international pressure to adopt gay rights. According to DPA, Mr Buturo told reporters: "At the United Nations there are attempts by some nations to impose homosexuality on the rest of us. We have learned that they want to smuggle in provisions on homosexuality."
He added: "Yesterday I spoke to [Uganda’s UN] ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda and reminded him of Uganda’s position, which opposes legalisation of homosexuality. It is the duty of Ugandans to be vigilant because agents of immorality are busy using all lies and deceptions to hurt our society."
The minister claimed that people were being recruited to become gay, saying: "Many lies are being peddled. Such lies include foolish claims that some people are born as homosexuals. They are busy enticing Ugandans to join them. This is causing great concern among Ugandans." Ugandan LGBT groups have hit back at claims they are "recruiting" school children into homosexuality.
In a statement this week, they said: "We know that sexual orientation is not changeable. We are homosexuals and cannot change. "In the same way, we cannot change heterosexuals into homosexuals. We cannot recruit. We cannot, do not, have never and never will ‘recruit’. We can only deduce that those levelling these claims aim to inflame the public against us, a minority group."
A number of speakers have appeared at events in recent weeks claiming to have "quit" homosexuality and confessing to previous bribery of children to "turn gay". At a press conference earlier this week, Victor Mukasa, the coordinator of the Uganda Minority Sexual Rights group, attacked Stephen Langa of Family Life Network for spreading the allegations of gay recruitment. He claimed the ‘former’ homosexuals presented by Christian groups have been paid to fuel hate against gays.
Activists say Uganda, with a population of 31 million, has some 500,000 gays and lesbians.
25th March 2009 – New Vision
Eight denounce homosexuality
by Moses Mulondo
Eight more men yesterday confessed involvement in homosexuality and gay activities, which they said they had abandoned. Speaking to journalists at the Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala, the youthful men described homosexuality as abnormal and anti-Christian, and declared war against it. The tough-talking men were accompanied by George Oundo, who earlier in the week denounced homosexuality and confessed recruiting school children into the practice.
“We have been involved in recruiting homosexuals, spreading the gospel of homosexuality, and we know the operations of homosexuals,” said 27-year-old Emma Matovu, who took to homosexuality 13 years ago. “We shall do all it takes to eliminate the practice in Uganda.” Matovu, who said he abandoned the practice two weeks ago, asserted: “Homosexuality is dangerous and dehumanising but is growing fast in Uganda.”
He urged the Government and all concerned citizens to “wake up now before this abnormal practice is made to appear normal as the case has been in the West”. Another former homosexual, Charles Asiimwe, said the practice had spread to government offices, churches, schools and hotels. “Many business moguls are involved,” Asiimwe said.
Oundo said the eight men would fight the vice because they were victims with a tormenting experience. “We shall expose those who refuse to abandon the practice and we shall not be intimidated because we are protected by Jesus,” he asserted. “We know their operations, including a restaurant in the city centre where homosexuals wait for clients from nearby hotels.” He urged his former partners to abandon the practice, saying Uganda should become a role model in fighting the “barbarism”. He called on Juliet Mukasa, the head of the Sexual Minorities in Uganda (SMUG), Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo, a gay rights activist and headmaster Kisule (other name withheld) to abandon the practice.
SMUG brings together lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex activists in Uganda. Addressing the press conference, Family Life Network chief Stephen Langa read a statement from parents and concerned citizens, urging the Government to establish a probe to assess the prevalence of homosexuality in Uganda. “We want a confidential platform to be provided for abused children to speak out without being stigmatised,” the parents suggested. Langa said his group would move around the country convincing parents to sign a petition to be handed to the President and Parliament on April 7. He said the petition will demand urgent steps to be taken against homosexuality in Uganda.
Top Homos in Uganda Named
Dear Other Sheep Reader,
As you may know, Jose Ortiz and I were in Uganda in 2007 and 2008. We met many gay Christians while there. Many of these Ugandans, if not most, hold still — or did at one time — a personal faith which they deeply confessed. This open journalistic hatred of people whose sexual orientation makes up the minority is irresponsible reporting and culpable maligning whereby the very lives, relationships and livelihood of innocent individuals are put at risk.
These journalists are mislead, uninformed in the area of the social sciences, and on a "religious" mission of some kind in which they believe the elimination of a group of people must be invoked in order for their societal objectives to be achieved. They are calling for the creation of a society in which an innocent minority must be expelled. These journalists are flirting with the dangers of what their neighboring county – Rwanda – once endured: to pit friend against friend to the degree that violence could erupt.
Every religious person in Africa and in the West must call for a halt to this kind of reporting, especially a call from evangelicals in whatever country they reside because, for the most part, Uganda is an evangelical country. Therefore, evangelicals everywhere must lift their voices and say, "this is not how evangelicals – or any people of faith – treat another people." Uganda’s evangelical faith is fast becoming the Puritans’ dark hour at Salem in which one Bible text overrode every other text – ‘to not permit a witch to live.’ Death-to-the-homosexual rides on the crest of the abusive use of a Leviticus passage and the misunderstood story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The "holy" war against homosexuals is unbecoming of Jesus, whose mission often centered on correcting religious leaders over their zealous applications of the Hebrew Scriptures against oppressed minorities.
Never in my whole life as an evangelical would I have endorsed a "witch-hunt" list of names. Yes, I would have attacked ideas that I felt were undermining society, but never would I have attacked individuals, as these journalists do, so that lives are put at risk. What is happening in Uganda is unchristian — in whatever narrow sense or very broad sense one may say it means to be Christian. There is nothing Christian about what these journalists have done in creating their published list of homosexuals.
It is time for evangelicals to raise their voice against their fellow evangelicals in Uganda: "Stop the witch-hunt! Never in the name of Jesus! Never in the name of religion!"
May 4, 2009 – Box Turtle Bulletin
Uganda Gays Arrested, Blackmail Attempts Reported
by Jim Burroway
The situation in Uganda shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. The Uganda press continues to play up the time-honored gays-as-child-predators slander, with the claim that the only reason for repeated generations of gay people is that they must “recruit” the next generation. While that’s going on, Uganda’s Parliament appears poised to consider strengthening its already draconian law against homosexual acts. That action has the backing of Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni. Current law already provides a maximum lifetime sentence for conviction of participating in same-sex relations. This latest efforts appear aimed at making the condition of homosexuality itself illegal.
We now have media reports of one gay couple arrested in Mbale. It is believed others have been arrested and sentenced as well. We also have reported blackmail attempts, in which anti-gay activists demand money in exchange for not publicly denouncing the individual as gay. One person at the center of the blackmail allegations is Uganda’s “ex-gay” star, George Oundo, who continues to play a prominent role in the national outing campaign of private citizens. He has also made some very splashy allegations against well-known public figures as well. Those allegations have appeared in print, and on radio and television.
One such appearance was on Uganda’s NTV television on March 29. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has obtained video of that broadcast The video features Oundo describing his “recruiting” efforts in Uganda’s schools. Strangely, his open admission of engaging in sexual acts with underage children has not led to calls for his arrest. The television report intersperses brief shots of a pro-gay press conference held on August 16, 2007, which called on the Uganda government to allow LGBT people to live in peace. Many LGBT people attending that conference wore masks to shied their identity. That “Live In Peace” meeting led to that year’s public anti-gay vigilante campaign, with the tabloid Red Pepper playing a major role in that year’s campaigns.
