Friday, November 29, 2013
By AL-MAHDI SSENKABIRWA KAMPALA- School administrators who conceal information about immoral acts of homosexuality and lesbianism in schools risk losing their jobs, according to new guidelines. This will be effected in a revised implementation of the government’s revised Teaching Service Regulations and Teachers’ Professional Code of Conduct. According to the amended Code of Conduct, such immorality will be regarded as acts of misconduct which will earn a teacher dismissal or retirement in public interest. “Such acts have been happening in education institutions but we had no legal instrument holding perpetrators accountable. But with the new regulations, we can now impose sanctions against any culprit,” said Mr Mathew Okot-Garimoi, the deputy chairperson Uganda Education Service Commission. Mr Okot-Garimoi was speaking at the launch of the Teaching Service Regulations 2012 and Teachers’ Professional Code of Conduct, 2012 in Kampala on Tuesday. Both regulations replace those of 1994 and 1996 respectively. Homosexuality is a crime under Uganda’s laws. However, the vice is reportedly spreading, especially in institutions of learning. email@example.com
Nightmare is over for gay Briton Bernard Randall put on trial in Uganda after images of him having sex were stolen by thieves and used against him in 'blackmail plot'
Bernard Randall, the gay British man who is being prosecuted in Uganda after images of him having sex were stolen and used against him in an alleged blackmail plot is to be deported back to Britain next week, The Independent can reveal. Mr Randall, who was arrested last month after his laptop was stolen by thieves and pictures from it published in a newspaper, was told this week that he had been refused an extension to his visa - originally demanded of him so he could stand trial - and will be returned to the UK on 6 December. The 65-year-old, from Faversham, Kent, toldThe Independent that he believed the visa issue was being used by the Ugandan authorities to avoid being seen as persecuting homosexuals and that while he wished for the criminal case against to be formally dropped he was also glad “to escape this nightmare”. The retired banking industry computer analyst, who lost his wife of nearly 40 years in 2011 and subsequently came out as homosexual, had been facing up to two years in jail after he was charged with trafficking obscene material following the theft of his computer from his holiday home in Entebbe in September. His Ugandan partner, Albert Cheptoyek, 33, faces a more serious charge of up to seven years’ imprisonment for “acts of gross indecency” under Ugandan law, which outlaws homosexuality. Both men have denied the charges. But while Mr Cheptoyek’s future remains uncertain, it now seems Mr Randall, whose friends and supporters within the gay rights movement have held protests in London, is to be allowed to return - with reluctance and anger - to Britain. His departure date will be the same as he had booked when he arrived in Uganda in September. He told The Independent: “For the sake of my family and friends my wish is to be able to leave as originally planned on 6 December to spend Christmas with them. I want no bar on me returning at some time in the future but I see that now as a forlorn hope. I want to escape this nightmare. “I want the robbers and blackmailers to be found guilty of their crimes and punished accordingly and I want us to be found not guilty of the false charges against us or for the charges to be struck down. But I see no sign of fair justice in this country.” He added: “I also see this as a move by the Ugandan authorities at the highest level to get me deported without it being seen as an anti-homosexuality related action.” To add insult to injury, Mr Randall has been told that now his visa extension has been refused he is liable to a fine of £18 per day for every day he remains in Uganda until his planned deportation. It will be a grim end to an adventure born out of grief for the Briton, who first visited Uganda two years ago when a close friend booked a trip to help sort out a visa for his new wife and suggested the retiree accompany him. Mr Randall’s friend suggested a trip to Uganda would help with the bereavement process. With its lush countryside and gleaming Lake Victoria, it wasn’t long before he had found a home away from home. He said: “I was here for a fortnight and I liked the place. It’s so green and you’ve got the lake and friendly people.” After spending April this year in the “Pearl of Africa” Randall returned to Britain and then came back to Uganda in September and it was his intention to spend three months here, have a white Christmas back in Britan and then return to Africa. Now his tropical dreams lie in tatters after his computer, which contained a video of him having sex with another man in Morocco, thousands of miles away, was stolen. Mr Randall said the charges against him had come about after four people stole computers and money from him and Cheptoyek, targeting them because they suspected they were gay. In Uganda homosexual acts are illegal and punishable by incarceration in prison for up to 14 years. Nearly a year ago the country’s Parliamentary speaker vowed to have the “kill the gays Bill”, introduced in 2009 and seeking the death penalty for some offences, passed by the end of 2012 as a “Christmas gift”. She failed and the Bill has been shelved, although it's still on the Parliamentary Order Paper. Randall said the robbery occurred on 28 September, just over a week after he had arrived back in Uganda. “The intention in the first instance was them to find something incriminating that they could blackmail me with,” he said. Having failed he claims the alleged thieves and their associates contacted Pastors Moses Solomon Male, who leads Uganda’s “anti-homosexuality crusade” with one saying Randall wanted to sodomise him. Randall said his charge related to the claim that he was distributing CDs to