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Ugandan LGBT Advocate Found Beheaded (Updated — It’s A Hoax)

Jim Burroway

July 5th, 2010

NOTE: This story has been revealed to be a complete hoax. Complete details can be found here.

Important update, 7/6/2010: Despite three sources providing some corroborating details, the veracity of this story has been called into question. Sources in the U.S. and Uganda now tell me that the young man in question was not connected with Integrity Uganda, and that Bishop Christopher Senyonjo did not make the statement attributed to him by Changing Attitudes. I am still looking for more information and will provide updates as soon as I have them.

Update @14:45 PST: More fingerprints of a hoax are emerging. The Rev. Erich Kasirye, identified as the “General Secretary, Integrity Uganda” and who gave an extensive quotation that I reproduced below, appears to have been involved with a few money-raising scams through his connection with Integrity Uganda in 2004. He also absconded with the Kitemu Community Center, which had been built using funds from Integrity USA, by turning it over to the Anglican Church of Uganda while renouncing his connections with Integrity Uganda to church officials. Integrity USA and Integrity Uganda severed ties with Kasirye at that time. More information here.

A reader tipped me to this horrible news. The severed head of a volunteer for Integrity Uganda, the pro-LGBT organization founded by Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, was found in a pit latrine on a farm in Makindye Sabagabo, Wakiso District.

Judith Nabakooba, a police spokesperson, identified the head as that of Pasikali Kashusbe, one of the workers on Kigggundu’s farm and a member of Integrity Uganda. Pasikali and his partner Abbey are youth workers with Integrity Uganda charged with the responsibility of mobilising young LGBT people in activities which build community capacity to face up to the challenge of homophobia, especially in the area of attitude change and care through drama and sports activities.

According to the police, a mutilated torso which was earlier in the week discovered in Kabuuma Zone, about half a kilometre away from Kiggundu’s farm was probably Pasikali’s The torso was described as belonging to a young man and had no genitals.

Pasikali went missing over three and half weeks ago when the country was celebrating Uganda Martyrs Day. All efforts by his partner Abbey and other family members to find him had been fruitless.

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, Chairperson of Integrity Uganda lamented the murder of this young man as ‘absurd’ adding that, ‘clearly, the values of tolerance and social inclusion are sadly being sacrificed on the altar of state ignorance, ineptness and good old colonial stupidity’.

Uganda’s Martyr’s Day, a national holiday, is a particularly dangerous time for LGBT people. The holiday commemorates the death of several Anglican and Catholic missionaries converts ordered by the Bugandan King Mwanga II, who felt that foreign religious influences posed a threat to his kingdom. In fact, his fears proved correct; the executions prompted Britain to invade Uganda and turn it into a British colony. Popular lore has it that King Mwanga II, who himself was a teenager, killed the martyrs because they refused his homosexual advances. While that belief is widespread, this particular allegation is typically not found in more reputable hagiographies. It is unclear how much of that part of the story is true or how much of it is lore that was reinforced by the British colonial government to discredit the king.

The farm where Kashusbe’s head was found is reportedly owned by Badru Kiggundu, who is the chairman of Uganda’s Electoral Commission. Police found the head while searching for a missing priest, Rev Henry Kayizzi Nsubuga, who disappeared almost two and half weeks ago after delivering a speech at St. Paul’s Church in Kanyanya supporting homosexuality in Uganda.

The independent television network NTV Uganda posted this video three days ago, but doesn’t mention the circumstances which appear to have led to Pasikali’s murder:

YouTube Preview Image

Daily Monitor, Uganda’s largest newspapers, has a few more sparse details here. In this report, the victim is identified as Paschal Kashushu. Amid conflicting reports, it appears that at at least one man has been arrested, possibly a relative. I’m trying to get more information directly from Uganda.

Changing Attitudes has this statement from Rev Erich Kasirye, General Secretary, Integrity Uganda:

Pasikali and his partner Abbey joined Integrity Uganda in June 2007 and during the last three years, Integrity Uganda has seen an increase in coordination and harmonisation of youth activities. Pasikali emphasized the promotion of the concept of care across the continuum through the formation of voluntary home care groups for young LGBTIs who continue to live in fear. He will be greatly missed by the entire LGBTI fraternity.

As for the missing priest, the only direct news reports that I can find about him appear in the government-owned New Vision. There is no mention of Rev. Nsubuga’s sermon. Instead, it appears that relatives are painting the missing priest as mentally “stressed.” A report by a reporter from Kamulali Newspaper and re-published on the virulently anti-gay web site Virtue Online provides more hints about the possible link between Rev. Nsubuga’s disappearance and his pro-gay sermon.

Comments

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Emily K
July 5th, 2010 | LINK

this is just horrendous. man’s inhumanity to man.