As we reported earlier, Oundo got his first taste of public notoriety last September when he appeared on the pages of the hated Red Pepper seeking to embarrass the Ugandan LGBT community in a blatant bid for money. With that effort having come up dry, he appears now to be casting his lot with Stephen Langa’s Family Life Network Langa’s Family Live Network began this latest round of anti-gay vigilantism with an anti-gay conference Kampala on March 3-5. That conference featured Exodus board president Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and purported raiser-of-the-dead and Richard Cohen protegé Caleb Lee Brundidge. Exodus International “applauded” Schmierer’s role at the conference, while Exodus President Alan Chambers tried to wash his hands of responsibility for the aftermath of Schmierer’s actions.
May 11, 2009 – Behind The Mask
Q&A With Red Pepper Editor On Outing Alleged Homosexuals
by Nthateng Mhlambiso (BTM Managing Editor)
Uganda – News Editor of the Red Pepper, Ben Byarabaha vows that the tabloid, infamous for outing alleged homosexuals in Uganda by publishing their names, photographs and addresses each year, will continue its campaign against homosexuals for as long as the conduct is illegal in the country.
The tabloid is no stranger to controversy regarding its reports. Presently two of its editors are being tried on charges of defaming Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi on its February 5 story titled, “Gadaffi, Toro Queen in love” which alleged that Qaddafi is having an affair with a Ugandan Royal. In response to this about 30 Muslim sheiks and imams burned copies of the Red Pepper in a protest in Kampala on 17 February. In April 2004 the tabloid was sent the Media Council of Uganda by Pastor Martin Ssempa for publishing his number without his knowledge on its classifieds section, as someone who was looking for a partner.
Question And Answer With Ben Byarabaha – News Editor of the Red Pepper
BTM: What genre was this article, hard news or opinion piece? Because from reading the story one can clearly tell the journalist’s stand on homosexuality, neutrality does not seem to have been maintained and this is not supposed to be the case in news writing.
The article was written in form of an opinion, leaving that aside, Homosexuality in Uganda is illegal , there is no way the writer could have been neutral when actually what he or she was writing about is illegal. Even if the writer had wanted to be neutral, there is no way he could have done so since these guys are always in hiding, they don’t want to come out and speak about the practice, they behave like thugs.
BTM: Why is the byline of the journalist who wrote the story withheld?
For security reasons, these guys have a lot of money and they can do anything. They have the capacity to harm my reporters.
Most corporate companies here are headed by homos, these are the guys who are spreading the vice. But this tabloid will continue to expose, they are always begging us to keep quite such that they can give advertising money but we don’t want, our circulation is big, 50,000 copies per day. The human race must move on to the next generation, how will it move on when all of us become homos and lesbians?
BTM: Which regulatory body in Uganda does the Red Pepper subscribe to?
All bodies include the constitution of Uganda, we operate under the law.
BTM: How important is objectivity and maintaining neutrality as media practitioners in your publication?
It depends on the context, like in the case of homos, whose actions are illegal, how do we ensure objectivity if these can’t speak out? Let them come out and tell why they are practicing homosexuality, we shall publish. However, in certain cases we try to be objective and fair.
BTM: Articles in the media often aim to inform, educate, raise awareness, etc, what was the purpose of this article?
To tell the young generation that look, this practice is bad and colonial in nature. To tell the public that u can gain nothing from homosexuality, it’s a vice that is spreading at terrible speed. It’s the work of the media to educate the pubic that when u practice homosexuality, u look like this and we have done it, people are denouncing it at terrible speed.
BTM: Since this article exposes alleged gay and lesbian people in Uganda, who are minorities and who have in the past been victims of violence because of their sexual orientation, doesn’t this outing perpetuate further violence against this group?
Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, whether the publication perpetuated violence against them, it’s none of our business, let them stop or go to countries where men marry fellow men. Before the government of Uganda legalises homosexuality, our campaign against the practice will continue.
BTM: Clause 7.2 of the Journalism code of Ethics by the Independent Media Council of Uganda states that “Publications about private lives of individuals , without their consent, are not acceptable except where public interest overrides the right to privacy” So did you get consent from the people whose private lives you have published? If you believe that the article was of public interest what makes it so? And if it was, what purpose does the explicit language used in the article serve?
The public and the government are up in arms against the practice, we publish the article due to public demand. The language was not explicit as far as we are concerned here in Uganda, may be to South Africans.
BTM: Clause 19.1 of the Journalism code of Ethics by the Independent Media Council of Uganda says media shall not publish material that is intended to ridicule, or impute ridicule on disadvantaged and marginalised groups, is the article not doing exactly this?
Homos and gays are not listed in the Ugandan constitution as marginalised groups. They are not known and are not recognised.
BTM: Does the Red pepper aim to continue this “witch-hunting” even though concerned people across Africa say that, it is irresponsible reporting and culpable maligning which puts relationships and livelihoods of innocent individuals at risk?
We are not witch-hunting anyone. We are just exposing the vice, the immorality from colonialists that is eluding African culture. As long as the practice is still illegal, we shall continue the campaign. I have been banned from traveling to some countries in Europe because of Red Pepper’s stand against homos.
May 14th, 2009 – Box Turtle Bulletin
Uganda’s Anti-Gay Campaign Snares LGBT People and Rival Pastors, Tabloid Promises More “Outings”
by Jim Burroway
The situation in Uganda continues to deteriorate, with the latest anti-gay campaign now descending into what appears to be a circular firing squad among rival Pentecostal pastors. But while that civil war is going on, LGBT Ugandans continue to be caught up in the crossfire. The anonymous blogger Gay Uganda reproduced a statement from Sexual Minorities Uganda about the arrest of two gay men in Mbale:
Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG, visited Mbale and learnt that Fred Wasukira who is commonly known as Namboozo Margrete is business man in Mbale town who owns a bar and several houses in Mbale. On the night of 7th April 2009, the two were witnessed in a romantic mood at a bar in Namakweki Mbale district and according to the Police officer we talked to, the two were calling each other by names “darling , sweetheart” , we were told that from the bar Fred and Brian proceeded to their house where they were followed by residents, who alerted area local councils and the Police. They were caught kissing and cuddling at their house. Police and area local councils picked them up and took them to Mbale Police station,
Where they were held until the 17th April. 2008. At Maluke Prison we were not allowed to visit the prisoners saying it was not a visiting day, however we confirmed that they are on remand at Maluke Prison in Mbale. That was in early April. On April 30, Gay Uganda reported that the two were still being held by police. He also reports of a seventeen year old male in Mukono who has been sentenced to life imprisonment, and another case in Entebbe. Gay Uganda continues: Suddenly, prison is becoming something that anyone suspected of being gay gets rail roaded to. Doesn’t matter that you may not be gay. Or you may not be guilty. Fact is, us seasoned gay people are kind of too suspicious to be caught in the act. But damn!
This latest campaign began nearly two and a half months ago when three American anti-gay activists spoke at a conference in Kampala organized by Pastor Stephen Langa’s Family Life Network. That conference featured Exodus board president Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and purported raiser-of-the-dead and Richard Cohen protegé Caleb Lee Brundidge.