recruit people into homosexuality. “I really can’t see how the pictures published or really anything in the videos would lure a young boy into being homosexual but that’s why they’re bringing the case, because I bought it in to distribute, in their eyes,” he said. He said Pastor Male was an “evil person” who was “whipping up hatred” against gays, Speaking at his home on the weekend, Pastor Male alleged Randall had given the video to Wasswa Sentamu Jonadh, who he claimed wanted to travel abroad and get a better job. Randall, Pastor Male claimed, said he would help him however Wasswa and Eric Bugembe, who he said had been a driver for Randall, were charged with theft after they “refused sodomy”. Male said he was alerted about the matter by a concerned person. Wasswa had kept a second copy of the sex video, which Male admitted to passing onto Red Pepper who he’d worked with before on “complicated cases which need investigations”. He branded Randall a “persona non grata”. “We have Ugandan homosexuals who we cannot send to any other country, even as they abuse,” Pastor Male said. “If we have Randall who can be deported, he goes back to his country and continues enjoying sodomoy, then I think we’ll be saving many young lives in this country.” However he stressed “we are against the practice called homosexuality, not individuals called homosexuals”. Bugembe and Wasswa appeared in court last Thursday charged with theft. They are due back on December 2. Randall and Cheptoyek appeared in court last Monday, when their case was adjourned to December 4. A married Ugandan mother of two young boys, who asked not to be identified, turned up to support the pair. She said she’d known Cheptoyek for a decade through buying clothes from him through his business. “Everybody’s (going) crazy about it but this is who they are,“ she said. “I’m conflicted a little bit (about homosexuality) but I also understand that there are people who are born like this. With the amount of hate and how they’re treated when somebody finds out that somebody’s gay, why would you choose, how can you choose to live that kind of lifestyle?” Randall said he appreciated the support from Ugandans and people in Britain including Stephen Fry and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. “It’s terrific isn’t it?” When asked how he was feeling Randall said “up and down”. “I haven’t yet, since the problems started, gone out on my own and gotten a taxi from our place up to town, things like that,” he said. “But I don’t in actual fact think it would be a problem.” He said his two adult daughters in the UK were struggling to deal with the situation. “The older one is more levelheaded about it but obviously very worried,” said Randall. “The other one is much more emotional and she’s having a difficult time with it.” Meanwhile Cheptoyek has been ostracized by some family and may apply for asylum abroad if the case is dropped. “The worry (is) can he get a visa to go to the UK, would he want to stay in the UK forever, would he need to go and seek refugee status? He doesn’t want to leave Uganda and I want to be able to come back.” Speaking himself Cheptoyek said “We don’t know if we are going to be killed because we’re already in the newspaper so everyone knows I’m gay and we’re scared for our lives because in Uganda it’s not allowed.” Longjones (alias - not real name), a Ugandan trying to start a travel business specializing in gay safaris, stood as surety for David Cecil, the British theatre producer deported from Uganda in January after staging a play ending with a gay character being killed. Cecil is in the process of appealing his case. This time Longjones stood as surety for Randall. “What the police have failed to understand is that people blackmail homosexuals to extort money,” he said.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
SUNDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2013 WRITTEN BY SHIFA MWESIGYE Anger is brewing in the gay community at home and abroad, as a criminal case against the chairman of a sexual minorities group starts today at the Nabweru Magistrate’s court in Wakiso district. Samuel Ganafa, executive director of Spectrum Uganda and chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda, was arrested last week and paraded before the media by the police. He is accused of infecting one Disan Twesiga with HIV, although it is unclear how it happened. Ganafa, who has been detained at Kasangati prison, says he was tested for HIV against his consent and his home raided without a search warrant. He was briefly detained with Bernard Randell and Albert Cheptoyek, who are both facing related charges. Randell, a 65-year-old retired British expatriate, was charged with trafficking in obscene publications. The two were arrested after Randell reported a taxi driver, one Eric Bugembe, to the police for reportedly stealing his laptop. The laptop, it is said, contained videos of Randell performing acts of homosexuality with Cheptoyek, evidence that was produced in court. Bugembe told the police that he had taken the laptop after Randell refused to pay him after luring him into sexual acts. Randell, who has since been released on bail, and Cheptoyek, who is still in detention, return to court in Entebbe on December 4. Rising tension These two cases have attracted the ire of gay activists, who last week demonstrated outside the Uganda High Commission in London, protesting what they called the witch-hunt of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people in Uganda. The protests follow a similar demonstration outside the just concluded Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka, at which Uganda was mentioned amongst the Commonwealth nations violating the rights of LGBT people. Gay rights activists say homosexual people in Uganda live in fear of a police crackdown similar to the one that netted Ganafa, Randell and Cheptoyek. Peter Tatchell, director of the UK-based Peter Tatchell Foundation, a gay rights