Slouching Toward Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate
November 10th, 2011
Beginning in 2009, BTB has been closely monitoring events leading up to and following the introduction of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. These pages include links to all of our posts, and including more information that we learned after some of the events took place. These pages will be updated as events continue to unfold.
Part 1: Laying the Groundwork (Feb 24 to Sept 15, 2009): Three American Evangelical activists announce anti-gay conference in Kampala • Special invite to the conference announced in Parliament • Rwandan Genocide blamed on gays • Exodus applauds Schmierer’s participation at the conference • “Ex-gay” becomes star of vigilante campaign • Videos surface of follow-up conference • Exodus remains silent as vigilante campaign continues • Uganda Parliament debates homosexuality “problem” • Ugandan tabloid publicizes names, employers of LGBT citizens • Parliament approves resolution calling for anti-homosexuality bill • Accusations of homosexuality ensnare rival pastors • Draft bill calling for death penalty circulates.
Part 2: Parliament Proposes to Kill the Gays (Oct 14 to Dec 31, 2009): Full Text of Anti-Homosexuality Bill • Uganda’s religious leaders debate AHB • US Reps Condemn AHB • More American ties to Uganda’s anti-gay politicians • Exodus sends letter to Ugandan president • Jeff Sharlet exposes ties between “The Family” and M.P. David Bahati, the bill’s sponsor • Sweden threatens foreign aid if bill passes • Rick Warren refuses to condemn AHB • Ugandan gov’t minister remains defiant over worldwide outrage • Seven Mountains Theology and the AHB • Exodus Board member dissembles on role in anti-gay conference • Schmierer also denies knowing what he was getting into (we provide counter-evidence) • “The Family” split on AHB • Rick Warren condemns AHB • Ugandan presidential adviser Opposes AHB • Advocate Val Kalende tells her story to Ugandan newspaper • More American evangelical connections to AHB proponents • Sec of State Hillary Clinton denounces AHB • EU condemns AHB • Martin Ssempa responds to Rick Warren’s condemnation • A lunch date with “ex-gay” speaker at Kampala anti-gay conference • Ugandan rally demands passage of AHB • AHB dominates Christmas messages in Uganda.
Part 3: “Go Slow On The Bill” (Jan 3 to Mar 31, 2010): Exodus board member plays “dupe” on role in Kampala conference • American Scott Lively calls AHB “a step in the right direction.” • BTB Video: Scott Lively’s “Nuclear Bomb” • Rumors that AHB may be withdrawn • Exodus board member continues to deny responsibility • “The Family” spokesman denounces AHB • American Evangelicals defend AHB • Scott Lively endorses “revised” AHB • Ugandan president urges “go slow,” announces Cabinet Subcommittee to reconsider AHB • AHB sponsor MP David Bahati to attend “The Family’s” National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. • Bahati disinvited to National Prayer Breakfast • Martin Ssempa shows gay porn in church • Andrew Wommack Ministries endorses AHB • American anti-gay activist Cliff Kincaid defends AHB • Martin Ssempa shows gay porn at news conference • Ugandan pol would kill his own gay son • Pastor wars reignite • Martin Ssempa lies about AHB in comment on BTB • Exodus president wants to apologize, but doesn’t • Exodus board finally condemns AHB.
Part 4: The Bill Stalls While Debate Rages (Apr 1 to Sep 28, 2010): ): Televangelist Joyce Meyer condemns AHB • American Evangelist Lou Engle announces rally in Kampala • Ugandan cabinet subcommittee recommends passing AHB on the down-low • Lou Engle praises AHB at Kampala rally • BTB interview with Ugandan Bishop Christopher Senyonjo • Scott Lively calls AHB “lesser of two evils” • Bishop Senyonjo describes impact of Lively’s 2009 conference • Scott Lively struggles with death penalty provision • Martin Ssempa’s “Eat Da Poo-Poo!” — the remix • Family Research Council lobbies against Congressional resolution condemning AHB • Exodus president expresses regret over Uganda debacle • Las Vegas megachurch stands by “international partner” Martin Ssempa • Nevada Health officials sever ties with Las Vegas megachurch • David Bahati declares his intention to kill every gay person in Africa • Prominent anti-gay Cabinet Minister loses election.
Part 5: “Hang Them!”
Note: All mention on this page to Rolling Stone, unless otherwise specified, refer to a Ugandan tabloid which had/has no relationship whatsoever to the venerable U.S. magazine by the same name.