The March 3-5 conference called for Uganda’s laws against homosexuality — which currently call for a life sentence — to be “strengthened” with an option to force those convicted into ex-gay therapy. Exodus International “applauded” Schmierer’s role at the conference, but Exodus President Alan Chambers later tried to wash his hands of responsibility for it as the repercussions of the conference unfolded.
Those repercussions include a public outing campaign which named more than sixty people in the pages of the tabloid newspaper The Red Pepper. In an interview posted Monday on the South African web site Beyond the Mask, the News Editor for The Red Pepper, Ben Byarabaha, promised to continue the outing campaign. Byarabaha said, “We are just exposing the vice, the immorality from colonialists that is eluding African culture. As long as the practice is still illegal, we shall continue the campaign.”
LGBT people aren’t the only ones in danger of being caught up in this latest anti-gay vigilante campaign. Uganda’s anti-gay religious leaders are taking advantage of the opportunity to accuse rival pastors of homosexuality.
The first round in this pastor-against-pastor conflict was fired soon after George Oundo claimed to have been saved and became an immediate “ex-gay” in Pastor Martin Ssempa’s Makerere Community Church in Kampala. Oundo’s “salvation” occurred sometime after he went sought money from Uganda’s fledgling LGBT rights organzation, Sexual Minorities Uganda. Apparently snubbed by the LGBT community, Oundo found a savior in Ssempa and Pastor Stephen Langa, director of Kampala-based Family Life Network.
Ssempa had led several anti-gay campaigns in the past, but this time he appears to be taking a back seat to Langa, who organized a news conference featuring Oundo. It was at that news conference where Oundo named a popular Catholic priest, Fr. Anthony Musaala, as a homosexual. Musaala, whose Charismatic Renewal Movement has a huge youth following, just happens to be a longtime rival of Ssempa.
Other pastors are jumping onto the “outing” bandwagon to settle scores as well, and the rivalries are so complex that it takes some diagramming to keep it all straight. Here goes: Pastor Solomon Male of Arise for Christ Ministry accused Pastor Robert Kayanja of the Rubaga Miracle Center Cathedral of being a homosexual, along with “a group of other pastors.” Kayanja’s Rubaga Miracle Center is a very large and prosperous megachurch in Kampala. (Controversial American faith healer Benny Hinn will present a “Fire Conference” at that church on June 5th and 6th.) But an apparent friend of Kayanjka, Pastor Joseph Serwadda of the Victory Christian Centre, another megachurch in the Ndeeba section of Kampala which operates two FM stations, accused Male of of being an impostor, saying that he doesn’t even have a church.
Kayanja’s personal aide, Chris Muwonge, was allegedly kidnapped and tortured by armed men and held for five days. His captors allegedly wanted him to make a video statement accusing Kayenja of molesting young boys. Kayanja accused his rival, Pastor Michael Kyazze of the Omega Healing Center of being behind the plot. Kyazze’s assistant, Pastor Robert Kayiira was arrested earlier for trying to sneak a laptop computer into Kayanja’s Miracle Center. His close friend? Pastor Solomon Male. Kayanja reportedly believes that Martin Ssempa is involved in the allegations against him as well.
Medics carry Tumukunde to an ambulance as Kayanja and others look on (Red Pepper)
Solomon decries the kidnapping as “a desperate but tactical attempt to divert attention from the broader anti-homo and cult awareness campaign.” That’s right. He also accuses his rivals of fraud, “miracle faking,” and human sacrifices. And now there is a report that another Kayanja aide, Herbert Tumukunde, was kidnapped and tortured. He was reportedly rescued just as he was drenched in kerosene and was about to be set on fire.
Meanwhile, Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of the Church of Uganda was fending off insinuations that he was gay. The Rt. Rev. Senyonjo believes those insinuations came from the Church of Uganda’s Archbishop Luke Orombi. Senyonjo is the retired bishop of West Buganda Diocese. He has written and spoken out in support of Uganda’s beleaguered LGBT community. Senyonjo isn’t gay, but merely speaking up in support of LGBT people can draw dangerous accusations in the current climate.
That, or being a rival pastor.
27 May 2009 – Plus News
AFRICA: Prevention efforts and infection patterns mismatched
Johannesburg (PlusNews) – In at least five African countries, scarce resources are being spent on national HIV prevention campaigns that do not reach the people most at risk of infection, new research has found. Between 2007 and 2008, UNAIDS and the World Bank partnered with the national AIDS authorities of Kenya, Lesotho, Swaziland, Uganda and Mozambique to find out how and where most HIV infections were occurring in each country, and whether existing prevention efforts and expenditure matched these findings. The recently released reports reveal that few prevention programmes are based on existing evidence of what drives HIV/AIDS epidemics in the five countries surveyed.
In Lesotho, where nearly one in four are living with HIV, an analysis of national prevalence and behavioural data found that most new infections were occurring because people had more than one partner at a time, both before and during marriage. But Lesotho has no prevention strategies to address the problem of concurrent partnerships, or target couples who are married or in long-term relationships.
An evaluation of Mozambique’s prevention response found that an estimated 19 percent of new HIV infections resulted from sex work, 3 percent from injecting drug use, and 5 percent from men who have sex with men (MSM), yet there are very few programmes targeting sex workers, and none aimed at drug users and MSM. The research also found that spending on HIV prevention was often simply too low: Lesotho spent just 13 percent of its national AIDS budget on prevention, whereas Uganda spent 34 percent, despite having an HIV infection rate of only 5.4 percent.
Debrework Zewdie, director of the World Bank’s Global HIV/AIDS Unit, noted that the current global economic downturn made it more important than ever to get the most impact out of investments in HIV prevention. "These syntheses use the growing amounts of data and information available to better understand each country’s epidemic and response, and identify how prevention might be more effective." The reports made recommendations on how the countries could move towards more evidence-based prevention strategies to make more efficient use of limited resources.
Lesotho was advised to revise the content of its prevention messages to address multiple concurrent partnerships and integrate partner reduction into all future policies. One of the recommendations to Mozambique was that condom promotion programmes be focused on high-risk groups such as sex workers. The five-country project also aimed to build capacity to enable these nations to undertake similar studies in future, as part of their ongoing efforts to evaluate and plan HIV responses.
June 5, 2009 – Behind The Mask
Antigay Trio Declares War On Homosexuals
by Mask Admin
Uganda – The fight against gay church leaders is on in Uganda, led by top anti-gay Pastors Martin Sempa, Solomon Male and Michael Kyazze. According to media reports these Pastors say they have received about 150 complaints from alleged sodomy victims who claim to have been abused by a number of church leaders. While Uganda’s gay community is skeptical about the validity of this claim, the anti-gay religious group says it won?t reveal the names of victims because they are protecting them from the police who had earlier terrorised and intimidated young boys who accused Pastor Kayanja of Rubaga Miracle Centre for sodomising them.
Sempa also revealed to a Ugandan tabloid that more Pastors have been accused of sodomy and will soon be shamed. "The sodomy storm has forced many victims to come out but we don’t trust these cops", Sempa told the tabloid. Kyazze said "we are not going to keep quiet until those sinners are exposed. We have a big picture and when our confidence in our [police] force grows, we are going to break the news."