Steve
July 5th, 2010 | LINK

Okay, Rick Warren, let’s hear how sorry you are.

Sarah
July 5th, 2010 | LINK

Heartbreaking.

John in the Bay Area
July 5th, 2010 | LINK

Someone should alert Alan Chambers to this story.

Christopher™
July 5th, 2010 | LINK

Blood. Meet Alan Chambers’ hands.

You feckless moral coward. No overdue mea culpa will absolve you from the key role you and Exodus played in creating this type of murderous anti-gay environment.

At every event at which you speak, we should hold up a poster of Pasikali Kashusbe’s headless torso to remind you of what you and Exodus “contribute” to the world.

Sherry
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Unspeakable. Inhuman. Tragic.
Most positively not Christ-like.

Michael Bussee
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

I sent Alan Chambers and Randy Thomas the news in case they were out of touch.

Disgusted American
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

I BLAME the American Evengelicals…and C-street politicans!

DougH
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

I traveled overland through Uganda in the 1980s,admittedly a while ago. But the country had a cannibal as a president for 10 years. I mean, let’s not expect too much, people, in terms of human rights! If you live in a place where they will kill gays, then keep your mouth shut and your sex private! Isn’t that common sense? I’m as out as I want to be, but I don’t go into redneck bars and try to pick up the patrons!

Nick
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Terribly sad, showing the hatred that has been stirred up through the kill-the-gays bill.

However please note that the Uganda Martyrs were not missionaries, but the King’s page-boys who had been converted to Christianity and told that to further accept his advances would be wrong.

Some people ask whether the page boys were right to follow the teachings of the foreign priests and disobey their king.

To say that these killings prompted Britain to invade Uganda is an over-simplification. I doubt they cared that much about them, though the priests did of course. Britain’s interest in Uganda pre-dated the missionaries and was based on its desire to find and control the source of the Nile, whose waters Egypt relied on. Though it was subjected to British Administration as a so-called Protectorate, Uganda was never colonised in the sense that there were said to be no settlers allowed (though in practice there were a few).

paul j stein
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Looks like they don”t need a NEW law, they just keep killing like they have done for eons. Same sh!t different day. This one made some news. How many go unreported?

Priya Lynn
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Dough said “If you live in a place where they will kill gays, then keep your mouth shut and your sex private!”.

In the short term that might be a good idea but if everyone does that then who will advocate for equality, or at least mitigate the attempts to legislate gays out of existence? These men are heroes and their loss is not entirely in vain – their deaths will further shine the spotlight on the evil going on in Uganda and hopefully pressure its government to scale back its campaign of hate and violence.

Priya Lynn
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Nick, why should we believe your version of the story over Jim Burroway’s who is an experienced researcher?

Nick
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Priya, I lived in Uganda for 20 years. Feel free to ask a Ugandan.

Priya Lynn
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Nick I don’t see how that makes you any more a reliable source than Jim. When a myth is widespread in a country living there can blind you to the truth.

Priya Lynn
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

In other words Nick, living there for 20 years doesn’t give you anymore insight into what happened 100 years ago than anyone else.

Regan DuCasse
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

DougH, there is a quality of invasive and determined uncovering of gay men and women in Uganda and no amount of silence, closeting or hiding would help.

You should know, that a government and it’s representatives THIS paranoid and with such malice and intent of violence towards gay people, will create hunting parties to find them.

Gay men and women NOWHERE have really had the option of privacy. There is always a cloud of suspicion for the most innocuous things. Like not being married or conspicuously dating someone of the opposite sex sets tongues wagging in any given workplace or social circle. Even in America.

So your statement is naive and uncharitable at best.
There is always someone who thinks it’s their god given duty to out someone suspected of being gay.
Even children on schoolyards are willing to brutally bully another child to the point of suicide for the same reason.

Get real.
Rick Warren, Scott Lively and all manner of ex gay and anti gay missionaries exacerbated this problem and gave their blessing and therefore credence to doctrines already in place.
Were any of the gays and lesbians unable to report on the risks they face, BTB or even Ban Kee Moon of the UN wouldn’t know this was going on in the first place.

The courageous members of the LGT community in Uganda had no choice and you’re mouthing off as if they did.
Give them props you yourself apparently haven’t earned and don’t want to.

Between the barbarism of anti gay violence like this, and anti woman violence in Africa, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq: women’s and LGBT issues are firmly entwined.
And to me, all of a piece, involves misogyny to the point of insanity like this.

Keep their mouths shut? Yeah, right, like THAT is gonna help or as if they had a choice to.

Christopher
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Gay men and women NOWHERE have really had the option of privacy.