organisation, says homophobic harassment of gay people violates Uganda’s constitution as well as the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. Criminalisation of homosexuality is contrary to human rights obligations, which Uganda has agreed and pledged to uphold, Tatchell argues. LGBT activists who gathered outside Uganda’s high commission last week asked the British government to intervene immediately in Randell’s case to secure his safe return to the UK. They also want Britain and the European Union to declare Uganda an unsafe place for LGBT people and issue travel warnings to potential tourists and expatriates accordingly. The activists also called for travel bans targeting outspoken anti-LGBT activists such as Ethics minister Simon Lokodo, MP David Bahati and pastors Martin Ssempa and Solomon Male. Same-sex relationships are illegal in Uganda as they are in many sub-Saharan African countries. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill tabled in parliament a couple of years ago sought to further criminalise such sexual behaviour by proposing a death penalty for repeat offenders and those accused of transmitting HIV in the process. However, pressure from Western countries has seen the bill amended to remove the death penalty and then shelved. Nevertheless, homosexuality remains an offence under the Penal Code. Early this month, the European Court of Justice ruled that people fleeing from a country where homosexuality is criminalised, like Uganda, can seek asylum on that basis. The ruling, which binds all EU member countries, including Britain, followed an application for asylum by three homosexuals from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal. firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, November 15, 2013
A prominent LGBT activist in Uganda has been arrested and detained for more than 48 hours without being informed of the charges against him. BY SUNNIVIE BRYDUM A prominent LGBT advocate in Uganda has been arrested, jailed since Tuesday, and three times had his home raided — all without being informed of the charges against him. At least four other LGBT advocates have been arrested with him, according to reports from Ugandan activists. Police have refused to confirm under what, if any, crimes the activists are suspected of committing. Samuel K. Ganafa is the executive director of Spectrum Uganda and the board chairman for Sexual Minorities Uganda, two of the most prominent LGBT rights organizations in the East African nation, where homosexuality is illegal. On Tuesday, Ganafa responded to a phone call from Kampala police asking him to come to the Kasangati station on the outskirts of the city, where he was immediately arrested. According to a press release from SMUG, Ganafa was then loaded into a police van and driven back to his home, where police twice raided his property without presenting a search warrant or providing a reason for his arrest. During the unwarranted search, Ugandan police arrested three houseguests who were staying with Ganafa. All four are still in police custody, though none have been formally charged. Uganda's constitution stipulates that those accused of a crime and detained must be brought before a court within 48 hours — a threshold that has already been crossed. SMUG reports that Ganafa was also subjected to an HIV test without his consent or a court order demanding such a test. On Wednesday, SMUG learned that a man named Disan Twesiga had filed a complaint alleging that Ganafa infected him with HIV — and today, Twesiga hosted a press conference at the Kasangati police station, attended by most of the nation's major media outlets. Police "paraded" Ganafa before the press, despite the fact that he has not been charged with or found guilty of a crime and should therefore legally be presumed innocent, notes SMUG. Police ignored repeated media requests to explain the charges against Ganafa, though Ganafa himself told local reporters he was being charged with sodomy. LGBT advocates in Uganda report that local media is portraying Ganafa as "a sodomy rapist who infected someone with HIV/AIDS." When reporters asked police for medical proof of these allegations, police could not produce any such evidence. "He is being targeted because the propagandists are looking for someone in the movement with a high profile and he suits that," Kasha Jaqueline, a Ugandan lesbian and LGBT activist who is currently in Stockholm, tells The Advocate. "The accuser has changed his statements over and over, and on the news he said that he was advised by his pastor. Now we know the invisible power to this absurd scenario." Jacqueline suspects that Ganafa was targeted for his quiet but long-standing and consistent support of Uganda's embattled lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community. She says Ganafa has readily opened his home to Uganda's persecuted LGBTI citizens — and that's why anti-LGBT bigots have targeted him. "Sam is one of the most honest, gentle, caring, and intelligent people this movement has ever seen," says Jacqueline, who has been involved with Uganda's LGBTI movement since the the late '90s. "It's because of his generosity that he is now a victim of a blackmail scam. It's very unfortunate because Sam has been there for every one of the elders of this community. Many in the world didn't even know he existed, and may be shocked to read his name, but Sam is one of the backbones of this movement. It's heartbreaking that now his life has been destroyed for simply being a good man." Spectrum Uganda, SMUG, and the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law are following the case and have called for the immediate release of all those arrested in connection with Ganafa, unless the accused are presented before a court immediately. The pro-LGBT coalition notes that Ganafa's arrest is not an isolated incident, but rather the latest in a long-running campaign that targets and intimidates LGBTI people in Uganda.
