Ugandan Singer Criticizes Anti-Homosexualty Bill, Tabloid Retaliates

Jim Burroway

February 18th, 2014

Remember back at a time when, if anyone were to stand up for gay people, they would be accused of being gay themselves? It’s been a long time since that’s been a common occurrence here in the U.S., although I’m sure it still happens. In Uganda, however, it happens in the papers. The tabloid, Red Pepper, which has a long history of dangerous anti-gay “outings,” has taken that tactic when a popular singer, Keko, criticized President Yoweri Museveni’s announcement that he will sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Red Pepper says Keko took to social media saying, “If Sevo signs the anti-homosexuality bill, we are always going to be third world. Development is tolerance.” And then promptly “outed” her:

“Keko was seen comfortably seated with Sheeba Kalungi,” says Red Pepper

For over the years it has been rumored that female rapper Keko is a lesbian.

It has been claimed that the singer is in a gay relationship with fellow singer Sheeba Karungi, and actually stay together in a rented apartment in Kiwatule.

Neither of the two has ever denied the allegations. And now Keko has almost confirmed these allegations by blasting the president over the anti gay bill.

I put “outed” in quotes because I know nothing about Keko. I have no idea whether she’s gay, straight, or anywhere in-between. While I can understand that for the sake of visibility, that kind of detail would matter. But in a country like Uganda, that’s a first world luxury that gay people can’t afford. Here, the retaliation isn’t in the “outing,” but something far more sinister where being called a lesbian is an accusation of criminal activity rather than just a description of someone’s romantic leanings.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill will criminalize all advocacy by or on behalf of LGBT people with five to seven years’ imprisonment. Any day now, Keko’s tweet may become a criminal offense. But until that day comes when official sanctions can be applied, rags like the Red Pepper will be happy to provide plenty of unofficial sanctions.


February 18th, 2014

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill will criminalize all advocacy by or on behalf of LGBT people with five to seven years’ imprisonment.”

Thanks for repeating this again, though it seems the mainstream media are still refusing to say it.

The media seem to be bending over backwards to instead mischaracterize the bill in conformity with the right-wing lie that it merely criminalizes gay sex and marriages, which of course are already illegal in Uganda.


February 18th, 2014

It’s extremely courageous indeed for Keko to speak out.

While their support is very important and much appreciated, nothing Degeneres, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Obama, Hillary Clinton or Tutu could do could ever be as courageous as this.

Nick Thiwerspoon

February 18th, 2014

Thanks to the ChrisTaliban

Mark F.

February 19th, 2014

Considering the oppression suffered by Africans with colonialism and slavery, this is truly sad. As if nobody learns a thing from history. And , to be honest, I have to struggle to keep my latent racism in check when I see these stories. I don’t feel proud about that.

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