Meanwhile the anti gay trio allegedly held a prayer outside Uganda’s Central Police Station as Kyazze testified to reports that Pastor Kayanja had been abusing young boys. They are also planning to organize an anti-homo crusade at Lugogo that will take 40 days of fasting and prayer. "We are going to wear black clothes to show our grief for the nation. We will pray to God to heal the nation of child sacrifice and homosexuality", Sempa said.
June 5, 2009 – iglhrc.wordpress.com
On-going arrests in Uganda
The situation in Uganda is still hectic and tension is still on as ex-gay George “Georgina” Oundo continues to have media platforms to “out” LGBT people and organizations. Oundo has weekly programs on different television stations where he continues his smear campaign against LGBT groups and individuals. He is also naming specific organizations as the key funders of the LGBT movement in Uganda, including IGLHRC, Human Rights Watch, Hivos, Amnesty International, and the Astraea Foundation, among others. The situation also has taken a new direction after a 19-year-old man accused Pastor Robert Kayanja of Rubaga Miracle Center of having sodomized him. This story has been running in the Uganda media for almost two weeks now. After police cleared the pastor of sodomy charges, the President of Uganda came out and blamed the Ugandan police for not handling the investigations very well. Anti-gay groups are also strongly supporting the Pastor’s accuser.
So far there are no new developments from Parliament about the proposed bill or amendment to the penal code. However, Christian fundamentalists continue to press the government to toughen the laws against homosexuality. SMUG has reported the birth of a new anti-gay Christian group whose name has not yet been made public. SMUG is following up on the arrests of individuals on charges related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity, trying to determine the exact circumstances of the arrests and to provide legal and psycho-social assistance as appropriate:
Mbale Case 1:
A student was arrested in Mbale and eventually set free by police. By the time SMUG visited the police station in Mbale, he was not there and the police file with his case was missing. However SMUG learned that he was a Kenyan student and that he was taken back to Kenya by his parents. His current whereabouts is unknown.
Semondo Simon was arrested on charges of aggravated defilement. After visiting Mukono police post and Kawuuga prison, SMUG learnt that Simon was taken to Luzira maximum prison. SMUG is trying to get a letter of introduction from Uganda Prisons to go and interview Simon at Luzira prison.
Kalule was arrested on charges of carnal knowledge against the order of nature and was granted bail. After anti-gay groups demonstrated in Kampala, he was re-arrested on charges of aggravated defilement. Kalule appeared in court on May 18, 2009. The magistrate informed the court that she had no jurisdiction to grant Kalule bail since this must be granted by the High Court.
Mbale case 2:
Wasikira Fred, a transgender person also known as Namboozo Margaret, and Pande Brian were charged with carnal knowledge against the order of nature. On May 21, 2009, the two appeared before Chief Magistrate Margaret Tibulya, who granted bail to Wasikira Fred. Pande Brain was denied bail because his sureties were not substantial. Wasikira told SMUG that while in prison, he and Brian were subjected to cruel and inhuman degrading treatment that included being subjected to a forcible examination of their anuses for signs of penetration.
There are additional reports of arrests of men on charges related to sexual orientation and gender identity in Kampala, Kapchorwa and Busheyi districts. IGLHRC and SMUG are following these cases and will post updates when we have them.
Frank Mugisha, David Kato Kisule, Victor Mukasa
June 10, 2009 – Global Voices Online (blog)
Homosexuality is perceived as a new phenomenon in Africa and a taboo. It is outlawed in many African countries. Many African leaders have condemned homosexuality as being un-African. The Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe once described gays as worse than dogs and pigs. Former Namibia’s President, Sam Nujoma, once stated that “Homosexuals must be condemned and rejected in our society.”
Nigeria introduced a bill in 2007 banning same sex marriage. According to Rod 2.0 the bill is the most comprehensive homophobic legislation ever proposed in the world. Early this year homosexuals in Nigeria stormed the National Assembly seeking for legislation that will guarantee the protection.
Lifestyle, culture and religion have become the invisible fence to many homosexuals in Africa barring them from their freedom of sexual expression. A Kenyan blogger, Wilde Yearnings, was quite optimistic after US President Barack Obama officially declared June being a gay pride month and decriminalizing of homosexuality all over the world earlier this month. He posted Obama’s speech on his blog:
"My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world…Now, Therefore, I, Barak Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists" …
20 June 2009 – AllAfrica.com
Uganda: You are Worth Nothing
by Joshua Kyalimpa
Kampala – Widespread gender-based violence against women and children in the conflict zones of the Great Lakes region has received some attention in recent years; less well-known is the extent of sexual violence against men. A new documentary film shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo, northern Uganda and elsewhere in the region shows the extent of sexual violence against men.
"You are worth nothing. You are like women," says one of the male rape survivors in the film, recounting what government soldiers told him. "They would ask you to bend and remove your trousers and different soldiers would penetrate you through the anus. They put their penis wherever they could see an opening: in the ears, mouth, and the anus. By the time they were done I had sperm all over my body," another survivor of sexual abuse recounts.
Women and men alike are raped in conflict situations in order to dominate them physically and psychologically. Male survivors are humiliated in terms of socially-accepted sexual and gender roles. Survivors in the film describe women being told to lie on top of their husbands while being assaulted by soldiers; of men raped in front of their wives to demonstrate their weakness vis-à-vis government soldiers. Just as is the case for women, comprehensive statistics on the extent of sexual violence against men in the region is difficult to come by.
The Refugee Law Project of the Makerere University faculty of law provides counselling, documentation and advocacy on refugee issues towards better refugee policies in Uganda. Dr Chris Doran, director of the project, told IPS at the launch of the film in Kampala that at least three out of 10 male refugees reporting to the centre have been sexually abused. Moses Chrispus Okello, the centre’s head of research and advocacy, says many more men could be suffering in silence, fearing society may shun them if they speak out. According to the Refugee Law Project, there are cases where police, rather than going after the perpetrators, have accused male survivors of rape of engaging in homosexual acts – outlawed in Uganda.
Women’s rights activists Akina Mama wa Africa argue that gender inequality, inadequate laws and poor-or non-existent-enforcement contribute to the problem; inadequate statistics and funding mean support for survivors is limited. Men who suffer rape find themselves living in a woman’s reality. Dr Sylvia Tamale, former dean of the faculty of law at Makerere University and advisor to the RLP, says because the penal code does not recognise rape committed against men, perpetrators can only be charged with "indecent assault" which attracts much lighter punishment.
The documentary will be used to expose the realities of sexual assault against the men to governments in the region and the donor community. The film-makers believe it should open up research into the issue and lead to a clearer understanding of sexual violence in the conflict-ridden Great Lakes region.
June 18, 2009 – The Star
Ugandan activist punished for transgender identity…Victor Juliet Mukasa chosen as international grand marshal by Pride for human rights work
by Elvira Cordileone, Staff Reporter
Grace and persistence under almost unendurable circumstances have earned Victor Juliet Mukasa a place at the head of this year’s Pride parade. Still, for someone who’s been punished because of his gender identity, "a transperson," as the 33-year-old Ugandan calls himself, the prospect of serving as Pride Week’s international grand marshal is scarey. In an interview from Cape Town, where he is a researcher for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Mukasa sees irony in his situation. Although he promotes the rights of people like himself, only six years ago, he had no idea terminology existed to describe his gender identity.
