November 15th, 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!” (Oct 1, 2010 to May 13, 2011): Rolling Stone outs LGBT Ugandans under the headline, “Hang Them!” • Martin Ssempa may be behind the latest outing campaign • Ugandan government temporarily shuts down Rolling Stone • Las Vegas megachurch considers severing ties with Martin Ssempa • Rolling Stone resumes outing campaign • Uganda’s High Court orders a temporary halt to Rolling Stone’s vigilante campaign • Tabloids turn to conspiracy theories and gay-baiting • M.P. David Bahati goes to Washington • Martin Ssempa charged with conspiracy • Ugandan court permanently bans Rolling Stone vigilante campaign • LGBT advocate David Kato brutally murdered • Scuffle breaks out at Kato’s funeral • Suspect arrested • Scott Lively excuses violence in Uganda • Police, Ugandan press float “gay panic” defense • Wikileaks on AHB • Ethics and Integrity Minister Jamse Nsaba Buturo resigns • Ssempa, Oyet renew calls for AHB • Ugandan “ex-gay” recants again • Parliament committee holds hearings on AHB • Media erroneously reports death penalty dropped from AHB • AHB vote scheduled • Death penalty confirmed in AHB; new crime added • David Bahati lies to NPR, says death penalty dropped • Parliament ends without voting on AHB.
Part 6: Not Yet Uhuru (May 13, 2011 to Feb 1, 2012): M.P. David Bahati elevated in Ugandan “Family” and ruling party • Ugandan Cabinet “rejects” AHB again • MPs reject Cabinet’s “rejection” • New Ethics Minister defrocked by Vatican • New Health Minister has ties to American Evangelicals • Wikileaks reveals First Lady’s support for AHB, and other inside political maneuverings • UK threatens foreign aid cuts to countries which persecute gay people • Parliament votes to resurrect AHB • AHB opponents warn of backlash against UK threat • David Kato’s alleged killer sentenced to 30 years • Obama Orders Government Action on International LGBT Abuses. • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declares “Gay Rights Are Human Rights, and Human Rights Are Gay Rights”.
Part 7: The Bill Returns (Feb 3, 2012 to present): Anti-Homosexuality Bill reintroduced into Ninth Parliament • Police raid LGBT-rights conference in Entebbe • Lawsuit filed against Scott Lively for instigating anti-LGBT persecution in Uganda • Ugandan Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox bishops call for Anti-Homosexuality Bill\’s revival • Uganda police raid second gay rights meeting • M.P. David Bahati announces AHB will be taken up in next session of Parliament • Pro-gay play staged • Play’s producer, David Cecil arrested, faces 2 years’ imprisonment • David Cecil released on bail • Martin Ssempa, 5 others convicted over 2009 “pastor wars” • Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga promises to pass AHB by Christmas • Clause-by-clause review of AHB • Bryan Fischer, Scott Lively cheer AHB • How a Private Member’s Bill becomes law
May 13, 2011: Not Yet Uhutu. While South Africans celebrated their newly-won freedoms from apartheid in 1991, Letta Mbulu recorded a hit song in which she sang, “There are some people who look at us as being free, but when you speak with regular folk they say it’s ‘not yet uhuru’.” The phrase “Not yet uhuru” is a mix of English and Swahili meaning “not yet free.” Similar to another phrase from Mozambique’s war for independence, “a luta continua” (the struggle continues), “not yet uhuru” reminds us that there is still much work to be done. As an email friend from Ugandan friend reminded me a month ago, “Until equality is reality for every human being… it’s not. It’s not yet uhuru.”
May 13, 2011: A Message to Jim Burroway. BTB’s Timothy Kincaid reflects on the more than two-year’s coverage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
May 16, 2011: Report: “Kill The Gays” Bill Author On Museveni’s “Short List” for Cabinet. As Uganda President Yoweri Museveni begins to form a new government, Ant-Homosexuality Bill author M.P. David Bahati reportedly makes it onto Museveni’s short list of cabinet ministers.
May 18, 2011: BBC Africa Report:Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill Is Back. It would turn out to be a false alarm — this time.
May 19, 2011: Ugandan Parliament Spokesperson: Anti-Homosexuality Bill Has Not Been Revived. Yesterday’s report is refuted.
May 22, 2011: “Kill the Gays” Bill Author Vows To Push Bill in New Parliament. M.P. David Bahati, author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, reiterated that the closing of the Eight Parliament amounted to nothing more than “pressing the pause button.” He also repeated the false claim that the death penalty has been removed from the bill.