October 4, 2010: “Hang Them!”: Another Wave of Anti-Gay Vigilantism Strikes Uganda. A new tabloid appeared on the streets of Kampala, Uganda a month earlier, and they appear intent on displacing the notorious Red Pepper as the leading instigator if vigilante violence against the country’s beleaguered gay community. The latest tabloid, Rolling Stone (no relation to the American publication of the same name), published several photos and names along with other identifying information in outing private LGBT citizens and others who are accused of homosexuality, all under the headline tagged with “Hang Them!”
October 4, 2010: Ugandan Tabloid May Have Used Facebook To Obtain Photos In Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign. More images continued to come from the notorious Rolling Stonetabloid exhorting readers to search out gay people and “hang them.” The tabloid, which published only eleven of its promised “100 pictures of Uganda’s top homos,” may have obtained some of the photos from Facebook profiles of ordinary LGBT people in Uganda and abroad. Sources in Uganda said that they recognized some of the published photos as having been posted on the popular social networking site. Many believe that someone posing as a gay man may have “friended” some in the LGBT community in order to obtain private information and photos, which were then turned over to Rolling Stone for publication.
October 5, 2010:Was Martin Ssempa Behind the Latest Vigilante Campaign?Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempawas quoted prominently in the accompanying article underneath Rolling Stone’s “Hang Them” headline, and source in Uganda have mentioned an individual who is known to have worked with Martin Ssempa in anti-gay campaigns in the past, and is believed to have obtained photos from Facebook.
October 5, 2010: Are These Martin Ssempa’s Fingerprints on the Latest Anti-Gay Campaign? A BTB reader in Uganda sent in clearer full-page scans of the Rolling Stonearticle, providing us with a unique opportunity to read the articles in full. And in doing so, we find that Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa gave the tabloid an “exclusive interview.” The scans also include a second article demanding a probe of the Uganda AIDS Commission. That article contains “secret” emails from Martin Ssempa, which raises the obvious question of how Rolling Stoneobtained them if not from Ssempa himself. This seems to indicate a close working relationship between Ssempa and Rolling Stone. And it also sheds light on another person “outed” by Rolling Stone, an American who hasn’t lived in Uganda since 2007, but who ran afoul of Ssempa while working as a journalism intern for a major Ugandan newspaper. It’s doubtful that Rolling Stone’syouthful editor was aware of the American, but Ssempa never forgets an enemy.
October 14, 2010: Ugandan Tabloid Shut Down by Government. The Uganda Media Council ordered the editors of Rolling Stone to ceace publication for failure to comply with Uganda’s Press and Journalist Act.
October 19, 2010: AP Notices Ugandan “Hang Them” Tabloid — Two Weeks Later. Mainstream media was slow to notice the latest developments in Uganda, and when they finally did, they flubbed their description of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill — as usual. But the AP did reveal some new information. It was revealed that since the infamous Rolling Stone article was published, at least four gay and lesbians on the list had been attacked and many others were in hiding.
October 21, 2010: Was the Ugandan Outing Campaign a Precursor to “Kill The Gays” Bill Revival? Jeff Sharlet, author of C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, spoke with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now about recent events in Uganda, and gave some possible connections between a recent vigilante campaign launched by the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone(no relation to the U.S. magazine by the same name) and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which has been languishing in at least one Parliamentary committee since earlier this year. Sharlet also raised concerns that that Las Vegas-based Canyon Ridge Community Church, which is a financial backer of Ugandan pastor and staunch Anti-Homosexuality Bill support Martin Ssempa, has not only maintained ties to Ssempa (see Jun 11, 2010), but is misleading their own congregation on what Ssempa stands for (see Jul 1, 2010).
October 21, 2010: The Real Rolling Stone: “African Impostor Spreads Hate Agenda”. The real, genuine Rolling Stone— the venerable U.S. cultural, music and entertainment bi-weekly founded in 1967 by Jann Wenner — has weighed in on the upstart impostor from Uganda that has captured so much attention the past three weeks.
October 22, 2010: Ugandan Cabinet Minister: Anti-Homosexuality Bill Will Be Passed “In Due Course”. CNN reported on the “Hang Them” outing campaign being waged by Rolling Stone. Ugandan LGBT advocate Pepe Julian Onziema told CNN, “People have been attacked, we are having to relocate others, some are quitting their jobs because they are being verbally abused. It’s a total commotion.” Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo responded by saying “They [the activists] are always lying.” He also promised that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be passed “in due course.” We also learn of reports that Rolling Stone has worked out its legal issues (see Oct 14, 2010) and may be back in business soon.