Gay rights campaigners are furious as a British man and his Ugandan lover go on trial for filming an home-made porn video 11 NOVEMBER 2013 | BY JOE MORGAN A British man on trial for gay sex in Uganda has said he is living in constant fear. Ex-pat Bernard Randall, 65, is facing up to seven years in prison for gross indecency and allegedly trafficking obscene material after police found a video on his laptop of him having sex with a Moroccan. His 30-year-old Ugandan live-in partner Albert Cheptoyet is also being charged. The retired banker’s picture was splashed across the front page of notoriously homophobic tabloid Red Pepper, beneath the headline ‘Exposed’. Randall has said he is now moving house every couple of days out of fear of attack. He cannot fly out of the country due to the Ugandan government holding his passport until his trial. ‘I never know if someone is going to recognise me, be anti-gay and attack me,’ Randall said, as reported by The Times. Moses Solomon Male, a pastor, appeared on television condemning Randall. ‘[Homosexuals] control the police, they control the judiciary, they even hold the Government to ransom,’ he said. Same-sex relationships are already punishable by 14 years jail in Uganda with politicians threatening to make the laws even tougher by extending the death penalty to ‘repeat offenders’. But the country is still likely to be sensitive to criticism if they openly prosecute and imprison people simply for consensual gay sex. Its Anti-Homosexuality Bill, dubbed the ‘Kill the Gays Bill’, appears to now be on the back burner after international condemnation. GSN sources who took these photos at the hearing said Anti-Homosexuality Coalition members were also present in court. Ugandan publications have claimed the pair were going for or had gone for ‘medical tests’ to discover if they had gay anal sex. But Ugandan prosecutors have also denied this. The presiding judge confessed this is the first case of its kind she has dealt with and therefore said she needed time to consider it, although she pledged it would be dealt with as soon as possible. Randall and Cheptoyet were released on bail of UGX1.5million ($593,000 €430,000) while their sureties were bonded at UGX500,000 ($198,000 €143,000). Activists from Uganda Gay On Move have ‘strongly condemned’ the government for the arrests describing them as an ‘invasion of privacy’. They have warned other people will use some of the trumped-up allegations against the pair as ‘an excuse to blackmail LGBT people’. The British Foreign Office is aware of the arrest and said it is providing Randall with consular assistance.
For Immediate Release Thursday 14.11.2013 Kampala, Uganda Mr. Samuel K Ganafa, The Executive Director of Spectrum Uganda Initiatives and Board Chairperson of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), was arrested on Tuesday November 12, 2013. He had reported to Kasangati Police Station on the outskirts of Kampala pursuant to a phone call from the District Police Commander Chemonges Seiko asking him to report to the said station. Upon reporting to the station he was immediately handcuffed by a police officer. Without show a warrant of arrest he was forced onto a police pickup truck and taken twice to his residence, which was searched. The search was conducted without a search warrant. During the unwarranted search three houseguests of Mr. Ganafa, namely Joseph Kayizi, Kasali Brian and Michael Katongole were also arrested and taken to the police for questioning as well. His nephew Brian Kasirye who had rushed to the police station to check on him was also detained. Later the police subjected Mr. Ganafa to an HIV test without a court order or his consent. Yesterday Wednesday 13th November, we received news that a one Disan Twesiga was the complainant. Disan alleges that Sam infected him with HIV and that there is more information in Mr. Ganafa’s reading room prompting another search of the residence. The police took him along for all the three times they searched. As of today November 14th the complainant Disan Twesiga has held a press conference with all media houses at Kasangati Police Station. The police paraded Mr. Ganafa before the media during a press conference. This is despite the fact that he has not been found guilty by a court and is thus presumed innocent under the law. By close of business today, all the five suspects remain in custody without being officially charged and without being brought before court despite the expiry of the constitutionally warranted 48 hours. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Spectrum Uganda, Civil society coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law are closely following the case, and have instructed lawyers to represent all the accused. An application for the release of the detainees has been filed and is pending hearing as there was no Magistrate to hear it today. Sexual Minorities Uganda, Spectrum Uganda Initiatives and Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law strongly condemn the manner in which Mr. Ganafa was arrested and the manner in which the searches were conducted, his humiliating display before the press, as well as the violation of the 48 hour rule for producing a suspect before court. We also call upon the Ugandan Police to release Mr. Ganafa and the four other arrested persons or immediately produce them before a court of law, and we urge them to respect the basic rights of the suspects. It is worth noting that this is not an isolated case, but it is one of a series of documented arrests targeted against the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons in Uganda. We therefore call upon the police to STOP the continued intimidation of the entire LGBTI community and the legal representatives of the detained persons. Contacts: Pepe Julian Onziema +256 772 370 674 email@example.com Moses Kimbugwe +256 78 383 8259 / 031 251 3345 firstname.lastname@example.org Spectrum Uganda Initiatives Francis Onyango +256 414 666 242/ 0712 394 721 email@example.com Onyango & Co. Advocates Contact Persons at the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law Geoffrey Ogwaro +256 782 176 069 Byarugaba Clare +256 774 068 663 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, November 1, 2013
By Martin Ssebuyira Entebbe A British national has been charged with using money to lure youth into homosexuality. Mr Bernard Randell, a retired banker, appeared before the Entebbe Magistrates Court yesterday where he admitted to engaging in homosexuality but only in the UK. His co-accused, Mr Albert Chepeoyek, with whom he lives in Katabi village, Entebbe Municipality, however, denied the charges that included committing acts of gross indecency and trafficking obscene materials. State prosecutor Ivan Kyazze told court that the duo performed homosexual acts on Mr Eric Bugembe, a special hire driver, in September in exchange for money. “Medical tests were carried out on the two suspects and confirmed that they were engaging in homosexual acts,” Mr Kyazze told court the packed court. According to detectives who have been following the case, Mr Randell reported Mr Wasswa to Entebbe Police Post after he allegedly stole his laptop. However, when the special hire driver was interrogated, he revealed how he had been forced to grab the laptop after Mr Randell failed to pay him despite luring him into homosexual acts. Man given bail The lawyer of the accused, Ms Annette Adamia, asked court to grant them bail as investigations into the case continue. Despite