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Uganda’s Anti-Gay Campaign Snares LGBT People and Rival Pastors, Tabloid Promises More “Outings”

Jim Burroway

May 14th, 2009

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!

L-R: Don Schmierer, Scott Lively, Lee Caleb Brundidge

L-R: Don Schmierer, Scott Lively, Lee Caleb Brundidge

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.

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda’s Red Pepper (Scans via GayUganda. Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda’s Red Pepper (Scans via GayUganda. Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

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.

George Oundo

George Oundo

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.

L-R: Pastor Robert Kayanja, Pastor Michael Kyazze, alleged kidnap victim Chris Muwonge (New Vision)

L-R: Pastor Robert Kayanja, Pastor Michael Kyazze, alleged kidnap victim Chris Muwonge (New Vision)

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)

Medics carrying Tumukunde to an ambulance. (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.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Comments

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Peter O
May 14th, 2009 | LINK

Jim,

A really good piece showing the level of homophobia that exists in Uganda, but can I pull you up on one thing. You write:

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of the Church of Uganda was fending off insinuations that he was gay. Those insinuations apparently came from the Church of Uganda’s Archbishop Luke Orombi.

Reading the link that you have, there is no evidence that Orombi has actually accused Senyonjo of being homosexual, only Senyonjo claiming such. Can you provide a link to the actual words of Orombi that fit the charge?

Jim Burroway
May 14th, 2009 | LINK

I have updated the sentence to reflect that Senyonjo believes the insinuations are coming from Orombi.

John
May 14th, 2009 | LINK

All this Chritian behavior on display.

Ben in Oakland
May 14th, 2009 | LINK

If it weren’t so tragic for the innocent victims of this– gay eople– the ciruclar firing squad would be a farce…

Not that we needed it, but is this anything but even more proof that it is not homosexuality that brings down empires, but the obsession with it by people who claim to hate it, but whose lives are wrapped around it far more than any gay person’s?

Sort of reminds me of an old acquaintance who, 20 years after he had taken his last drink, still HAD to attend AA meetings three times a week? His life was still about alcohol.

How many children died in Darfur while Naggie Gallagher, good Christian that she is, gets her panties in a bunch aobut my marriage?

Tavdy
May 14th, 2009 | LINK

Why do I get the impression that the Ugandan Christofascists are doing our work for us? The tale of the boy who cried wolf comes to mind: by the time they’re finished either they’ll all be going through ex-gay psychotorture or any accusation they level at someone who actually is LGBT will be ignored because no-one will believe them.

Bruce Garrett
May 14th, 2009 | LINK

“He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind…”

Classic “First they came for (X) and I said nothing…” chain of events, isn’t it? Let’s go after the homosexuals. Let’s whip people into a frenzy of anti-gay passion. Let’s unleash a mighty whirlwind of righteous fury against the homosexual menace. But the whirlwind obeys no master…

Strange, True & Religious : Uganda’s strange anti-gay feeding frenzy has pastors accusing rivals of gayness
May 14th, 2009 | LINK

[...] From Box Turtle Bulletin>: [...]

SharonB
May 14th, 2009 | LINK

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians; they are so un-like your Christ.”

-Ghandi

----
May 14th, 2009 | LINK

I wish the Bible had never gotten outside Palestine.

Lynn David
May 15th, 2009 | LINK

Has anyone tried asking Schmierer what he was thinking about going to Uganda with Lively? Or has he gone the “no comment” route?

Rick Warren-linked Ugandan Pastor Interrogated over “Sodomy” Allegations Against Rival Pastor « Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion
May 20th, 2009 | LINK

[...] in Uganda appears to be taking on the characteristics of  a seventeenth-century witch hysteria; Box Turtle Bulletin has a useful round-up: This latest campaign began nearly two and a half months ago when three [...]

Ssentongo
June 18th, 2009 | LINK

I am a Ugandan and a muganda by tribe, in our culture being a gay or a lesbian its absolutely wrong, its aganist the laws of land, nature and God. we don’t want what happened in sodomy and gomora to happen here don’t take God for granted, and stop justifying your self dat he accepts gays. He’s a holy God and he created each part of our body for a reason entrance and exit so don’t make it the opposite way. We know all your plans of using the western countries to change our country with sodomy but also we have not seated back, we are ready to fight for the future of our children so that they don’t join the cast people. We are soon launching a compiagn to wipe out sodomy out of Uganda completely in a period of one year by Gods Grace we will do it. But still there’s another chance of you people turning to God and you will be be free like the Oudos who have come out of that and now is a very happy man and ready to get married to a wife not a fellow man.
NB: Wish you all the best but we are ready to fight for our country and children because our Nation is Godly nation.