October 26, 2010: Las Vegas Church May Drop Support for Ugandan Anti-Gay Pastor. Conservative Evangelical professor Warren Throckmorton, who has been a stalwart opponent of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, received a message from Las Vegas-based Canyon Ridge Christian Church indicating that after several months’ delay and excuse-making (See Jun 11, 2010) and Jul 1, 2010) , they are considering dropping their financial support for Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, one of that country’s most ardent supporters of the proposed bill.
October 26, 2010: Uganda’s “Hang Them” Tabloid to Resume Publication. That’s according to a statement by Rolling Stone’s editor on his Facebook page.
October 31, 2010: Uganda’s “Hang Them” Tabloid Returns. Multiple reports indicate that Rolling Stone has hit the streets again following a nearly month-long hiatus with another installment of its anti-gay vigilante campaign.
November 1, 2010: Ugandan Tabloid Resumes Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign. In the latest edition, Rolling Stonehas apparently gone online to reproduce photos and other information from profiles of LGBT Ugandans posted on dating web sites. The so-called “investigative team” also has discovered the discredited American “researcher” Paul Cameron. The paper claims that gays in Uganda have a target “to recruit at least 1 million kids by 2012 — is your kid safe?” And yet the paper also denies that they are seeking mob justice. They also denied that anyone had been harmed as a result of the prior month’s edition. The latest edition also carried a prominent interview by Martin Ssempa with a so-called “ex-lesbian,” the most direct evidence yet that Ssempa is fully engaged in this vigilante campaign.
November 1, 2010: Uganda High Court Orders Tabloid To Halt Outing Campaign. Responding to complaints from Ugandan LGBT and human rights advocates, the Ugandan high court ordered Rolling Stone and its editors to refrain from any further publication of “the 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.”
November 1, 2010: Second Ugandan Tabloid Gets Into the “Outing” Act. The Sunday Onion (no relation to the U.S. satirical newspaper by a similar name) hit the news stands with the front page headline: “Fr. Tony has turned me into his sodomy boy: Boy confesses being sodomized by priest, names partners in homo sex.” “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,” (see May 14, 2009) 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. The same edition of Sunday Onion also published the identities of nearly twenty LGBT Ugandans. In some cases, their occupations and towns were listed as well. Another tabloid, Red Pepper, also got into the gay-baiting game.
November 2, 2010: Gay Uganda On Safety In a Climate of “Outing”. The anonymous blogger Gay Uganda appeared on a CNN segment talking about the difficulties of remaining safe in the midst of tabloid vigilante campaigns. He also posted on his blog about the “crippling fear” that overtook a friend of his when he learned he had been outed in the papers.
November 13, 2010: Barred from “Outing” Campaigns, Ugandan Tabloids Turn to Gay-Bating and Imaginative Conspiracy Theories. Ugandan tabloids have taken a cue from the High Court ruling which barred Rolling Stone from revealing the identities of anyone thought to be gay, and have turned instead to sensational stories involving massive conspiracies and gay-baiting. Saturday Onion ran a very imaginative story with the front cover headline, “30 Gals Join Campus Lesbian Club.” The same edition of Saturday Onionalso had a story about Martin Ssempa: “Since he waged war on bum drillers, funds slipping into his church project have drastically dwindled. …Ssempa is very bitter about dime not flowing into his church anymore from the Netherlands and other countries like it used to.” Meanwhile, Rolling Stone’s front page screamed “Homo Generals Plotted Kampala Terror Attacks”
November 19, 2010: Ugandan to Revive Anti-Homosexuality Soon. This was one hint alluded to in a recent newspaper report. Over time, this story would prove to be a false alarm, but it is indicative of the continued posturing over the bill.
December 2, 2010: Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill Author Coming to Washington, D.C. Next Week. M.P. David Bahati was expected to travel to Washington, D.C. along with a group of Ugandan members of Parliament to attend the 2010 Winter Conference of the International Consortium of Governmental Financial Management. We would also learn that Bahati expects the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be taken up during Parliament’s lame-duck session between the February elections and the installation of the next Parliament in May.
December 5, 2010: Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill Author Barred From Washington, D.C. Conference. Doug Hadden, the Vice President of Communications for the International Consortium of Governmental Financial Management, announced that “David Bahati will not be attending this conference.” Bahati continued to insist that he was going to attend the conference, but conference organizers said they were hiring extra security to make sure he wouldn’t attend.