If I may add a further thought to that, in an ideal world gay men and women wouldn’t need the “option of privacy”. In an ideal world a person’s sexual orientation would not mean an automatic death sentence, which is where Uganda seems to be headed. To take DougH’s example of “redneck bars”, while a gay man may not go into such a place and try to pick up one of the patrons, he shouldn’t be be afraid that his sexuality is going to be used as an excuse by some of the patrons to throw him out–or worse.

Of course I realize we don’t live in an ideal world, but Uganda currently seems to be actively moving away from the ideal.

Timothy Kincaid
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Nick’s version and Jim’s version are not inconsistent.

The martyrs situation was not the sole reason for British take-over, but it did provide the necessary justification or, as Jim said, “prompt Britain to invade Uganda.”

Jim’s version does not go into all of the complexities of Victorian politics, but it need not do so in order to discuss the fact that Ugandan Martyrs Day is a particularly dangerous time for LGBT people.

Priya Lynn
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy its nice to see you caring about what I think.

Jim notes that the allegations that the martyrs were killed because they refused the king’s gay advances are not found in more reputable hagiographies and he refers to this as a “belief” and “lore”. Nick seems to accept that those allegations are true when he says “the King’s page-boys who had been converted to Christianity and told that to further accept his advances would be wrong.”

Nick
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

But the fact of who the martyrs were is an important issue Timothy. And (though this is my first time here for a while) I’ve never had any reason before to question things that I’ve read before on this site about Uganda. I know well enough from the writings and postings that I make elsewhere about other places I know less well, how easy it is to make a mistake. So I would ask Jim to check his facts.
Perception is an interesting thing – if someone does not want to be convinced, they won’t be. But funny that the martyrs have Luganda names with Africanised biblical names, like Matias Mulumba, Apolo Kaggwa, etc, if they were missionaries.

Nick
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Oh, I have just seen that the word ‘missionaries’ has been changed to ‘converts’, so thanks for that, Jim.
On Priya’s last point, not everyone in Uganda would be happy with the interpretation that the martyrs were executed because of refusing the king’s homosexual advances, it’s true, but it is mostly the homophobes who make a big deal out of denying it.

Priya Lynn
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

So, what do you believe Nick? Do you accept that the martyrs were killed for refusing the king’s gay advances as your comment implied or do you acknowledge as Jim did that there is no proof of this?

EZam
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

I hate sounding like Ann Coulter, but the only way we could solve the situation in Uganda is by invading it, overthrow their leaders and convert its people to reason, freethought and tolerance.

Priya Lynn
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Further to Nick’s last comment I should add that every homophobe I’ve heard refer to the martyr’s story has claimed that they were killed for resisting the king’s gay adavances – I’ve never heard any homophobe deny that that was the reason why they were killed.

Swampfox
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

A most horrible crime. I remember a couple of months ago when 60 Minutes did a segment on Uganda and their AIDS infection rate was is extremely high. The United States is funding the treatment for many of those who have AIDS. However, nothing was mentioned about the anti-gay hatred in Uganda on the 60 Minutes segment. I was disappointed.

Nick
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

My sense of what people there believe is that it is very likely that, yes, the martyrs were killed, at least in part for rejecting the king’s advances. But indeed, it cannot be proved either way. And he is the king, who can do no wrong.
But I would agree with Jim that “King Mwanga II … felt that foreign religious influences posed a threat to his kingdom” and that was a significant part of the story, and indeed established history. I don’t think I’ve said anything to suggest otherwise, just that we got concentrated on particular points.

If you imagine people who traditionally never talked about heterosexual matters (except in the strictest circumstances where family particular family members had the task of imparting particular information), still less homosexual, they would be unlikely to spell it out about the king’s homosexual advances. Which could be one reason why it is not mentioned so much in the writings that exist.

On the question of the take of the homophobes in Uganda, there are those people among the Baganda who are homophobes and would not wish to think their king would do such things. The king of the Baganda was and is held in great awe and reverence. In my opinion the recent stirring up of hate by the Bahati Bill and the nasty pastor Sempa, will have made what people think about the reason for the martyrs deaths more confused if they did not have a firm opinion beforehand.

glbtqja
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

This is indeed sad news and following on the demise of the priest. I wonder how the Ugandan people can begin to understand that all life is precious and must be respected despite orientation?

My condolences to the group there.

H

homer
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

I was waiting for this to happen. The American fundamentalists are directly to blame.

Priya Lynn
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Nick, I didn’t ask you if the people of Uganda think the martyrs were killed for rejecting the king’s advances, I asked if that’s what you think. I also didn’t suggest you’d said anything to deny “King Mwanga II … felt that foreign religious influences posed a threat to his kingdom”. The comment you made was “…the King’s page-boys who had been converted to Christianity and told that to further accept his advances would be wrong.” and that implied that you accepted as fact the allegation that the martyrs were killed at least in part for rejecting the king’s advances contrary to what Jim said. Is that the case?