protests from the prosecutor that the suspects could lure more people into the practice, magistrate Hellen Ajio went ahead and granted them bail of Shs1.5 million each while their sureties were bonded at Shs500,000. They are expected back in court on November 15. Mr Abdullah Ndere, the manager Uganda Tours and Travel and Mr Wilfred Kirumira,40, stood surety for Mr Randell while Mr Norman Mugisha and Ms Aisha Nabukeera stood surety for Mr Chepeoyek. The magistrate also cautioned the suspects against engaging in acts that corrupt morals while on bail. Same-sex relationships are currently illegal in Uganda—as they are in many sub-Saharan African countries—punishable by incarceration in prison for up to 14 years. In Uganda, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill tabled in Parliament souhtto introduce a death penalty for people who are considered serial offenders, are suspected of “aggravated homosexuality” and are HIV-positive, or who engage in sexual acts with those under 18 years of age. The Bill received significant criticism from many Western governments some of whom threatened to cut off financial aid to Uganda. The bill has since been shelved. email@example.com
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Uganda August 19, 2013 Kampala, Uganda – Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) happily welcomes the court ruling by US Federal judge on Wednesday August 14, 2013. In the historic ruling the judge rejected a motion to dismiss a crimes against humanity case brought by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) against evangelical Pastor Scott Lively of Massachusetts. The judge ruled that persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is indeed a crime against humanity and that the fundamental human rights of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex [LGBTI] people are protected under international law. “Widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms,” said Judge Michael Ponsor. “The history and current existence of discrimination against LGBTI people is precisely what qualifies them as a distinct targeted group eligible for protection under international law. The fact that a group continues to be vulnerable to widespread, systematic persecution in some parts of the world simply cannot shield one who commits a crime against humanity from liability.” The ruling means that the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), who brought the case on behalf of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), can move forward over defendant Scott Lively’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that Lively’s actions over the past decade, in collaboration with key Ugandan government officials and religious leaders, are responsible for depriving Ugandan Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex people of their fundamental human rights based merely on their identity, which is the definition of persecution under international law and is deemed a crime against humanity. This effort bore fruit most notably in the introduction of the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill commonly known as “the Kill the Gays bill”, which Lively abetted. Frank Mugisha, the Executive Director of SMUG said, “This ruling should be a clear signal to extreme religious groups all over the world, and especially those that spread hate here in Uganda, that their hatred will not go unpunished by the arm of the law.” Lively has also been active in countries like Russia where a new law criminalizing gay rights advocacy was recently passed. In 2007, Lively toured 50 cities in Russia recommending some of the measures that are now law. “We are gratified that the court recognized the persecution and the gravity of the danger faced by our clients as a result of Scott Lively’s actions. Lively’s single-minded campaign has worked to criminalize their very existence, strip away their fundamental rights and threaten their physical safety.” Said CCR Attorney Pam Spees U.S. law allows foreign citizens to sue for violations of international law in U.S. federal courts under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). The case, Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively, was originally filed in federal court in Springfield, MA, in March 2012. Today’s ruling is here. For more information, visit CCR’s case page. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) is an advocacy network comprised of 18 member organizations committed to advancing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Uganda. SMUG was founded in 2004 as a non-profit organization. Follow @SMUG2004; Like us at http://www.facebook.com/smug2004 The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org; follow @theCCR.
Friday, March 22, 2013
President Yoweri Museveni has said the issue of homosexuality and lesbianism has been totally distorted leading to wrong public debate. “In our society, there were a few homosexuals. There was no persecution, no killings and no marginalization of these people but they were regarded as deviants. Sex among Africans including heterosexuals is confidential," Museveni said. "If am to kiss my wife in public, I would lose an election in Uganda. Western people exhibit sexual acts in public which we don’t do here,” he said, adding that, Africans do even punish heterosexuals who publically expose their sexual acts. The president said what is new is the way Europeans and other Western people handle the issue of sexuality in general, including public flaunting which is a problem and luring young people into acts of homosexuality for money. He said attempts to promote homosexuality as an alternative way of life has led to engagements in running battles with the church. “You have a lot of room in your house, why don’t you go there. Sex is a bilateral issue, not a multilateral one,” he said. The President was on Monday meeting a delegation of USA human rights activists led by Kerry Kennedy, the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Kerry is the niece to former U.S. president John F. Kennedy and daughter to the latter's younger brother Robert F. Kennedy. Accompanied by several lawyers, actors and religious leaders, the activist expressed concern with what she described as harassment of the gay and lesbian community in Uganda including exposure of the pictures. She made it clear that it is a violation of people’s rights to put pictures of sexual minority groups in the [news] papers. She also said the pending Bill on homosexuality works against the international law treaties that Uganda has signed, and cautioned against the misconceptions that equate pedophiles with homosexuals. Kerry Kennedy is the author of The New York Times best seller “Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans talk about Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning,” published by Crown Books/Random House in September 2008, and “Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World,” (Random House, 2000). Reacting to various issues raised by the team, Museveni said he would investigate claims of violence against homosexuals, adding that for a viable solution, activists must respect the confidentiality of sex in our traditions and culture. He reiterated that in Uganda, "there is no discrimination, no killings, no marginalization, no luring of young people using money into homosexual acts". The team pledged to work with the president on the laws regarding overt sexual acts by offering free consultancy.