December 6, 2010: Bahati’s Visa: Why Hasn’t It Been Rescinded?. Having learned that Bahati was entering the U.S. under a single-entry visa issued specifically so he could attend the International Consortium of Governmental Financial Management, a conference which organizers announced that they would not allow him to attend, we asked the obvious question: Why hasn’t his visa been rescinded?
December 7, 2010: Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill Author Turned Away From D.C. Conference. M.P. David Bahati arrived at the conference, but was turned away. According to spokesperson Doug Hadden, “There was a frank but calm discussion and Mr. Bahati was not able to enter the building.”
December 8, 2010: Ugandan Press Covers “Kill-The-Gays” MP’s Banishment From Conference. Daily Monitor, Uganda’s largest independent newspaper, covered M.P. David Bahati’s denial of entry into the International Consortium of Governmental Financial Management in Washington, D.C. Bahati complained that conference organizers had shown a “high level of intolerance” that is “inconsistent with American values.” He reportedly complained to Deputy Assistant of Secretary of State Bureau of African Affairs, Karl Wycoff. There is no report on Wycoff’s response, or whether the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was discussed with U.S. officials. But Bahati vowed, “[T]he resolve to defend the future of children and pursuit of this wonderful piece of legislation is intact.”
December 8, 2010: Ugandan “Kill The Gays” Bill Author on Rachel Maddow Show. M.P. David Bahati appeared on Rachel Maddow’s program on MSNBC for a two-part interview in which he claimed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was needed “to protect the children.” He also commended the tabloid Rolling Stone for their vigilante campaign (see Oct 4, 2010 and Nov 1, 2010), saying that he would hope that the police would use articles like these to hunt down gay people. He also called homosexuality a sin and said, “the wages of sin is death.”
December 10, 2010: “Kill The Gays” Bill Author and his American Friends: The Final part of Rachel Maddow’s Interview. M.P. David Bahati appeared on Rachel Maddow’s program for the final interview in which Bahati endorsed killing gay people “Through legislation like mine or by a mechanism of a human being, whatever happens is the end result.” This appeared to be justification for the extra-judicial murders advocate by Rolling Stone, which Bahati commended in an earlier segment (see Dec 8, 2010). In the second segment, Jeff Sharlet, author of C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, revealed that a former director of non-public education at the Department of Education under the President George W. Bush, Jack Klenk, was also one of Bahati’s supporters. Sharlet told Maddow that he had spoken to Klenk and said that Klenk wouldn’t take a position on the bill. But Klenk says that the bill comes from a “beautiful place” and that the punishments in it are “loving punishments.”
December 14, 2010: Ugandan Government Blocks Film Depicting LGBT Human Rights Workers. Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo blocked the showing of a documentary film, claiming that organizers intended to “promote homosexuality.” Organizers had intended to show the film at the National Theatre in central Kampala, but found the theater locked when they arrived for the event. The film, appropriately, portrays the difficulties that human rights workers encounter in fighting discrimination in the country.
December 20, 2010: Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill May Be Voted On In February. That’s the latest word on a possible timetable for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
December 23, 2010: Ssempa, Other Ugandan Pastors Charged With Conspiracy. Ever wonder what happened to the police investigation of the “Pastor Wars” which broke out last year? (see May 14, 2009) Anti-gay pastors Martin Ssempa, Solomon Male and two other pastors were charged with a “conspiracy to injure the reputation of Pastor Robert Kayanja of Rubaga Miracle Centre Cathedral, Kampala.”
January 3, 2011: Ugandan Court Bans Tabloid’s Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign. Uganda’s High Court issued a final ruling barring the tabloid Rolling Stone from conducting its outing campaign of private LGBT individuals (see Oct 4, 2010 and Nov 1, 2010). The court ruled that the issue is not about homosexuality but “the fundamental rights and freedoms” of private individuals. The court found that “the call to hang gays in dozens tends to tremendously threaten their right to human dignity” and that the tabloid’s act “threaten the rights of the applicants to privacy of the person and their home.”
January 3, 2011: Uganda’s High Court Ruling Against “Hang Them” Tabloid Campaign. We obtained the full text of the High Court ruling and posted it online. The court issued a permanent injunction against Rolling Stone, “their servants and agents, from any further publications of the identities of the persons and homes of the applicants and homosexuals generally.” The order only applies to Rolling Stone, but human rights advocates believe that it may serve as a precedent for other tabloids to follow. The judge also awarded each applicant 1,500,000 Uganda Shillings (US$650) for damages, plus court costs.