June 21, 2011: “Kill the Gays” Bill Author Elevated in Ugandan “Family” and Ruling Party. M.P. David Bahati’s star rises in Ugandan politics when he is appointed the ruling party’s caucus Vice Chairman. More significantly perhaps is his appointment as chairman of the Ugandan Fellowship, a branch of the U.S.-based secretive group known as the C Street Fellowship or The Family. The Ugandan fellowship held its inaugural dinner for members of the Ninth Parliament at the Sheraton Hotel Kampala, with first Lady Janet Museveni as guest speaker.
August 1, 2011: Ugandan Parliament Appears Poised to Resurrect “Kill The Gays” Bill. More rumors begin to circulate about the possibility of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill’s being resurrected in Uganda’s Ninth Parliament. The new Parliament has already established a precedent for bringing a controversial bill from the Eighth Parliament’s death and put it on the fast track for passage with the revival of the controversial HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Bill.
August 1, 2011: Ugandan LGBT Advocacy Group Reports Suspicious Burglary. Police have been called, but they had not yet arrived to investigate. Thieves took five computers, two printers, a server, microwave, and all office phones. Most worrying, some documents were taken, including the group’s membership database.
August 16, 2011: Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill Pushed Back Until November? One African blogger says that’s what M.P. David Bahati told him. Warren Throckmorton adds that there is a campaign to pass the bill “via letters and emails” — in other words, with as little public notice as possible.
August 22, 2011: Uganda Cabinet “Throws Out” Anti-Homosexuality Bill, But Parliament Presses Ahead. Amid rumors that Parliament may revive the Anti-Homosexuality Bill from the previous parliament (see Aug 1, 2011), the Cabinet has reportedly “rejected” the bill — something we’ve heard before (see Apr 24, 2010 and Mar 25, 2011). A Parliamentary spokeswoman however pushed back: “The bill is in the Parliament now. It’s the Parliament’s property.”
August 24, 2011: Ugandan MPs Reject Cabinet’s “Rejection” of Anti-Homsexuality Bill. Members of Parliament accused the Cabinet of “bowing to pressure” and blasted its “moral corruption.” M.P. David Bahati, the bill’s author, vowed to press ahead for the bill’s passage.
August 24, 2011: Does Uganda’s Cabinet Ultimately Hold the Key to Anti-Homosexuality Bill’s Passage?Â According to Uganda’s Parliamentary Rules of Procedure, before a new bill is introduced, it must first go through the Ministry of Finance to get a Certificate of Financial Implications indicating how much it will cost government to set up institutions and frameworks for managing the bill if passed into law. But it’s not clear whether a revival of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would constitute a new introduction. Meanwhile, M.P. David Bahati continues to build a power base, including a group which may challenge Uganda’s Prime Minster Amama Mbabazi, who is the leader of Government business in Parliament. If the bill is not revived, Bahati appears to be laying the groundwork for accusing Mbabazi of blocking the popular bill.
August 28, 2011: Uganda’s Ethics Minister Defrocked By Vatican. Uganda’s new Ethics and Integrity Minister Fr. Simon Lokodo is no long a Catholic priest, having run afoul of Roman Catholic canon law which forbids priests from holding political office.
September 2, 2011: Ugandan Health Minister Says Prayer Curse AIDS, Linked to American Dominionist Movements. Health Minister Christine Ondoa is not only in charge of the nation’s health system, she is also a pastor at Life Line Ministries, under the direction of apostle Julius Peter Oyet. Oyet was present in the gallery when the Ugandan Parliament first considered the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2009 (see Apr 29, 2009), and he has been very open about his belief that homosexuality should be a capital offense. Oyet, who is also President of the Ugandan branch of the U.S.-based College of Prayer (or COP, which itself is a ministry of Rev. Fred Hartley’s Lilburn Alliance Church in Atlanta), was made a member of M.P. David Bahati’s staff to lobby Parliament for the bill’s passage (see Jun 14, 2010).
September 6, 2011: Religious Groups Push for Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill Revival. Family Life Network and Uganda Coalition for Moral Values opened a campaign demanding the revival and passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Family Life Network is headed by Stephen Langa, who organized the infamous conference featuring three American anti-gay extremists that marked the start of the bill’s saga (see Mar 5, 2009).
September 10, 2011: Wikileaks: Ugandan First Lady “Ultimately Behind” Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Daily Monitor reports on a new Wikileaks release in which Senior Presidential adviser John Nagenda revealed to U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Jerry Lanier, that President Museveni is “quite intemperate” when it comes to homosexuality, but the First Lady, who he described as “a very extreme woman,” “is ultimately behind the bill.”