Mukasa is biologically female. In Uganda, people expected him to act like one and, when he didn’t (couldn’t, he insists), his father and his school beat him for acting like a boy.
In a 2006 speech to the International Lesbian and Gay Association in Geneva, Mukasa lists some of the abuses transgender people face in Africa. They are:
Raped to prove they’re women.
Publicly mocked and beaten by police.
Forcibly undressed and humiliated.
Evicted by landlords.
"I became so desperate. I asked myself, `Why is this happening to me?’ And I had an answer: `Because I am a lesbian and because of how I present myself,’" Mukasa says. But he refused to bend and paid for it by becoming an outcast. His family shunned him, and today he lives in self-imposed exile. Mukasa’s activism began seven years ago when, after living in painful isolation, he met a group of lesbians and realized others suffered the same as he did.
Around that same time, he lost his job for refusing to wear skirts to work. "I said to myself, `Where is the dignity? Where is the respect?’ I think the only option some of us are left with is to fight for this to come to an end," he says. In the next few years, Mukasa co-founded several rights organizations in Uganda and joined a long list of African-based and international groups working for human rights. But in July 2005 his outspokenness brought Ugandan police to his home on the outskirts of Kampala. Without a warrant, they seized documents relating to the activities of the Sexual Minorities Uganda group he ran, and arrested Yvonne Oyoo, a guest in his house.
During the search, treatment of the pair bordered on indecent assault, according to a December 2008 International Federation for Human Rights newsletter. Mukasa sued the government for the illegal search but was forced into deep hiding. A safe house became his prison from July 2005 to June 2006. "It was miserable for me standing up against the government," he says. "My soul was broken. I felt a part of me was dead, except the fighting spirit for gay rights."
After almost a year in virtual isolation, friends helped him reach Johannesburg so he could "breathe some fresh air." But Mukasa willingly went back to Uganda in May 2007 when his lawsuit began. He had committed no crime, so the government had no cause to arrest him outright. Nevertheless, he feared for his life and went into hiding. Forced to live like a criminal, even though he’d committed no crime, and depend on others for survival, he grasped the job opening in Cape Town as a lifeline.
"It was too much for me," he says. "I prayed. I’m a Christian and I prayed to God for this job." Mukasa speaks of his work with pride. It makes him useful to others and earns him salary, so he no longer feels like a beggar. The job also keeps him out of Uganda – for now, until things cool down for him there.
27th June. 2009 – From: Frank Mugisha, Chairperson Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG
Situation in Uganda at the moment: LGBTI Cases: Mbale arrests report
Kampala, Uganda – The situation in Uganda is somehow calm at the moment however there is still tension, as the media is still at large running story after story which stories are mostly portrayed negative towards homosexuality by the Ugandan society. The religious right and anti groups have turned the twist, not so much from anti campaign against LGBTI activism and advocacy but mostly towards what they have termed ‘sodomy in church’, the anti gay groups are ‘outing’, and accusing Pastors of sodomy, there are many such cases with the Uganda police at this moment, but none of such case is in court.
There has been no mention of the new bill, amendment of the penal code /constitution at all in the corridors of parliament and legislation in regard to homosexuality as anticipated earlier. Arrests of homosexuals or suspected homosexuals have increased; more cases have been registered up country. SMUG has been closely following up these cases, providing support and legal aid where applicable. We will continue to give you up date details, and reports on these cases. The rampant arrests and hostility towards LGBTI – people in Uganda is due to the anti – gay campaign which was started by the US based religious right in march 2009 and is going on through out the country to date. The anti gay campaign is spear headed by the family life net work FLN, ex-gays and anti – gay pastors who include Pastor Martin Sempa.
Mbale is a district in the Eastern part of Uganda. On 5th April, 2009.
Fred Wasukira aka Nabooza Margate – Transgender man and Brian Mpadde, both residents of Mbale district , were arrested, at the residence of Fred Wasukira by the local councils and the police of Namakwekwe village in Mbale district Uganda. The two were arrested for being suspected to be homosexuals.The two were taken to Kampala road police station where they stayed for one night, thereafter transferring them to Mbale police station.
After 11 days and nights locked up in the cells of Mbale police station they were taken to court on the 17th of April, they appeared before grade 1 magistrate, Stella Apinyu, and were charged with carnal knowledge against the order of nature. An offense which carries a jail sentence of life imprisonment if convicted. The two pleaded not guilty to this
offense. Case was referred to the chief magistrate for hearing, and the two were remanded at Maluke prison in Mbale, until the 21st April , 2009.
They appeared in court on the 21st April, 2009 , case was mentioned and their remand was extended to 4th May 2009. On 4th May, 2009, chief magistrate agreed to grant the two court bail, however the two did not have substantial securities, the remand was extended to 20th May, 2009. On 20th May,2009. Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG, organized legal aid and court bail for the two, however it was difficult to process substantial documents for Brian Mpadde because his family was uncooperative and have also disowned their son.
SMUG was able to process court bail for Fred Wasukira. Brian’s remand was extended to 4th June, 2009. On 4th June, 2009, the chief magistrate was not in court, case was mentioned and the two were told to reappear in court on 10th June, 2009. On 10th and 11th June, 2009, Brian was denied court bail the chief magistrate was not satisfied with the securities, the remand was extended to 16th June 2009.
On 16th June, 200 9. SMUG successfully, arranged for the court bail of Brian Mpadde and he was granted court bail. At court on 16th, the police surgeon brought a medical report according to the examination he had carried out on the two while in police custody. He claimed he had been asked to carry out the medical examination on the bodies of Brian and Fred to find out whether they had scars. His report concluded that they had pierced ear lobes, they had a sexually transmitted disease (gonorrhea) and were mentally stable, HIV negative and that he recommends them for treatment. Brian and Fred will report back to court on the 29th July, 2009, for court hearing. SMUG is monitoring the two, as they receive psychosocial support.
SMUG has been following up this case; find attached a full narrative case study. The two men’s rights were violated: invasion of privacy, being detained in Police custody over the maximum period of time of 48 hours as stipulated in the constitution of the Republic of Uganda. Subjected to torture, degrade and in human ill treatment while in police and prison custody on suspect of being homosexuals. SMUG has reported these violations to the Uganda Human Rights commission and we await the follow up.
02 July 2009 – Behind The Mask
Government Will Not Yield To Homosexual Pressure – BUTURO
by Ismail Musa Ladu (Daily Monitor)
Uganda – The government has issued a stern warning to homosexuals and their sympathisers, saying it will not accept practice of unnatural sex even if it means losing out on the much needed donor support. The Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Dr Nsaba Buturo, told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre yesterday that they are ready to forfeit any amount of donor funding that is tagged as a condition to accept homosexuality.
“I have been pressured by some donors to allow homosexuality, but I have told them they can keep their money and the homosexuality because it is not about charity at the expense of our moral destruction,” Mr Buturo said. Mr Buturo said the homosexual forces are very powerful and operating through powerful governments to have their desire fulfilled but Uganda will not succumb to any pressure to legalise unnatural sex and homosexuality in particular. According to Mr Buturo, the country is besieged with sodomy, pornography, prostitution, drug abuse, witchcraft and indirect embezzlement, something that makes Uganda lose its heart and identity.