Priya Lynn
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

And Nick, if that is what you believe, on what do you base your conclusion?

Timothy Kincaid
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

A thought on the Ugandan martyrs:

A martyr is someone who is killed for their faith. If the pages where killed solely for resisting advances, then they would not be martyrs.

So the anti-gays retell the story with homosexuality as the villain and equate Christianity with “resisting homosexuality.” The presumption is that were they not Christian, it would not have occurred to them to not welcome advances – which may or may not be true, but seems to me to be something that does not deserve the benefit of presumption.

It is similar to the way that the story of Sodom is retold. Although in the Genesis telling, God decided to destroy Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim for the outcry against them and for the grevousness of their sin, those who would see this told in terms of homosexuality retell the tale so that the cause of the destruction of the four cities was the homosexuality of the men of Sodom as evidenced by an event that occurs after God’s stated intention.

It, like the Uganda story, is a retelling in which (to borrow a phrase from Exodus) the opposite of homosexuality is holiness and vice versa

Ironically, this deification of heterosexuality and equating it to godly faith is precisely what Judaic Law sought to oppose. The Levitical prohibitions on certain types of sexuality were in large part to distinguish between Judaism and the surrounding sex-cult practices.

At times it seems to me that Christianity has almost gone to the opposite extreme. The emphasis which some Christians place on penises and vaginae and what to do with them come close to sex-cult in their obsessive quality.

Jim Burroway
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Important update: Despite three sources providing some corroborating details, the verasity of this story has been called into question. Sources in the U.S. and Uganda now say that the young man in question was not connected with Integrity Uganda, and that Bishop Christopher Senyonjo did not make a statement attributed to him by Changing Attitudes. I am still looking for more information and will provide updates as soon as I have them.

Nick
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Priya, this part “and told that to further accept his advances would be wrong.” is an opinion based on previous reading and discussions while in Uganda. In my efforts to correct Jim’s original assertion of the martyrs identity, I should not in that first of my posts have portrayed that part here re-quoted as fact. But otherwise I think I made clear my views that denying the king’s advances was a part of it and clearly the political situation was another part of it.

What I was trying to say in the post previous to this one is that this is a view I have formed from talking people when the subject has come up, which is at least every year on Martyrs day.

I am allowed, whilst answering your questions, to express my agreement with Jim wouldn’t you think?

Nick
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

I guess I may be biased in favour of the story that says the martyrs were killed, at least partly, because they refused the king’s homosexual advances. Biased because this much-believed part of the story is a useful spoke in the the wheel of argument by LGBTs in Africa against the modern argument which says that “homo sex (etc) is un-African, it was not there until the colonialists brought it” – the literature, to say that the early explorers, anthropologists and colonialists found homosexuality being practised by some, exists, but is sparse.

Also I would agree with pretty much everything in Timothy’s post, except to point out that to consider disobeying the king was anathema, whether it was sexual advances, rejecting a new religion, or any combination of the two. If I understand correctly the workings of the court at that time, the king’s word was law and anyone else’s personal thoughts or inconveniences did not come into the equation.

Good evening all.

Timothy Kincaid
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Nick,

Thanks for providing an informed perspective. Whatever the real facts may have been, the myth is reality at this point – it’s what motivates.

Priya Lynn
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Good enough, Nick.

Jim Burroway
July 6th, 2010 | LINK

Update @14:45 PST: More fingerprints of a hoax are emerging. The Rev. Erich Kasirye, identified as the “General Secretary, Integrity Uganda” and who gave an extensive quotation that I reproduced below, appears to have been involved with a few money-raising scams through his connection with Integrity Uganda in 2004. He also absconded with the Kitemu Community Center, which had been built using funds from Integrity USA, by turning it over to the Anglican Church of Uganda while renouncing his connections with Integrity Uganda to church officials. Integrity USA and Integrity Uganda severed ties with Kasirye at that time. More information here.

Bejice
July 7th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks (sarcastically) to the missionaries of hate, especially Scott Lively who went to Africa, specifically Uganda and preached nothing but pure hate towards homosexuals (if hate can ever be pure). What he did was similar to stirring up a fire in a dry forest, got into his luxury plane and flew back to his wealthy home and comfort in America, leaving gay people burning in the fire he started with no exit signs to safety. You can clearly see the confusion is his eyes during the interview. If he feels he has such a ‘ministry’, why not go out and not only preach but also bring healings and help that struggling countries need, and let God be the judge of it all?

sokari ekine
July 7th, 2010 | LINK

It is unfortunate that Box Turtle did not take the time to verify this story before publishing. In order to ensure that the “hoax” is given as much publicity I hope you will publish that story independently.

Below is a press statement from SMUG on this story.

http://www.blacklooks.org/2010/07/beheaded-ugandan-not-an-lgbt-activist/

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