September 11, 2011: More on Ugandan First Lady’s Support for Anti-Homosexuality Bill. We have a link to the cable itself, in which we learn that the first Lady’s support for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill goes directly against President Yoweri Museveni’s attempts to sideline it, pointing to a political division within the Museveni family. We also learn in a separate cable about the fears that many in the LGBT community had about LGBT advocate Val Kalende’s pending front-page profile in Daily Monitor (see Dec 12, 2009).
September 11, 2011: Wikileaks: Vatican Lobbied Against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Another leaked cable from the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican reveals that the Holy See lobbied against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. That lobbying included a statement opposing “all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons,” particularly “the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State.” Roman Catholic Archbishop of Uganda, Cyprian Lwanga, denounced the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill in his annual Christmas message from Rubaga Cathedral (see Dec 24, 2009).
September 12, 2011: Wikileaks on Uganda’s Homosexuality Bill: Museveni “Surprised” and Buturo “Obsessed”. more leaked cables detailed the internal political wranglings in the Ugandan government surrounding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. President Yoweri Museveni is described as having been surprised by the bill’s introduction into Parliament, and warned that too much international condemnation would make his efforts at sidelining the bill more difficult. Another cable provides an inside look at the Cabinet subcommittee’s meetings which were called to review the bill and offer recommendations (see Jan 20, 2010 and Jan 22, 2010). In another cable, Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo’s “homosexuality obsession” is seen as “rapidly undermining any credibility his office might have to oversee Uganda’s anti-corruption institutions.
September 12, 2011: Ugandan Presidential aide Confirms Wikileaks Conversation. Presidential advisor John Nagenda confirmed to a Ugandan magazine that the Wikileaks revelation about his description of Janet Museveni as being “ultimately behind” the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was “an accurate reflection.”
September 23, 2011: Ugandan First lady affirms Support for “Kill The Gays” Bill. First Lady and M.P. Janet Museveni confirms her support for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, but denies that she was the bill’s “initiator.” “This ludicrous claim is not only an insult to Hon. Bahati, the originator of the bill but also to me, because it implies that I need to hide behind someone else in order to introduce a bill in parliament.”
September 23, 2011: VP: Ugandan Gov’t In “Consultation with Stakeholders” About Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Ugandan Vice President Edward Ssekandi was in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, where he told the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson that “open objective consultation with stakeholders are still underway” on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Ssekandi doesn’t name the stakeholders involved with the consultation, but it looks like the most important stakeholders of all — Uganda’s gay and lesbian community — have been shut out of those “consultations.”
October 10, 2011: UK To Cut Aid to Countries Which Persecute Gay People. British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that countries which persecute gay people will find their foreign aid budget cut. Uganda, Ghana and Malawi were cited as possible targets.
October 25, 2011: Reports: Uganda Brings Back Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Bloomberg reports that Uganda’s Parlaiment voted to reopen debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
October 26, 2011: Path for Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Remains Unclear. No date has been set for debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. A Parliament spokesperson said, “The Business Committee will meet to decide what bills are considered. Then they will be listed on the daily Order Paper.” The Business Committee is chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, an early supporter of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (see Apr 24, 2009 and Dec 23, 2009). Several sources confirmed that the bill would be revived without having to go back to the Executive for re-introduction (see Aug 24, 2011)
October 31, 2011: American Pastor, Former Counselor to Ted Haggard, Killed in Uganda Car Accident. Rev. Leo Godzich, associate pastor at Phoenix First Assembly of God and a member of Ted Haggard’s counseling team after his disgrace, has died in an automobile accident while in Uganda. Godzich ran NAME (National Association of Marriage Enhancement), and he was reportedly in Uganda on a speaking tour about marriage.
November 1, 2011: Ugandan Presidential Adviser: Threats to Cut Aid Could Backfire. Ugandan presidential adviser John Nagenda told the BBC that British threats to cut foreign aid to countries that do not respect gay rights (see Oct 10, 2011) could backfire on efforts to derail Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. LGBT advocates throughout Africa echoed his concerns. Nagenda was the first major figure tied to the Ugandan government to come out against the bill when he published an op-ed in the pro-government New Vision (see Dec 11, 2009).
November 1, 2011: Lonely Planet Names Uganda Best Travel Destination for 2012. A surprising choice for the BBC subsidiary. Don’t let a little thing like killing gay people keep you.
November 3, 2011: Ugandan TV Reports on UK Threat to Withhold AID. WBS, a privately-owned Ugandan broadcaster, reported in the growing backlash against Britain’s announcement that they would cut aid to countries which persecute gays.