January 4, 2011: Martin Ssempa, 3 Others Plead Not Guilty to Conspiracy Charges. Anti-gay pentecostal pastors Martin Ssempa, Solomon Male, Michael David Kyazze, and Robert Kayiira entered not guilty pleas before Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate John Wekesa. The four pastors are charged with falsely accusing Kayanja of sodomy (see May 14, 2009 and Dec 23, 2010).
January 11, 2011: Ugandan Opposition Leader Calls for Decriminalization. Kizza Besigye, Uganda’s top opposition leader, said that if he were elected president, he would decriminalize homosexuality. “This is something that is done in the privacy of people’s rooms, between consenting adults,” he said. Besigye is challenging President Yoweri Museveni in the February 18 elections.
January 26, 2011: Ugandan LGBT Advocate Murdered; Had been Named by “Hang Them” Tabloid. Shocking news. LGBT advocate David Kato Kisulle was murdered in his home in Kampala. He was reportedly beaten in the skull with a hammer at his home. Kato’s photo had appeared on the front page of Rolling Stoneas the tabloid inaugurated its public vigilante campaign against LGBT Ugandans (see Oct 4, 2010).
January 27, 2011: “Kato” Means the Younger of Twins. LGBT advocates in Uganda and around the world mourned the shocking loss of David Kato. More details emerged from the circumstances surrounding his brutal murder. Already, police appeared exceptionally eager to rule out his activism as a factor in his murder despite not having any information as two who was guilty. People who knew him say that he had been the target of several death threats, especially after his court victory over Rolling Stone (see Jan 3, 2011).
January 27, 2011: David Kato Expressing Fears for His Life. Murdered LGBT advocate David Kato told CNN’s David McKenzie last October that he feared for his safety following the vigilante campaign waged by the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone.
January 27, 2011: Sec Clinton Issues Statement on Kato’s Murder. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement, saying, “Our ambassadors and diplomats around the world will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights policy, and to stand with those who, with their courage, make the world a more just place where every person can live up to his or her God-given potential. We honor David’s legacy by continuing the important work to which he devoted his life.”
January 27, 2011: Don Schmierer Responds to David Kato’s Murder. The Exodus International boardmember who participated in the infamous anti-gay conference that started this mess (see Feb 24, 2009), denied any responsibility for contributing to the climate that resulted in Kato’s death. “Naturally, I don’t want anyone killed but I don’t feel I had anything to do with that,” he told the New York Times. “I spoke to help people,” he said, “and I’m getting bludgeoned from one end to the other.” You read that right. David Kato died in a pool of blood after having had his skull bashed in with a hammer, but it’s Schmierer getting “bludgeoned.” Make a note of that.
January 27, 2011: President Obama on David Kato’s Killing: “LGBT Rights Are Not Special Rights; They Are Human Rights”. The White House issued a special statement on David Kato’s murder. “I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of David Kato. In Uganda, David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate. He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom. The United States mourns his murder, and we recommit ourselves to David’s work.”
January 27, 2011: Exodus President Responds to David Kato’s Murder. Exodus International president Alan Chambers reacted to David Kato’s murder on his organization’s blog. “The leadership of Exodus international and its member ministries are grieved over the tragic murder of Ugandan gay activist David Kato and we send our sincerest condolences to his family & friends.” Chambers reiterated his organization’s new policy opposing criminalization of homosexuality (see Mar 22, 2010 and June 8, 2010) and called for “justice to be fairly applied, not covered up, when the murderers are caught.”
January 28, 2011: Uganda’s Daily Monitor’s Most Remarkable Editorial. While noting that police have not officially determined the motive for his killing, Daily Monitor editors say this murder “reminds us of the homophobia that is widespread in our country and society – and the deadly consequences of not dealing with it.” The editorial goes on to touch briefly on several salient points: the deterioration of the overall atmosphere following the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the role that “foreign actors” play in the debate, and the “extreme positions of moral self-righteousness.”
January 28, 2011: Ugandan TV Coverage of David Kato’s Murder. Even though police don’t have a suspect, they are already calling his murder a robbery.
January 28, 2011: Scuffle Breaks out at David Kato’s Funeral. A scuffle broke out midway through David Kato’s funeral today when the Anglican priest Thomas Musoke burst out with an anti-gay rant. The funeral drew about 300 people, including 100 LGBT friends and colleagues. No one was hurt in the fighting, but LGBT advocates report that they had recieved threats that that their cars would be stoned as they left the service.
January 28, 2011: Scott Lively Responds to David Kato’s Murder. If you ever questioned whether holocaust revisionist anti-gay extremist Scott Lively is a truly reprobate man, wait till you see his explanation of David Kato’s murder.