“Nowadays, our country is welcoming and embracing all manners of social evil that are likely to render our society insecure and unproductive. We must do something,” Mr Buturo worriedly said. He said the government is considering stringent measures with a view to close down makeshift video halls commonly known as “bibanda” and cinemas that he said perpetuate unacceptable behaviour like homosexuality and pornography. Mr Buturo said whistle blowing, pornography, homosexuality and money laundering bills are all in the offing and will boost the country’s effort to rid the immoral and debilitating excesses that he said is eating the country.
He dismissed the idea that special places be designed for prostitutes to ply their trade saying it does not dignify the trade. He also said all government departments are corrupt save for a few that just show only a semblance of integrity.
July 6th, 2009 – Box Turtle Bulletin
Sports Figure Latest Victim Of Ugandan Anti-Gay Offensive
by Jim Burroway
Uganda’s ongoing campaign of very public anti-gay vigilantism has taken some very unexpected turns lately. It has already engulfed several prominent prosperity-gospel preachers who have taken to accusing each other of homosexuality in what has degenerated into a circular firing squad. Now the latest victims include sports figures. Ugandan newspapers have been reporting on several rumors of homosexuality in the ranks of Uganda’s professional football (soccer) league. The Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) vows to root it out:
The coaches’ association vice chairman Stone Kyambadde yesterday told the FUFA-PostBank weekly press conference that the move will limit coaches from actions that will bring the game into disrepute. “We are going to address that (sodomy) in the code of conduct. The problem is that we had not registered all coaches across the country. We have since got regional representatives to do that,” said Kyambadde.
The accusations have already claimed one victim. Horizon Coach Charles Ayiekoh was suspended after an accusation by a player. It’s unclear whether the accusation has any merit. Ayiekoh, who is married with three children, denies the charges and blames the whole episode on “football politics.” He was released from the police station in Lira, but was ordered to appear at a police station in Kampala on July 8. Uganda criminalizes homosexual acts with up to life imprisonment.
FUFA promises that more suspensions are on the way: Kyambadde added that their association had stepped up in its efforts to get rid of all the other gay suspects that have since been known in the local football circles. “We intend to get rid of the entire group and I can assure you that as coaches we come up with a comprehensive plan to wipe out the deadly vice,” he added.
Those “football politics” threaten to ensnare another prominent coach with what’s described as a moral dilemma. A Scottish national, Bobby Williamson, is now head coach of the Ugandan national football team. He, along with all the other football coaches in Uganda, is required to sign a code of conduct which “denounces any support or involvement in sodomy related acts”. Williamson has denounced discrimination in the past, but appears ambivalent about the latest anti-gay actions by FUFA:
Sodomy is a criminal offence over there but this is the first I’ve heard of any code of conduct,” he said. “Until FUFA speak to me about that it’s a hypothetical matter and I’ll reserve my views until I’m approached. What I will say is that you have to abide by the law of the land in whichever country you happen to be working in. There has been a lot of talk about homosexuality in the game in Uganda and I’ve heard stories, but I’m not aware of any evidence of it. What I do know is that most politicians and football officials seem to be strongly against it.”
FUFA’s actions may run afoul of Soccer’s highest international governing body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). According to the Scotsman, FIFA’s policies call for inclusion. The Scotsman reports that FUFA could be expelled from the international body if it continues with this plan.
Last week, it was announced that a new law would be debated in Uganda’s Parliament to ban free speech and public advocacy for LGBT people. The latest convulsion of anti-gay agitation in Uganda began with a three-day anti-gay conference in Kampala last March featuring American Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and Exodus board member Don Schmierer.
July 14, 2009 – Behind The Mask
Proposed Antigay Bill Will Not Be Passed-Activists Vow
by Lesego Tlhwale (BTM Intern)
Uganda – Ugandan gay rights activists have vowed to fight tooth and nail against tabling of a proposed anti-gay bill which will criminalise distribution of literature with homosexuality content, addressing press conferences by gay rights activists and bar even the mere pronouncement of homosexuality in the country. Outraged activists say the proposed bill, if passed, will bring a severe blow to the fight against HIV and AIDS in Uganda as they [activists] will not be allowed to distribute materials on risky sexual behavior to their constituencies.
“The policies of Uganda do not recognise same sex sexual relationships, this [bill] will make us more vulnerable to HIV and AIDS and this will affect our campaigns on the disease and on sexual violence, amongst others”, Frank Mugisha, Chairperson of Sexual Minorities Uganda warned. Mugisha added that gay rights activists in Uganda will not go silent if the proposed bill is considered.
Meanwhile Kasha Jacqueline, Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Human rights organisation in Uganda, feels that the government is wasting its energies on condemning LGBTI people instead of focusing on important issues rocking the country. “People are dying in the Northen part of the country and Buturo has not said anything about it, but he gets time to intimidate LGBTI people” Jacqueline revealed. She added that Uganda continues to stick with “draconian” laws that were introduced by colonialists.
“This bill will not be passed unless Buturo does not know the system. I think he should make time to find out why those colonialists who brought the laws in Uganda have already repealed them. It is really a shame and absurd that in this 21st century we still have people like him in our governments”, she said. These Ugandan activists have vowed not to stop advocating for what they believe is right come hell or high waters.
“People call us names just because we are gay, but we also know that people who have caused change in this world are those who never gave up. Uganda is a very progressive country in terms of LGBT rights and we want to build on that credibility”, an LGBTI activist in Uganda who chose to remain anonymous said. She added “with all due respect, Honorable Nsaba Buturo should be renamed Minister for Heterosexual Ethics and Integrity because I do not know what ethics and integrity is the minister upholding if he can’t defend the rights of minorities.”
The activists said that what needs to be done now is to keep up the pressure on responsible parties so that they can block this law from being passed. “We have denounced the bill from day one and we continue to do that. Many people in this country have vowed to be on our side in this and some of them are not even gay. We want to petition parliament and we shall keep demanding our rights back at whatever cost because one of the obligations of the state is to protect its own people”, the activist said. “If the new bill is passed, it may limit our work, but it will never change our sexual orientation”, Mugisha concluded.
July 26th, 2009 – Box Turtle Bulletin
Uganda Parliament To Take Up Bill Banning LGBT Free Speech
by Jim Burroway
Uganda’s Parliament is scheduled to take up a new bill which would strengthen the country’s already draconian statutes against homosexuality. Current law provides for lifetime imprisonment for conviction of its colonial-era anti-sodomy law. The new law, coupled with an anti-pornography bill, will go further by -banning all forms of free speech on behalf of LGBT people:
Recently, [Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba] Buturo said that once the two bills are passed into law, it will be an offence to publish and distribute literature on homosexuality. He also said it would become impossible for homosexuals to address press conferences and attract people to support their cause. So far, there is no word on what penalties will be applied in the latest efforts to strip LGBT citizens of their free-speech rights.
The latest round of anti-gay actions in Uganda began last March when three American anti-gay activists, including Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and Exodus International board member Don Schmierer conducted a -three-day anti-gay conference in Kampala, the nation’s capital. While there, conference participants met with members of Parliament and called for strengthening that nation’s laws against homosexuality. Government ministers promised to take action later that month. That same-anti-gay conference also served as the impetus for a long-running anti-gay vigilante campaign that continues still. While several people have been caught up in the campaign, while Pentecostal pastors have used it to settle scores with rival pastors.