Timothy Kincaid
June 18th, 2009 | LINK

Let Ssentongo’s threats about being “willing to fight” and “wiping out” be a warning. This nation is likely to soon see more bloodshed, innocent gay men and women attacked or perhaps killed by those who think their violence and hatred is justified by their god.

When nations start calling themselves a “Godly nation”, you can almost be certain that violence, oppression, human rights violations, murder, and all forms of evil are soon to follow.

Because people like Ssentongo have been fed on hatred and nurtured in evil and are ready to hurt you without feeling the slightest remorse.

oundo george
July 2nd, 2009 | LINK

i would like respond on the matter that i named father anthony musaala a catholic priest a homosexual,

i want all of you writting about this matter to go back ang read the 1 april 2009 news papper and see well before you wriite some thing about this matter , i didnt name musaaala although he is a homosexual whom i know and if you want me to talk a bout him i can do it, but try to writte the true things not to lie about my name,

for many years i have been with you gays and we know each other if i changed and you are still their what is the big deal to writte all nonsense a bout me ? is their any thing wrong with saying musaala a homosexual? you gay be honest you know the truth and thats the truth that musaala is a homosexual and they will still talk a bout him if he goes on getting boys like before,

i have be taking my time to talk about these issues but becoze you gays are not well informed with what you are writting a bout me am out and i have to let you know whats the truth,

about me getting saved in makerere community church let it not be your problems you gays if you want you can also get saved and come over their for fellowship like i do,

i want also to let you that i didnt get saved after the ant gay confrrence, the confrence found me already saved but i was quote reprograming my mind so get informed before you writte any thing, and let you know that i have to work towards restoring back moral values and gods plan to have biological childrens not importing sperms for childrens and thats what i want yopu gay to know , yes am saved and i will be and am waiting to see all of you changed like i did,

oundo george

0715595407

God bless you all

NB remenber its paul kagaba who named musaala a homosexual; not me,

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2009 | LINK

for many years i have been with you gays and we know each other if i changed and you are still their what is the big deal to writte all nonsense a bout me ?

If you have decided to adopt a different identity and “reprogram your mind”, Ouando, that is between you and your God. But to participate in the anti-gay pogrom that is going on in your country is an evil act. To turn people whom you know over to authorities or to public scrutiny knowing that they will be harmed is an act of evil.

is their any thing wrong with saying musaala a homosexual?

If it results in harm coming to Musaala, then you are guilty and responsible before God for the harm you caused to your neighbor.

What you decide to do with your life is acceptable to me. What you do to others is an offense to me, to decency, to the concepts of freedom and liberty, and to God Himself.

Scott
July 8th, 2009 | LINK

“you gay be honest you know the truth and thats the truth that musaala is a homosexual…”

Well, at least he’s taking a cue from the American “ex-gays”: “you know….”, “you know that’s the truth”, etc.

And I still say: “Uh, NO. I DON’T know.”

Scott
July 8th, 2009 | LINK

“To turn people whom you know over to authorities or to public scrutiny knowing that they will be harmed is an act of evil.”

Thank you!

And you know what they say: what comes around goes around.

This George Uondo guy may be having fun putting other people in danger, but being an “ex-gay” doesn’t guarantee his safety. Who’s to say Uganda might change its mind and decide “once a di*ksu*ker, ALWAYS a di*ksu*ker”, and arrests Oundo too.

Behind Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill | Asterisk
December 1st, 2009 | LINK

[...] conference in Uganda. Very soon after that conference Red Pepper, a Ugandan tabloid, began printing full page lists of gays for people to target, often complete with [...]

Benny Hinn Accused Of “Sodomy” In Uganda « Reality Bong
February 26th, 2010 | LINK

[...] accused Kayanja of homo-sex almost a year ago but he was found innocent, and Ssempa was then charged for filing a false police report.  Now he’s facing heat for showing pornography to children [...]

Ugandan First Lady Accused of ‘backing homophobic smear campaign’ against Rivals « O-blog-dee-o-blog-da
July 15th, 2011 | LINK

[...] that plot.George Oundo, a notorious ‘ex-gay’ who appears to be in the pay of Ssempa, has previously accused Fr. Anthony Musaala, who runs a large Catholic youth Charismatic Renewal Movement in competition [...]

Pastor DivneGrace
April 5th, 2013 | LINK

It is so sad that those who are supposed to be brothers in the Lord are fighting and devouring each other like this. Oh Lord Jesus, have mercy.

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