November 10, 2011: Ugandan Gay Advocate’s Alleged Murderer Sentenced to 30 Years. Sydney Nsubuga Enoch suddenly pleaded guilty to killing David Kato (see Jan 26, 2011). Police insist that the motive for the killing was a form of a “gay panic defense,” and had nothing to do with the infamous Rolling Stone tabloid’s outing campaign (see Oct 4, 2010). The plea happened so quickly that his lawyers were reportedly not present when the judge sentenced him to 30 years. This only increased doubts about the official motive for killing Kato, and even over whether the police have the right man.
November 15, 2011: Ugandan Health Officials Claim Human Rights Groups Are “Spoiling Our Response to HIV/AIDS”. An AISD advocacy group identified several deficiencies in the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS. The Health Ministry however blamed the stagnant HIV rates on groups which are “dragging us to human rights issues of homosexuals.”
November 28, 2011: LGBT Ugandans Aren’t the Only Ones Deprived of Human Rights in Uganda. An article in Uganda’s Daily Monitor explores the country’s attitudes toward gay rights against a backdrop of wider human rights abuses which are a normal feature of daily life. LGBT advocates complain that ignoring those wider abuses make their jobs of advocating for gay equality much harder.
December 6, 2011: Obama Orders Government Action on International LGBT Abuses. President Barack Obama issued a memorandum directing “all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.” The memorandum requires agencies to work on fighting criminalization of LGBT people and sets up protections for LGBT people seeking asylum. The memo also directs agencies which engage in international efforts to report back within 180 days and every year afterwards a status report on their progress toward these efforts. It also directs the State Department to set up a standing group “with appropriate interagency representation, to help ensure the Federal Government’s swift and meaningful response to serious incidents that threaten the human rights of LGBT persons abroad.”
December 6, 2011: US Pushes Hard on LGBT Rights Around the World. The white House’s memorandum was accompanied by fact sheets from the White House and State Department which provided background on Obama’s directive. In particular, the State Department’s fact sheet recognized that the deparment’s opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (see Dec 1, 2009, Dec 4, 2009, Dec 15, 2009, Dec 18, 2009, Dec 19, 2009, and Feb 17, 2011) “established a precedent for the United States, the international donor community and civil society to collaborate to counter efforts to criminalize same-sex conduct.”
December 6, 2011: Secretary Clinton: “Gay Rights Are Human Rights, and Human Rights Are Gay Rights”. To coincide with the release of President Barack obama’s memorandum directing U.S. governmental agencies to promote human rights for LGBT people abroad, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a groundbreaking address Geneva. The speech focused on the “one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today,” namely LGBT people, which she called “one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time”. We have the full transcript of that speech.
December 6, 2011: Rick Perry Issues Press Release to Remind You How Much He Hates You. Reaction to Obama’s memorandum came swiftly. Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry denounced the move as part of a troubling trend here beyond the national security nonsense inherent in this silly idea. This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong.”
December 6, 2011: What Rick Perry Opposes. BTB’s Timothy Kincaid reminds readers, in excruciating detail, exactly what Gov. Rick Perry opposes.
December 6, 2011: Oh Yeah — Santorum’s Not Down With It Either. GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum also registers his opposition to Obama’s memorandum. “I would suggest that we give out humanitarian aid based on humanitarian need, not based on whether people are promoting their particular agenda.”
December 6, 2011: Anti-Gay Extremists Have A Cow Over Obama’s Foreign Policy Memorandum. Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg and Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber throw in their two cents’ worth.
December 7, 2011: Ugandan Television Reports on US Foreign Policy Initiative for LGBT Human Rights. The report itself is very calm and measured. But it does reflect prevailing opinion not only in Uganda but through much of Africa when the reporter asks at the end, “Will Uganda blink and bow to the pressure?” The image of bowing, as you can imagine given Africa’s history, has a very specific humiliative resonance that goes much deeper than much of the rest of the world. The three lawmakers in the report — Anti-Homosexuality Bill author M.P. David Bahati, M.P. Steven Ochola of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDP), and Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo — all spoke against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks in Geneva.
December 7, 2011: Pat Roberston: God Will Punish the US for “Enforcing” Homosexuality On Other Nations”. Cuz, you know, jailing and killing gay people is God’s will after all.