January 31, 2011: Action Alert from Sexual Minorities Uganda. Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda issued an action alert withadvice on constructive ways to respond in the aftermath of David Kato’s murder.
February 2, 2011: Arrest Made in Kato Murder. Ugandan police have a new theory and a new suspect. Skepticism runs rampant.
February 3, 2011: David Kato Murdered Again. As we said, a new theory and a new suspect. And police are now floating a story which says that they are fully prepared to blame the victim for his own murder.
February 3, 2011: Scott Lively Endorses Anti-Gay Violence In Uganda. Having accused gays of orchestrating Hitler’s Nazi regime and being responsible for genocide in Rwanda (see Mar 8, 2009 and Jan 6, 2010).
February 9, 2011: Ugandan Government Follows “Rolling Stone” Script for Gay Panic Defense in David Kato’s Murder. Uganda’s Media Centre, which acts as the official press office of the Ugandan government, has issued an official statement on its “investigation” of the motives behind LGBT Advocate David Kato’s murder. The details from the statement match very closely a conspiracy theory posted by the managing editor of a Ugandan Tabloid which conducted a “Hang Them!” campaign (see Oct 4, 2010) featuring Kato’s picture on the front cover.
February 9, 2011: LGBT Ugandan Bishop Issues Open Letter to Anglican Communion. Following David Kato’s murder, Bishop Christopher Senyonjo was among the mourners who attended David’s funeral which was marred by the homophobic rantings of an Anglican priest. Today, the bishop has issued his first public statement on Kato’s murder in the form of an open letter to Archbishop Rowan Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and to the bishops of the communion. In the letter, Bishop Senyonjo calls on the Anglican Church to be more aggressive in the protection of human rights, particularly in Africa where the church has expressed support for certain aspects of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
February 11, 2011: BBC Radio Host Threatened with Arrest in Uganda. BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills was in Uganda recently filming a show called “The World’s Worst Place to be Gay?” where he met with M.P. David Bahati, the sponsor of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill (a.k.a. the “Kill the Gays” Bill) that is still before that nation’s Parliament. During Mills’s encounter with Bahati, Mills confessed that he was gay. That’s when, according to Mills, Bahati “went mental.”
February 12, 2011: David Kato’s Obituary in The Economist. “Young men continued to mill around his house. One of them was a thief well known in the area: a rough part of town, with 15 iron-bar attacks in two months. Police assumed that when Mr Kato was bludgeoned to death with a hammer, on the afternoon of January 26th, he was just another victim in the series. Gay groups blamed the tabloids for incitement. Neighbours, hanging about, noticed with surprise that his blood on the walls looked much the same as theirs.”
February 13, 2011: BBC Host Interviews Ugandan Anti-Gay Pastor Solomon Male.
February 17, 2011: Wikileaks Posts Cables from US Embassy in Ugandan Concerning Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The cables touched on a number of subjects:
- David Kato’s reluctant participation in a UN-sponsored debate in December, 2009, in which he was mocked during his speech. “Throughout his talk a member of the Ugandan Human Rights Commission ‘openly joked and snickered’ with supporters of the bill, the diplomat claimed in the cable.
- M.P. David Bahati, author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, is “isolated” following Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren’s condemnation of the bill (see Dec 10, 2009). Bahati’s “homophobia, however, is blinding and incurable. Bahati, (Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba) Buturo, and particularly (pastor Martin) Ssempa’s ability to channel popular anger over Uganda’s socio-political failings into violent hatred of a previously unpopular but tolerated minority is chilling.”
- Diplomats in Uganda describe a meeting with local human rights activists whose names are redacted. Activists expressed concerns that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was part of a larger effort to tilt upcoming elections in favor of the entrenched ruling party. The cables go on to describe some of the fear and intimidation that the proposed legislation aroused in Uganda. The fear and intimidation extends beyond the beleaguered gay community, but goes into the political class as well.
February 17, 2011: More Wikileaks Cables on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Further revelations include:
- Lesbian advocate Val Kalende’s then-upcoming profile in Daily Monitor (see Dec 12, 2009) was very controversial among Uganda’s LGBT activists, who feared repercussions from the article.
- Promises from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni that he would put a stop to the Anti-Homsexuailty Bill. However, “Museveni warned outsiders of pushing Africa too hard on this issue, lest it create another hurricane, and lectured on African family values.”
