Uganda targets gay people: The U.S., Canada and others
are threatening to cut off aid to the country unless it ends
the barbaric persecution of lesbians and gays.
Re-Introduces Draconian Gay Law as Answer to Obama (Modern Ghana, Ghana)
“In Uganda, there are two kinds of suspects: those who are arrested and make it to the courts; and those who are arrested and will never see a judge. And not everyone being arrested, tortured, and persecuted or who disappears is gay or lesbian. People who render them assistance also face persecution.”
David Bahati: The Ugandan politician is author of a draconian anti-homesexuality bill making its way through the Uganda Parliament. He is MP for the constituency of Ndorwa West and is a member of the National Resistance Movement, the ruling party of Uganda.
While the debate in other parts of the world is about legalizing
gay marriage, in at least one east African country, the discussion is about imposing
the death penalty on those found guilty of homosexual acts.
To substitute for public executions, which were the daily
norm under Idi Amin's
tyrannical regime; the trademark of the country of Uganda is now homophobic attacks.
Back then, Ugandans disappeared at the hands of the State
Research Bureau due to their political beliefs. Now it is homosexuals who have
no one to turn to for safety. And with so many security organs handling
suspects, relatives find it hard to locate their loved ones.
In Uganda, there are two kinds of suspects: those who are arrested
and make it to the courts; and those who are arrested and will never see a
judge. And not everyone being arrested, tortured, and persecuted or who disappears
is gay or lesbian. People who render them assistance also face persecution.
According to information obtained by Modern Ghana, the
family of Norman Walugembe is living in fear, panic and despair. They think he
may have been killed. The last time he was seen on TV, he appeared to be in a
coma. Some years ago, Walugembe's appearance on one of the country’s TV networks
left some bad memories for the family. The cause of his beatings was never made
clear, as self-censorship prevented the newsreader from mentioning it. Family
members have searched everywhere, including the city morgue, all known prison
facilities and homosexual “safe-houses,” but their search has hit a dead end.
Because he hasn't been seen since last August and he is now
suspected of being gay, Walugembe, a father of a 2-year old son, was included
on a long list of the disappeared. A resident of Mawanda Road Upper Nsoba Zone
who has been living with his partner, Walugembe went missing after his arrest on
allegations of unlawful assembly.
According to one family member who preferred to remain
anonymous for fear of reprisal, Walugembe, 34, had been giving medical care to gays
and lesbians. “It is true, his source of income was the small amount he earned from
medication he provided to gays. He is been a bridge between gays and medical
professionals who provide medicine to the homos,” the family member said,
adding that: “I know he is not a gay, because he has a wife and a child.”
The family member went on to defend and describe Walugembe.
“He's is the kind of character who doesn’t want to see a
certain group of people persecuted. That is the why he could sometimes went all
out to get them some medication.”
“Not everyone here likes to associate with those people
[homosexuals]. If you're not careful, you might be construed as one of them,” says
Walugembe's sister in law, adding, “We as a family had advised him not to do
this … but he paid little attention. My greatest worry is that he's someone
that is known everywhere, and there is no way he can sneak out of the country.
That is why we believe he is dead.”
“Another issue is that we don't know what has become of my
sister and her two-year-old son. She left their house three weeks after his
arrest,” said another family member.
Since the brutal murder of David Kato, a Ugandan gay
rights activist who was bludgeoned to death on January 26, 2011, life has
gradually become harder for Uganda’s gay community. For fear of being mistaken
to be gays, many people remain tight-lipped when it comes to questions regarding
homosexuality. This is particularly the case with the re-emerge of the
anti-homosexuality bill, which gives no room to gays and lesbians in terms of
seeking the protection of the authorities.
A friend, who secretly searched for Walugembe, told Modern
Ghana that they have tried in vain to locate him.
“At Kireka, we were told he is wasn’t there. Suspects are most
often bundled into unmarked cars. We hear that they are sometimes transported
as far as southern Sudan for interrogation. If they are lucky, they may make it
back covered in wounds. If not … they are killed and the body dumped there,” said
She was referring to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), established
in December 2011 after a damaging report from Human Rights Watch incriminated the
disbanded Rapid Response Unit (RRU) for gross human rights abuse. Human Rights
Watch has authored several reports accusing these organs of carrying out
torture and extrajudicial killings.
Before that, an earlier incarnation of the RRU was called
the Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU), which replaced Operation Wembly, which was
established in 2002 to fight criminal gangs.
“It is just a change in name. The faces remain the same –
including the brutality of their acts,” the source claims.
New York-based Human Rights Watch had reported that a couple
of suspects had died during interrogations at RRU headquarters in Kireka.
“I have tried to locate him [Walugembe], but have turned up
nothing. We fear taking the matter to the police. That would generate more
questions - and the police were involved with his arrest,” a family friend told
this newspaper, adding that: “We have been carefully consulting friends
familiar with state agents. There are very few lawyers who would like to be consulted
with this issue.”
According to a source who asked not to be named, they have
searched for Walugembe, his wife and son for more than eight months.
“We greatly suspect his wife’s former boyfriend, because he
works for one of the security agencies. He had knowledge that Walugembe was
helping gays, and he might have used that reality of hay hatred, which so many
people support, to terminate the life of an innocent man,” our source said She
is convinced that some people settled scores by informing on others to the security
services. Many have complained about being tortured on trumped-up charges.