Monday, March 18, 2013
FR ANTHONY MUSAALA MIREMBE GARDENS PO BOX 30329 KAMPALA Tuesday 12th March 2013 AN OPEN LETTER TO BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND LAITY: THE FAILURE OF CELIBATE CHASTITY AMONG DIOCESAN PRIESTS. It is an open secret that many catholic priests and some bishops, in Uganda and elsewhere, no longer live celibate chastity. From the numerous cases on the ground one might be forgiven for saying that most diocesan priests either don’t believe in celibacy anymore, or if they do, have long since given up the struggle to be chaste. In any case it still seems important for priests to vow even a woefully imperfect celibacy, if only for the sake of the hallowed ‘priestly image’. The church however still maintains the fable that most catholic priests persevere in celibate chastity fairly well, which fiction begs belief. ALL IS NOT WELL All is definitely not well with what I call ‘administrative celibacy’, in the catholic church. It is a celibacy which is more forced than consented to, and its effects are anything but good. I suggest that now more than at any other time, we must begin an open and frank dialogue about catholic priests becoming happily married men, rather than being miserable and single, either before or after ordination. Although this may be quite a shock to many, but the alternative may be far worse. What do you think happens when lapses and scandals by priests, sisters,brothers and bishops continue unabated , whether hidden or not? My forecast is that we will have a few more years of catholic self-deception; perhaps ten, telling ourselves and the world that everything is Ok, nothing serious. Then more scandals will surface. As people become more enlightened (as in Europe) there will be a crisis of faith, perhaps a sudden collapse, with many leaving the church, either to join other churches (whose pastors may be no better, but who appear to be less hypocritical about it), or to become agnostics, especially the middle classes. One must remember that there are other challenges facing the church, such as general weakening of faith, loss of sacramental life, low incomes, dull liturgies, and the challenges of the media. Many of the youth ( not the children) are already alienated from Catholicism and are easy prey to proselytizing groups. FACING THE NAKED TRUTH The number of catholic priests and bishops who are sexually active in Uganda is unknown, but almost everywhere unedifying stories of priests ‘sexploits’, are not hard to come by. These stories are told in counseling or as anecdotes,or by the media. They are told within the parishes and beyond. They are told at home in families, in taxis, in hair salons and in the markets. What is talked about? Priests’ secret and not so secret liaisons with girls and women, coerced sex with house-maids, with students, with relatives; priests ‘wives’ set up in well established homes; priests involved with a parishioner’s wife; of priests romantically involved with religious Sisters; priests offering money for sex, and so on… If you add to this, a fair number of priests’ and bishops’ children scattered around the nation, who are carefully hidden from view (and not so carefully!), not to mention children who are aborted at priests’ behest, we begin to get the true picture of human weakness, whose consequences are nothing less than catastrophic both for the priest and his partners, and which cannot be concealed by taking a vow of celibacy, or by retreats and more prayers. LETS LEARN FROM EUROPE AND AMERICA While in Europe and the States, the scandal of numerous paedophile priests, whose victims are rightly suing the catholic church is widely reported in the media, very little by contrast is heard about priests and bishops in Africa who continue sexually abusing female minors (or vulnerable women) with no legal action taken. Obviously time has come for serious measures to be undertaken, similar to those in Europe and America. Apart from legal action in civil and ecclesiastical courts aginst offenders, strict ‘child protection’ codes and practices, must be enforced, by the state which for instance should prohibit young or vulnerable females from residing in parish houses, where some of the abuses occur. THE SINS OF DECEPTION AND SILENCE Thus the unnecessary and unpalatable deception about celibate priests, that they are chaste when they are not is clearly contradicted by what is on the ground. The deception is of course not tenable for much longer. Surely we must first tell ourselves the truth as a church, that is to say, that celibacy has failed or is failing us, and then also tell the world which we have been deceiving the naked truth, before we are completely overtaken by events. Unfortunately there is an ominous unhealthy conspiracy of silence about these matters among the Ugandan clergy and faithful alike, probably because priestly celibacy might be seen to be a hollow shell, which it mostly is nowadays. The laity for all their good will, are also co-opted into this unwholesome silence, sometimes for lack of information, sometimes because they believe that they have some ‘moral’ duty to be loyal to an imperfect church. In truth their silence shores up the sins of priests and the destroys many lives. MARRIED PRIESTS NOT WANTED FOR THE WRONG REASONS When I ask lay people whether catholic priests should have the option to marry the answer is always NO; since they say, that would make catholic priests like Anglican reverends! As if that was the worse possible fate, yet Anglican clergy who are married certainly do not have the same levels and same kinds of sexual lapses as their catholic counterparts.. Most lay people in Uganda would not like their priests to have the option of marriage, yet it is their very own children, sisters, wives who are being used and abused by the clergy! THE CAMPAIGN A campaign for optional married priesthood in the catholic church is now required. This campaign is primarily a form of education and purification. It is not be construed as a rebellion against established doctrine but a reading of the signs of the times Since there are no fundamental theological arguments against a married priesthood (there are already some married priests in he UK and Uniate catholic churches) but only arguments from