March 3, 2011: Ugandan Parliamentary Committe Chair: Anti-Homosexuality Bll May Not Come Up For A Vote. Stephen Tashobya chairs the Parliamentary and Legal Affairs Committee, which was assigned the Anti-Homosexuality Bill for consideration and possible revision before reporting the bill back out to Parliament for a vote. Tashobya now says “I am not sure if we will get to that one now” before the current Parliament ends in May, citing a backlog of other bills that require consideration.
March 15, 2011: Ugandan “Kill the Gays” Bill Promoter Resigns from Cabinet. New Vision, Uganda’s government-aligned newspaper, reports that Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo has complied with a Supreme Court order and resigned from his Cabinet post following his loss in the ruling party’s chaotic primary elections (see Sep 8, 2010).
March 15, 2011: Christianity Today: 2009 Kampala Anti-Gay Conference Goals Were “Therapeutic”. In a stunning example of whitewashing the impact of the infamous anti-gay conference put on by three American extremists in Kampala (see Mar 5, 2009), Timothy Shah wrote, “There are, in fact, many reasons to doubt a causal or conspiratorial relationship between Bahati and American Bible-thumpers. Perhaps most important is that the agenda of the Americans who ran the 2009 conference was therapeutic, whereas Mr. Bahati’s bill is remorselessly punitive.” Therapeutic? Really?
March 15, 2011: Daily Monitor’s Takedown of Ugandan Ethics Minister. Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo entered office accused of accepting bribes from a radio station, and he left office exhibiting disgraceful behavior. “Yet even as he left office, Dr Buturo took a parting shot at the gays and lesbian community in Uganda, urging Ugandans to support government to ensure the anti-homosexuality Bill is passed.”
March 16, 2011: Ugandan TV Coverage of Buturo’s Resignation: Buturo Issues Parting Call for Passage of Anti-Hmosexuality Bill. Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo is not leaving office quietly. ” urge Ugandans to reject roundly evils of corruption, homosexuality, pornography and witchcraft. They should remain steadfast in their rejection of these evils in the face of fierce opposition from the offers and apologists. … I urge you to put pressure on Parliament to debate, amend the Anti-Homosexuality Bill where necessary, and pass a law that will serve interests of Ugandans and not laws of our friends.”
March 17, 2011: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Slated for Debate. We begin hearing reports that the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee are about to begin debate no the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. We review the bill’s effects if it were enacted into law.
March 18, 2011: Uganda’s Media Picks Up More Talk About Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Stephen Tashobya, Chairman of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, appeared on Ugandan television to confirm that his committee would be holding a hearing on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
March 24, 2011: Uganda Bill Finally Shelved?That was reportedly what Uganda’s Information Minister Kabakumba Matsiko told Ugandan television. We were still looking for confirmation. We’ve heard talk like this before.
March 25, 2011: TV Report: Ugandan to Shelve “Kill-The-Gays” Bill. We now have the TV report showing Information Minister Kabakumba Masiko saying that the bill would be shelved in favor of the Sexual Offenses Bill. M.P. David Bahati, author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, countered by insisting that Parliament hold debate on the bill.
April 6, 2011: Ssempa, Oyett, Press Uganda’s Parliament on Anti-Homosexuality Bill. With recent reports indicating that the Ugandan government was trying to put a stop to the bill, Martin Ssempa and Julius Oyett swung into action and trotted out the usual “ex-gay” suspects: Paul Kagaba, who had been implicated in at least two vigilante outing campaigns (see Dec 30, 2009 and Nov 1, 2010), and George Oundo who had also been a pawn a prior anti-gay vigilante campaign (see Mar 25, 2009 and Mar 31, 2009).
April 13, 2011: Ugandan Cabinet Suggests Alternatives to Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The Cabinet subcommittee charged with coming up with suggested changes to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill mildly asked M.P. David Bahati to withdraw the bill “if he cared to.” Otherwise, the subcommittee appeared to reiterate its earlier recommendations (see Apr 24, 2010) to carve up portions of the bill and pass it under other bills that were before Parliament.
April 14, 2011: Ugandan “Ex-Gay” Recants — Again. Anti-gay activists and politicians in Uganda routinely charge that homosexuality is a foreign import, with wealthy Westerners paying Ugandans to become gay. Ironically, Martin Ssempa’s “Ex-gay” poster boy, George Oundo, admitted that it was he who was offered payment of $2,000 to claim he was “ex-gay.”
April 15, 2011: Ugandan Government Treats Opponents Like It Treats Gay People. The Ugandan government has been cracking down hard on opposition leaders who have been protesting election irregularities in the February election. While the world has been surprised at the wide scale violations of human rights taking place in Uganda, those who have been following the situation with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill understand that, once again, LGBT people have been the canary in the coalmine for the past several years.