Although the controversial anti-homosexuality
bill was widely criticized outside Uganda soon after it was submitted to Parliament, the bill has strong appeal among all of the country’s religious leaders
Parliament Member David Bahati, now a
minister from the ruling National resistance Movement (NRM), sponsored the
anti-homosexuality legislation in 2009, which carries penalties as severe as
death. After it was condemned by a number of donor governments, to which Uganda
is heavily dependent, the legislation was pulled. [See video of Bahati in photo
box in upper-right of this page].
The recent reemergence of the proposed legislation is no surprise.
It is the direct and defiant result of the Obama Administration’s recent move
to use foreign aid to push gay rights. “Gay rights are human rights,” declared
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen
Harper criticized the legislation, and President Obama labeled it “odious.”
The legislation eliminates all gay hangouts or clubs in the
country, and would penalize not just homosexuals - but anyone who fails to
The previously statements of Uganda President Yoweri Museveni
towards sexual minorities may highlight a homophobic tendency in the country.
While attending the consecration of Reverend Canon Patrick
Gidudu as the seventh Bishop of Mbale Diocese on August 17, 2008, President
Museveni appeared to lend weight to Uganda’s anti-gay movement.
“I salute the archbishop and bishops of Africa for resisting
disorientation and cultural decadence,” Museveni said.
In February, appearing on BBC'sHardTalk hosted
by Stephen Sackur, Museveni said, “The issue [homosexuality] is mishandled by Western
countries and their activist groups” [watch video below]
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni responds to BBC's
Sackur about his country’s treatment of homosexuals.
Museveni warned Western countries to avoid making the
mistake of trying to tie aid to promoting homosexuality. The warning was in
response to a question about Museveni's views on President Obama, Prime
Minister Harper and other donor partners who having been calling for the
protection of lesbians and gays and respecting their human rights, without
which aid to Uganda would be cut.
“That will be their biggest mistake, because they should be
careful about Black Africans … who are humble people,” Museveni warned, adding,
“…We never imposed our views on anybody else. We are not like Europeans or
Arabs who want to impose their views.”
The October 2, 2010, an article appeared in a local tabloid The
Rolling Stone [not connected to the American magazine], which called on the
population to “hang” gays, which resulted in the murder of gay rights activist David Kato [see video below].
The tabloid had published the photographs of Ugandans suspected of being gay or
lesbian, with a headline, 100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos, with a
banner reading: “Hang Them.” The tabloid printed of Kato's name, photograph and
address alongside those of other members of the LGBT community. Should the
legislation go through, the police could potentially use this information to
The legislation calls for the death penalty for homosexuals,
and a seven-year jail term for anyone found guilty failing to report the
activities of gays and lesbians to the authorities.
The bill also forbids any “promotion of homosexuality” and
incarcerates gay rights defenders.
Section 13 of the bill on “The Promotion of Homosexuality”
says, “A person who acts as an accomplice or attempts to promote or in any way
abet homosexuality and related practices is committing an offence and is liable
for conviction to a line of live thousand currency point or imprisonment for a
minimum of five years, a maximum of seven years, or both fine and imprisonment.
The oddest part of the legislation includes a provision for
Ugandans that engage in same-sex relations outside the country,
asserting that they may be extradited back to Uganda for punishment. It also
includes penalties for individuals, companies, media organizations or
non-governmental organizations that know of gay people or support LGBT rights.
Anyone who acts as an accomplice or attempts to promote or
abet homosexuality-related practices commits an offence and liable to a large
fine, imprisonment of five to seven years, or both. What is not clear is what would
happen to an attorney representing a gay suspect; a doctor treating a gay
patient; or a journalist filing a report about gay persons!
I long list of people suspected of being gay or lesbian
whose whereabouts remain a mystery include: Adela Ashabomwe from Bushenyi (33)
- a 2005 Makerere University graduate who disappeared in March 2008. Adella and
her partner Abaasa Adelyn were arrested in a police raid in March 2008. They
have since not been heard from. Charles Kagaba, Jalia Nakiyaga, Saida Mwebaze,
Zulah Naiga, Yudayah Kazibwe, Susan Namutebi, Ruth Mukasa Naluwooza and Asuman
Kabugo of Ndejje are among the homosexuals whose relatives have never found
them or their remains.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
Others include Xaevier Francis; Nicholas Atuheire Rugasira,
a dual citizen of Rwanda and Uganda; Peter Kayanja of Mukono district whose
home was destroyed; Steven Sebaggala of Katikamu Luwero district – he was
initially suspended from Kisule Boarding School due to homosexual acts and
Mathew Muwonge and Jamal Ali.
Efforts to contact most police spokespersons were futile. One
police spokesperson this newspaper did contact said: “There is no way police
can help those people [homosexuality], because they don't come to us and report
cases for persecution.” She added that: “We just hear about these disappearances
from newspapers … that is where police find it difficult to help. We don't act
on rumor. Let them come and report to the police.”
It is also worth noting that while the government is often
quick to crash and disperse opposition demonstrations, using tear gas and the notorious
“Kiboko Squad” (an illegal, stick-wielding group linked to the Kayihura police,
which has been beating civilians in the presence of police since 2007), it has
also turned a blind eye to anti-homosexuality demonstrations around the
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