A second Ugandan tabloid, the Sunday Onion (no relation to the U.S. satirical paper by the same name) has decided to join Rolling Stone (no relation to the U.S. magazine by the same name — why can’t anyone come up with anything original?) in a “me, too” game of gay outing. Sunday Onion’s cover story proclaims “Fr. Tony has turned me into his sodomy boy: Boy confesses being sodomized by priest, names partners in homo sex.”
The priest named in the Sunday Onion, “Fr. Tony,” is Fr. Anthony Musaala, a popular Catholic priest and gospel singer who was accused of homosexuality more than a year ago. That so-called “outing” was the start of an intensive “pastor’s war,” in which rival pastors accused each other of homosexuality as a means of discrediting the more popular and wealthy pastors. Martin Ssempa was a key player in many of those accusations. He was eventually brought up on charges of filing false reports with the police, but it is unclear today where those charges stand.
Ssempa is also believed to be behind the latest anti-gay campaign being executed by Rolling Stone. That tabloid was ordered by a Ugandan court earlier today to cease publishing “identities by name or pictures or any relevant implication of the person or person perceived by the respondents to be gay, lesbian or homosexual in general.”
Sunday Onion is under no such injunction. In addition to a very florid account by a so-called “top gay activist,” Sunday Onion pubished the identities of nearly twenty LGBT Ugandans. Many of those identified were well-known LGBT advocates, but many more were ordinary private citizens. In some cases, their occupations and towns were listed as well.
Meanwhile, Red Pepper, the tabloid which practically invented the art of anti-gay vigilantism, engaged in a bit of gay-baiting itself in its most recent issue. A page 6 article, titled “Media Advisory: Serial Lesbo On the Run,” alleges that a lesbian had “surfed the yoyo” of her housekeeper and was now being sought by police.
Of course, the main intent of the story is not whether there is any factual information behind it, but to reinforce the stereotypes that run rampant in Uganda of predatory gays and lesbians. Undoubtedly, if there’s anything we’ve learned from watching Uganda’s tabloids, it’s that the easiest way to get back at someone — whether it’s a pastor or an unpopular sports figure — is to accuse that individual of homosexuality.