April 26, 2011: Sponsor Seeks to Revive Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Today, the Associated Press rorts that Bahati re-issued his “concession” that he would consider dropping the death penalty from the bill if it would help to move the bill forward. That’s not much of a concession; the more “lenient” punishment is lifetime imprisonment in a Ugandan prison. Unfortunately, newspapers around the world took Bahati at his word and ran headlines falsely claiming that the death penalty has already been removed from the bill.
May 6, 2011: Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill May Be Fast Tracked For A Vote. As Uganda’s Eighth Parliament begins its countdown toward closure, we received reports that the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee has already begun hearings on the bill.
May 9, 2011: Hearings Continue in Uganda’s Parliament on Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Hearings resume on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Stephen Tashobya, the head of the parliament committee, said it is time legislators give the bill priority. He said a report on the bill would be ready by the following day and could be presented to parliament by the end of the week. Parliament is due to end on May 11, although constitutionally it doesn’t expire until the 18th.
May 9, 2011: Ugandan Human Rights Coalition Denounces “Kill the Gays” Bill. Hearings resume on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law released a statement which provided a comprehensive analysis of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
May 10, 2011: Uganda Parliament May Vote On Anti-Homosexuality Bill Tomorrow! The Anti-Homosexuality bill appeared on the Ugandan Parliament’s published agenda for May 11. We discuss the political context in which the bill will be voted on.
May 10, 2011: State Dept Calls Uganda Bill “A signficant Step Backwards”; Barney Frank Recommends Cutting Aid. The State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs released a statement denouncing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill: “We urge Ugandan lawmakers to reject this bill and, instead, to safeguard the human rights of all Ugandans and ensure that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity provides a legal basis for discrimination or persecution.” Rep Barney Frank (D-MA) added: “If the bill before the Ugandan parliament becomes law, it must be the policy of the United States government to oppose any aid to Uganda from the World Bank, the African Development Bank, or any other international financial institution of which we are a member.”
May 10, 2011: Archbishop of Canterbury: Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill Is Unsupportable. The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams issued a very short statement on Uganda’s pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill. “Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades. Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers.”
May 11, 2011: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Officially Scheduled for a Vote. Confusion reigned. First, the bill was not on Parliament’s agenda for today, then it was. But by the end of the day, Parliament had not debated the bill and scheduled it for May 13.
May 11, 2011: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Postponed Until Friday. With several updates throughout the day, we learn that the reason the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was not debated in Parliament was because several women M.P.’s staged a walkout over the contentious Marriage and Divorce Bill, forcing a loss of quorum. But despite widespread erroneous reporting by mainstream media, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is neither dead nor dropped.
May 11, 2011: LA Times Not Withstanding, Uganda’s Death Penalty has NOT Been Dropped. One of the more frustrating developments in the closing days of Parliament has been the widespread erroneous reporting by major news outlets all over the world that the death penalty has been removed from the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Contrary to those false reports, the death penalty has never been removed from the proposed legislation.
May 12, 2011: Uganda’s Parliamentary Committee Backs Detaining Death Penalty and Other Expanded Penalties. Human Rights Watch obtained a copy of the report on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill from the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, which confirms that the death penalty remains a part of the bill. We go through the bill clause by clause to determine the impact of the committee report if it were adopted by Parliament. The bottom line is that we found very little of substance changing. It even added a new crime: “conduct[ing] a marriage ceremony between persons of the same sex,” punishable by three years in prison.
May 12, 2011: State Department Condemns “Odious” Anti-Homosexuality Bill. State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters that the U.S. government was watching the legislative process in Uganda very closely. “No amendments, no changes, would justify the passage of this odious bill,” he said. “Both (President Barack Obama) and (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) publicly said it is inconsistent with universal human rights standards and obligations.”
May 12, 2011: Death Penalty Remains Firmly In Place. Further confirmation that the death penalty remains a part of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in accordance with the recommendations made by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee — and despite the boldfaced lie told to NPR this morning by M.P. David Bahati.
May 13, 2011: Uganda Parlaiment Breaks Without Voting on Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In a stunning development, the Eight Parliament adjourned its final session after brief comments by Speaker Edward Ssekandi without a vote on the bill. Ordinarily all unfinished bills die at the end of Parliament, but already there are hints that this may not be the end for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Next: Part 6: Not Yet Uhuru