December 15, 2011: Ugandan Pastors Face Gay Libel Charges. One of the more immediate fallouts of the infamous March 2009 conference put on by three American anti-gay activists in Kampala (see Mar 5, 2009), besides the notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill, was a long and fearsome anti-gay vigilante campaign waged by the tabloids and on television and radio. During the anti-gay hysteria that swept Uganda, several powerful pastors took the opportunity to launch wild accusations against rival pastors in a bid to increase their own power base and financial clout (See May 14, 2009). Three prominent Ugandan pastors, Martin Seempa, Solomon Male and Bob Kyazze, were charged with conspiracy to falsely defame a rival pastor by accusing him of sodomy (see Dec 23, 2010). They had pleaded not guilty (See Jan 4, 2011). Today, a Magistrate ruled that the three pastors must present their defense against the charges.
December 19, 2011: Uganda’s President on Gays: “First Talk About Railroads”. President Yoweri Museveni told attendies at a regional summit: “The crucial elements that we need in this region, apart from peace and democracy, is infrastructure development. … Yes, I know homosexuals are important, but homosexuals also need electricity. So before anybody gives me a lecture about homosexuals and their rights, please first talk about the railroads.” The problem is this: yes, gays need electricity and railroads, and so does everyone else. But they also need the freedom to use them.
December 23, 2011: Ugandan LGBT Advocate Pens Op-Ed for New york times. Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, wrote about the situation LGBT people face in Uganda. “Many Africans believe that homosexuality is an import from the West, and ironically they invoke religious beliefs and colonial-era laws that are foreign to our continent to persecute us. The way I see it, homophobia — not homosexuality — is the toxic import. Thanks to the absurd ideas peddled by American fundamentalists, we are constantly forced to respond to the myth — debunked long ago by scientists — that homosexuality leads to pedophilia.” He also recalled a prophetic conversation with slain LGBT advocate David Kato (see Jan 26, 2011) “‘One of us will probably die because of this work,’ he said. We agreed that the other would then have to continue. …Many people urged me to seek asylum, but I have chosen to remain and fulfill my promise to David — and to myself. My life is in danger, but the lives of those whose names are not known in international circles are even more vulnerable.”
January 18, 2012: Uganda’s Aggressive Pushback Over “Kill-The-Gays” Bill Publicity. With the Obama Administration officially declaring LGBT rights an important diplomatic priority (see Dec 6, 2011), Ugandan officials and media are aggressively pushing back against international pressure over its anti-gay policies. Perezi K. Kamunanwire, Uganda’s ambassador to the U.S. abruptly cancelled a Martin Luther King Day observance and engaged in intimidating behavior during a talk by LGBT-rights advocate Rev. Mark Kiyimba, pastor of the New Life Kampala Unitarian Universalist Church, who was speaking in suburban Silver Springs, MD. Meanwhile, Uganda’s largest independent newspaper, Daily Monitor lashed out at LGBT advocate Frank Mugisha’s New York Times op-ed (see Dec 23, 2011), denouncing Muhisha for going abroad and “‘bashing’ his motherland over gay rights.” It also, incredibly, suggested that the infamous tabloid vigilante campaign which called for the death of LGBT Ugandans (see Oct 4, 2010) and set the stage for LGBT advocate David Kato’s murder (see Jan 26, 2011) “could have as well been a stunt by the homosexuals themselves to elicit international sympathy and the cash that no doubt followed it.” A few days later, Mugisha told SiriusXM OutQ’s Michelangelo Signorile that he fears for his life as a result of the Daily Monitor article.
January 26, 2012: Ugandan Television Coverage of David Kato’s Memorial Service. On the one year anniversary of LGBT advocate David Kato’s brutal murder (see Jan 26, 2011), friends and family gathered for a memorial service. NTV Uganda covered the event.
January 27, 2012: Ugandan LGBT Advocate: Don’t Believe Everything You Hear. It’s Actually Getting Better. LGBT Advocate Val Kalende found reason for optimism amidst the prevailing negative view of Uganda’s treatment of its LGBT citizens. “What is often read and heard in international media is not what is on the ground. …I spoke with some activists who feel protected by the state (the Police) than ever before. Even if there’s still a lot of work to be done by government, it is important to acknowledge that today, LGBT activists can engage the police. …(A)ctivists have held meetings with the police and some police official have shown interest in being educated and engaged on LGBT issues. … It is important that international allies, donors, and partners know that their support and resources are making a difference.”
February 1, 2012: Kenya’s Chief Justice: “Gay Rights Are Human Rights”. Video emerged this week of a talk by Kenya Chief Justice Willy Mutunga declaring that “gay rights are human rights.” The remarks were delivered on September 8, 2011 at a groundbreaking ceremony in Kampala for FIDA Uganda, a Ugandan organization of Women Lawyers. FIDA Uganda was among the organizations which denounced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Next: Part 7: The Bill Returns