August 5, 2009 – IPS News
Outspoken Activists Defend Africa’s Sexual Diversity
by Christi van der Westhuizen
Copenhagen (IPS) – The second World Outgames, held in the Danish capital, offered up a veritable smorgasbord of sport, politics and arts while celebrating sexual and gender diversity. But it also reminded participants that bigotry against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, sometimes culminating in violence, remains a scourge across the world. The week-long Outgames, which ended on Aug. 1, attracted 6,500 LGBT athletes and an estimated 20,000 spectators from myriad countries and was characterised by high-level political commitment from the Danish government. The rainbow flag – the international LGBT symbol – adorned the city hall and other buildings surrounding the main square in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen’s lord mayor, Ritt Bjerregaard, spoke at the opening extravaganza and also at the closing ceremony. Denmark’s prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, welcomed the Outgames as "an important signal of tolerance" in an interview with the country’s gay magazine Out & About. The event was marred by two attacks on participants. In both cases the Danish police, who assured participants of a "no tolerance" position on hate crimes, apprehended the assailants. No serious injuries were sustained.
On Aug. 1, the day of the closing ceremony of the Outgames, two youths were killed and eleven injured in a gun attack on a Tel Aviv lesbian and gay community centre. It is unclear whether the attack was linked to Tel Aviv’s participation as one of six "Outcities", each of which had its own stage showcasing dancers and other artists as part of the Outgames worldwide programme.
Homophobia gaining legal force
At the closing of the international human rights conference which formed part of the Outgames, the Ugandan LGBT activist Victor Juliet Mukasa called on LGBT activists present to stage protests at the Ugandan embassies in their countries in the coming weeks. Uganda’s "ethics minister" is about to table an "anti-gay bill" in parliament which would outlaw LGBT human rights activism by banning literature and public speaking on LGBT issues. The bill is meant to cover the gaps in existing legislation, which already imposes a life sentence for male homosexual activity, by also instituting punishment for lesbian sexual activity.
In an interview with IPS, Mukasa ascribed the backlash to religious fundamentalism. "The church is telling parents that homosexuals want to sodomise their children, that homosexuals are on a mission to destroy the heterosexual family." Mukasa emphasised that same-sex practices were part of life before colonialism. "The British came with the draconian laws that criminalised homosexuality. People have forgotten this. Now homophobia has been made part of African culture."LGBT rights in
Nigerian LGBT activist Yemisi Ilesanmi stresses that the focus for LGBT activism in African countries should be on decriminalisation. In Africa, Sudan, Mauritania and parts of Somalia and Nigeria impose the death penalty for same-sex acts, according to the non-governmental International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi, Zambia and parts of Nigeria impose prison sentences ranging between life-long and 11 years.
Countries that impose sentences of between a month and 10 years are: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, the Comoros, Libya, Egypt, Western Sahara, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo, Senegal, Guinea, Mauritius and parts of Somalia. Countries that impose imprisonment without stating the period are Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Liberia.
Mauritius, Mozambique and South Africa prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation while South Africa allows marriage and joint adoption by same-sex parents. Homophobia has proven durable because politicians depend on church leaders for support, said Mukasa. Homosexuality is a red herring used to distract people from pressing issues such as unemployment and the perennial war in northern Uganda, she added.
Mukasa used to be the leader of the LGBT organisation Sexual Minorities in Uganda. Persecution by the Ugandan authorities forced her into hiding while she was still in Uganda. She has since left the country and now works for the New York-based non-governmental International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Police searched Mukasa’s Kampala home in 2005 and sexually assaulted and harassed her and another activist, Yvonne Oyoo.
Mukasa and Oyoo sued the attorney general in a case that led to the Ugandan high court declaring in 2008 that the state had violated their rights and that LGBT people also enjoyed the rights enshrined in the Ugandan constitution, regardless of being transgender or lesbian.
Bad legislation revived in Nigeria
On the other side of the African continent, in Nigeria, a bill banning same-sex marriage has made a comeback after activists mobilised successfully against it in 2007. Similar to the Ugandan law, the bill will infringe on freedom of expression and association as Nigerians will not be allowed to advocate for LGBT rights. The resuscitation of the law has led human rights lawyer and trade unionist Yemisi Ilesanmi to take a position not just as a feminist but as LGBT activist. She has been building alliances between civil society organisations (CSOs) on the basis that LGBT rights are human rights, a topic that she addressed at the Outgames human rights conference.
Other organisations are coming round to the position that this bill may pave the way to the state eventually also putting their human rights advocacy in the firing line. Ilesanmi is part of a campaign driving a petition which has been signed by other CSOs in protest against the bill. The bill first saw the light in 2007, when South Africa was passing legislation to legalise same-sex marriage. Ilesanmi remarked to IPS that "African governments are afraid as they notice that internationally people with same-sex preferences are gaining more rights. They feel they better do something before it starts happening in their own countries.
Some of those who want to sustain oppressive power relations are themselves gay or lesbian, Ilesanmi argued. "They believe they are living in sin and that it is morally wrong. They are told that they are possessed by the devil. They hate themselves but they can’t stop because it is natural." Such internalised homophobia is passed down from generation to generation in Nigeria, Ilesanmi contended: "You believe what people around you are saying. There are no role models to show another way. You take for granted that sex should be between a man and a woman. If you have different feelings, you squash them. You just keep it to yourself because you think you are the only one."
Recognise Africa’s sexual diversity
Like Mukasa, Ilesanmi pointed out that same-sex practices existed in Nigeria from pre-colonial times, for example among the Calabar people in the country’s southeast. When a family has no sons, the eldest daughter takes a wife to whom she plays the role of husband. While the wife gets impregnated by men, the children are regarded as also those of the husband who keeps the family name. Who is to say that there is no sexual activity between husband and wife, Ilesanmi asked. But such possibilities are silenced by the forces of bigotry in Nigeria.
With so many people in the closet, it is not surprising that African representation at the Outgames was dismal. Even South Africa, which is singular in Africa in its constitutional prohibition of discrimination against homosexuals, had only a few representatives, most of whom were activists attending the human rights conference. As she again set about building a coalition to resist the anti-gay legislation, Ilesanmi reiterated, "I don’t think (homophobia in Africa is) about culture. Culture is dynamic and changeable. Rather, it is about people wanting others to conform to a stereotype of the family in order to keep gender relations unequal. They don’t want people to think outside of the norm because they want to control their lives."
August 27, 2009 – Gay Uganda
Good God in Heaven!!!!!
It is not seemly to be happy when an enemy falls, and falls heavily, but you will forgive my unseemly glee.
Remember George Oundo?
The ex-gay man. Ex-gay, and very vocal Ssempa activist. A truly Ssempa activist, shouting, outing, castigating, and telling people how he slept with so and so. Including a famous ‘priest’. He accused us of so many heinous things that… Which good old Ugandans couldn’t help believing. What can a homosexual not be capable of? As a reward to his fervency, he was given a house to stay in. And, wonder of wonders, he has been expelled from the Ex-Gay Uganda group. Problem?
