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Ugandan Police Block Kampala Anti-Gay Demo

Jim Burroway

February 17th, 2010

The anonymous blogger GayUganda discovered an e-paper only version of the Daily Monitor, Uganda’s largest independent newspaper, which said, “Police yesterday blocked antihomosexuality activists who had planned a demonstration in Kampala in support of the antigays Bill.” The rest of the article reported on Monday’s Jinja demonstration.

It appears in the Monitor’s report that when police yesterday “blocked” the Kampala demonstration, they are probably referring to an announced meeting that was to have taken place Tuesday with Pentecostal pastor Martin Ssempa, an ardent supporter of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. That proposed bill would impose the death penalty on LGBT people under certain circumstances, and mandate life imprisonment for the rest.

Gay Uganda reconstructs a timeline and suspects that this means that Ssempa is “going rogue.” The real question is whether Ssempa will run afoul with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, who controls more than two-thirds of the seats in Parliament and is accustomed to breaking up opposition rallies, barring political figures from the airwaves, and shutting down radio stations he doesn’t like. Is Ssempa really going rogue, or is he simply acting out his part in a larger play of political gamesmanship? That’s the riddle we’re all trying to figure out.

Update: AFP reports that the Jinja rally took place after Ssempa obtained police authorization. And another tea leaf sinks to the bottom of the cup.

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

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