tradition and church discipline, I believe that it is a matter of time before common sense prevails and marriage for the clergy in the latin rite (i.e. catholic) church is accepted.. I am aware that there is a big struggle ahead.Unfortunately celibacy also serves certain vested interests in the power structure of the church, and of course celibate priests are cheaper and easier to deal with, even to manipulate, by ecclesiastical authority, but I believe that in time we will be freed from this unecessary yoke, unhelpful as it is, which is all the more severe in Africa where family and family ties are so crucial to one’s psychological equilibrium.. PERSONAL INTEREST One factor which has prompted me to take up this campaign is my own biography. I am one of a handful of several priests who had the misfortune of appearing in the press for supposed sexual trespasses. In my case,which was 2009, it was cited that I must be a homosexual, because I had homosexual friends and went to homosexual gatherings. Not that I cared much whether or not someone thinks that I am homosexual. Certainly I have been called worse things than that. In my defence I tried to point out that I didn’t actually recall having had homosexual relations with any of my rabid accusers, neither did they; which meant that hearsay alone became the evidence . What I found troubling is what followed. Apart from all the pain and scandal caused to all concerned, I found that even though all the allegations were based on hearsay, I was being treated, by my superiors as the biggest sinner in Nineveh. Up till now judgements are being made against me by ecclesiastical authority in the light of those events, which I suppose is to be expected. I wondered about this and came to the conclusion that priests who ‘get caught.’ like me, have to pay for the sins of all those who don’t get caught. In other words failed celibacy requires scapegoats.Some clergy are able to get away with the grossest behaviour, because of their age, position, influence or even because of financial inducements. So while I appear to have little moral authority to talk about celibacy as a priestly virtue because of what may or may not have happened to me in 2009, nevertheless I can point out the systemic immorality of the institutionalized hypocrisy called celibate diocesan priesthood, which severely punishes lapses when they appear, but condones the secret crimes of many more. I believe that there must be a new openness at whatever it takes. The point is not that diocesan priests should leave the priesthood and get married, but compel the church to offer the option of a married priesthood. This will put an end to the double lives so many priests are forced to live. SOME CASES HEARD Case One I spoke with a 21 year old young man last week. He is one of seven children of a catholic priest who happens to still be serving within the Province of the Archdiocese of Kampala. The young man, who is willing to testify, lived in a parish house with his father priest, even serving on the altar with him, but having to pretend to be a visiting nephew. At times he was assisted by his father to go to school, but was later abandoned. On one occasion he drank poison in order to end his life, due to the trauma, but was taken to hospital before he died. Case Two Another is a personal friend. He was fathered by a missionary priest of the White Fathers 58 years ago but is still suffering the trauma of no real identity or home. Although he has since received some minimum compensation from the White fathers , he still feels that there was an injustice to his mother who is still alive , who was sexually assaulted by the said White father priest in his office when she was only sixteen. He wishes to sue. Case Three Another case is of a priest who seduced a member of my youth group who happened to be in need of school fees, at Old Kampala, She soon became pregnant by the said priest, disappeared from church activities and from her home to be established in a ‘home’. Case Four Another lady tells of how she went to confession, only to be sexually molested by the priest, who fondled her breasts during confession Case Five When I was at secondary school, it was common knowledge that various Brothers were having sexual activity with the boys. It was called ‘jaboo’. As a pubescent teenager, my first sexual encounter was actually with one of the brothers who invited me to his room on the pretext of doing some extra chemistry equations. I was sixteen at the time. Later I heard that several others had been through the same thing..with the same Brother and with other ones..Some are still alive to this day. ACTION REQUIRED I do not believe either that these cases are just a few ‘bad apples’ in the barrel, but rather they are symptomatic of a sick system which has lost its integrity in this one area, but won’t admit it. Some of these cases are clearly criminal in nature, especially those of sex with children. They should be dealt with in a normal fashion and legal action taken in civil courts either against the church, or against those priests who offend. I am therefore compiling cases from all over Uganda.I believe that if the all the victims of clearly molestations were to come out and sue the church in civil courts, such abuses would sharply decrease. I am also helping to set up a Victims Support Group, independent of the church for obvious reasons, with guidance and help from similar groups in Europe and the States. I have also engaged a Human rights lawyer to advise on the wider implications of clergy abuse on the basic human rights of individuals, especially women. Join me in this exciting challenge to bring fundamental change and renewal to the catholic church. Happy Easter FR. ANTHONY MUSAALA
Monday, January 21, 2013