Ah, glee on my part, the problem is that, this guy, who is the face of the Ex-gay movement here, who has gone around telling people that we ‘recruit’ and have a vice, and other nerferious things. Well, he has turned out to be ex-ex-gay. Still wants the lusts of the flesh. In the direction that the good Lord blessed him with.
According to Paul Kagaba, Ex-Gay Uganda Chairman, Oundo was taking boys to be ‘sodomised’ to his house. What I could have told Kagaba, and I have known for a few weeks, is that Oundo has been going around asking kuchus for ‘forgiveness’. That news was on Capital FM. Just heard it. And, in my glee, had to blog about it.
Time to say ‘I told you so’ First to Ssempa. Well, told you that you were not very bright. Burnt by Sam Mukasa, the Kayanja accuser, and now burnt by your darling George Oundo. Cant believe what Ssempa is thinking at the moment. I mean, he was on such a roll, that the trough must be a little giddy. He had made Oundo into something huge. Going the rounds, talking, talking, on TV, radio, at anti-homosexual rallies. And all the time the hypocrite was quietly doing what he was publicly abusing.
Good for you Oundo.
In previous posts I warned Ssempa. And I warned others. Oundo was, and is poison. Course he is gay. A queen, through and through. Ugh, you think he will change again? He will change back. Of that I am sure. And, some more predictions. Mr Paul Kagaba? Ex-Gay Chairman… I am predicting that it is money for him. Money, money, the bucks. Watch and see. I do know him. Why, I saw him at my favorite bar last week, and am more or less sure that he was on cruising. Ha ha ha!
Oh, my nose. Have to blow it. Heavily. Gathered more info. The usual kuchu circles… Apparently, George was caught in ‘red handed’. But that would mean that the good Pastor Ssempa should be reporting him to police, doesn’t it? I will keep one ear to the ground…!
August 28, 2009 – Behind The Mask
Stop Sexual Colonism – Cal To Uganda
Simangele Mzizi (BTM intern)
Uganda – The Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) has called on Uganda to stop perpetuating sexual colonialism, following a proposed Anti Gay Bill aimed at tightening laws against homosexuality in Uganda. According to CAL the Bill will further stigmatise an already marginalised group of citizens and further legitimise the torture, harassment and arbitrary arrest of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBTI) people in Uganda.
This comes after Uganda’s, Dr James Nsaba Buturo, Minister for Ethics and Integrity announced that he would be submitting a Bill before Parliament to ban all forms of expression in support of LGBTI people. “We call on the honourable minister to act responsibly in his mandate and protect the rights of sexual minorities in Uganda by publicly reversing the threats and thoughts of introducing an Anti Gay Bill in parliament”, reads the statement by CAL.
According to reports if the Bill is passed into law it will be an offence to publish and distribute literature on homosexuality or advocating for it. Buturo also stated that it would become impossible for homosexuals to address press conferences and attract people to their cause, once the Bill becomes law. “We want it to become law in that if someone is a homosexual or confesses to being a gay or lesbian, then he is a criminal”, said Buturo.
Linda Baumann of The Rainbow Project, an LGBTI organisation in Namibia questioned why sexual colonialism is still perpetuated even though the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights guarantees the right to equality for all. “Why do we then continue to perpetuate sexual colonialism, by discriminating and torturing our very own people on the basis of their gender and sex”, said Baumann.
According to Fikile Vilakazi, Director for Coalition of African Lesbians, “we (Africans) together through the adoption of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights signed a social and political contract that committed us to never again allow in Africa a situation where one person or groups of people discriminate against the other on the basis of gender, sex, class, age, marital status, nationality, and ethnicity.”
“Stop sexual colonialism, it does not belong to modern society, it is a regressive step back to the colonial era, and it is against the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights”, said Dr Marlene Wassemaar of Gender Dynamix.
The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights is an international human rights instrument that seeks to promote and protect human rights and basic freedoms in the African continent. It was adopted during the eighteenth Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity now called the African Union in June 1981 in Kenya.
Meanwhile, Frank Mugisha, Chairperson of Sexual Minorities Uganda has also warned that, since “policies of Uganda do not recognise same sex sexual relationships, this [Bill] will make us more vulnerable to HIV and AIDS and this will affect our campaigns on the disease and on sexual violence, amongst others.”
“We demand a release of all the people that are currently in prison in Uganda simply because they are perceived to be lesbian, bisexual, transgender or gay. We call on the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Honourable Buturo to stop perpetuating Anti Gay messaging in Ugandan media and in parliament”, the statement concluded.
The Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) is a network of organisations committed to African lesbian equality and visibility. Their work is aimed to transform Africa into a place where all lesbians enjoy the full range of human rights and are recognised as full citizens. In Uganda sex between two people of the same gender is a criminal offence punishable by life imprisonment.
September 15th, 2009 – Box Turtle Bulletin
Draft Anti-Gay Bill Circulating In Uganda
by Jim Burroway
Uganda appears to be inching closer to “strengthening” its already draconian anti-gay laws which already provide for a possible life sentence for those convicted of homosexuality. A draft of the proposed bill obtained by Box Turtle Bulletin indicates that Ugandan lawmakers intend to go much further.
In a draft dated April 20, 2009 and being circulated surreptitiously, the proposed bill creates an offense of “aggravated homosexuality” and provides for the death penalty under specific circumstances. It also provides for at least five years imprisonment (and no apparent maximum) for advocating on behalf of LGBT people. This extends not just to activists and organizations, but to individuals as well, including bloggers or anyone else using the internet or mobile phones — as well as anyone who makes a donation or offers a safe refuge for LGBT people. Furthermore, if anyone is “aware of the commission of any offense under this Act” and fails to report it to the police, they will be liable of up to six months imprisonment.
The draft also extends jurisdiction to people who are Uganda citizens or permanent residents but who commit offenses outside the country. This could mean that LGBT Ugandans abroad who engage in advocacy work could find themselves in danger of being imprisoned should they return to Uganda. LGBT Ugandans fleeing the country could also face extradition should they find themselves in a similarly hostile country.
The accompanying memorandum calls on the Uganda government to withdraw from any international obligations or treaties which the government interprests as running counter to the country’s anti-gay policies.
It is unclear at this time whether the proposed bill has undergone any modifications since April. There is no word yet on when the bill will be formally introduced into Parliament. It is believed that under current conditions when accusations of homosexuality have become a potent political tool, that few if any lawmakers will vote against the bill. It will be passed into law upon its third reading.
This drafting of this bill appears to have coincided with intense lobbying efforts by anti-gay activists following a conference held in Kampala which featured American Holocaust revisionist –Scott Lively and Exodus International board member –Don Schmierer. Exodus International released a statement “appauding” Don Schierer’s participation in the conference which ended with calls to strengthen Uganda’s homosexuality laws with a proposal to force LGBT people into ex-gay therapy upon conviction. That proposal does not appear in this draft.
That anti-gay conference quickly spawned –other anti-gay meetings and rallies, including a march on Parliament on April 24, about the time this draft was written. By then, rumors were already circulating that anti-gay politicians sought to criminalize LGBT advocacy, which this draft appears to confirm. In July, Uganda’s Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo confirmed their intention to eliminate free speech for and on behalf of LGBT people. Meanwhile, a full-fledged public vigilante campaign was released on Uganda’s gay community, leading to several reports of arrests and reports.