As thousands made their resolutions for 2013, main stream Churches and evangelical preachers have asked Parliament to urgently pass the Anti-Gay Bill, to avert the recruitment of youngsters to adopt the same-sex behaviour. At Namirembe Cathedral, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali said the Church of Uganda would continue to protect culture and the institution of marriage which advocates the union between man and woman . Addressing tens of thousands at the seventh annual National Prayer Day and Night at Nakivubo Stadium, several pastors also warned legislators against siding with the Western world, saying they risked losing their seats. “We ask Members of Parliament to stop wasting time debating the Bill but simply pass it to save school-going children, who are at risk of being recruited. Our leaders should desist from any act that would frustrate this proposed law because it has delayed,” said Bishop David Kiganda, the leader of Christianity Focus Ministries (CFM). Bishop Kiganda, the overseer of Bornagain Churches in the country, said the vice threatened the morality of the people. The remarks by pastors came amidst controversies and media reports of increasing promotion of homosexuality. Rev. Paul Schinners from the United Kingdom commended Uganda for the Bill, saying it was a clear stand for God. “There is no other nation world over that has such a plan and through this, Uganda is going to be blessed,” Rev. Schinners said. “We understand that Uganda had many problems like tribalism, corruption, but many people are simply pointing fingers and judging each other yet all this cannot cause change but it is conviction that would bring change in society,” he added. The appeal Apostle Alex Mitala asked Ugandans to make positive decisions for the New Year if the country is to develop further. “You need to decide to add value on yourself, your attitudes, work and plans to show action where it is not and do something new,” he said. At Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, the leader of Born Again Federation of Uganda, Dr. Joseph Sserwadda, said there is an urgent need for the anti-gay law because the country needs to confront sin head on. Dr Sserwadda suggested that as legislators resume business for 2013, the Bill should be top on their agenda. USA criticised “We have learnt with shock that the people who recently appeared in papers over the same practice have escaped to USA. We know USA with their policy will not depot him back to Uganda. Uganda should declare that it does not need him anymore. Let America keep him,” he said. At St. Andrews’ Cathedral, the Bishop of Mbale, Rt Rev. Patrick Gimadu, decried the high-level corruption, child sacrifice, murders, defilement and homosexuality. “In the New Year, we must renew our faith and fellowship by repenting. This is the time to seek forgiveness and allow Christ to give this country a new direction,” Bishop Gidudu said. Pr. Ivan Mulepi, of New Eden Church in Mbale, asked leaders to lead by example to repent, forgive and renew their spiritual lives in order to create peace for development in Uganda. Reported By Juliet Kigongo, Ephraim Kasozi, Johnson Mayamba and David Mafabi.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
The Ugandan Government has commended Victoria University management for rejecting orders from UK-based University of Buckingham (UB) to embrace homosexuality. The two universities have been collaborating for over a year, with majority of Victoria University students offering University of Buckingham courses. They, however, parted ways early this week after UB asked Victoria to include a clause in its statue stating that "no person will be discriminated on the basis of sex orientation", among others. As a result, Victoria suspended all UB courses and remained with only the Bachelors of Public Health and Nursing. Ethics and integrity minister, the Rev. Fr. Sam Lokodo applauded Victoria University for staying their ground and respecting the law. "We enjoy autonomy and independence as a country. We follow our laws and nobody should intimidate us to promote a certain culture," said Lokodo on Wednesday. "I express profound regrets for the action taken by the University of Buckingham just on the basis that Victoria University was not ready to include this adopt clause." Higher education State minister, Dr. Chrysostom Muyingo, also observed that it was shocking for a university like Buckingham to relent on the key academic goal and instead focus on promoting a practice that is detested in Uganda. Faridah Bukirwa Shamilah, the spokesperson of the national council for higher education also explained that Victoria University had freedom to reject any clause that would be deemed illegal in Uganda. The problem, according to sources, emanated from anti-gay comments made by a guest speaker during a conference at Victoria University about a month ago. Meanwhile, Victoria University vice-chancellor, Dr. David Young, has also clarified that the 150 affected students would continue with their studies from UB or be transferred to Middlesex University in Dubai. He said consultations on who would meet which costs were ongoing and asked students and parents to stay calm. "Each of the affected students will be issued with a partial transcript to enable them join other universities if they are unwilling to go where we are planning to take them," Young said. He was noncommittal on whether the university would admit new students to pursue local programmes. "The focus of our attention at the moment is on catering for the current students. Any other questions will be addressed later," he stated.
Let’s expose them one by one who recruit our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters into this sinister behaviour of homosexuality Here is a list of top recruiters on ground well facilitated and determined to do so. 1. Frank mugisha of sexual minorities Uganda who resdies in nalya driving posh vehice.He always moving from country to country mobilizing money and he has amassed a lot of money. He is into young boys and his boy friend is in U.S for asylum one Ronnie. 2. Kasha nabagesera who is charged of recruiting girls into lesbianism and he works with freedom and roam Uganda based in ntinda where she also resides. She is also loaded with funds from western governments. 3. Pepe onzima who coordinates all activities to do with media and recruitment. She resides in nalya. 4. Dennis wamala who works with ice breakers Uganda located in makindye. He specializes in accommodating young boys who run away from school to enjoy the booking. 5. Ntebi Sandra who is the chief whip of the group. She boosts of being an army woman and works with gender and law at makerere. 6. Kimbugwe moses who works with spectrum Uganda coordinating recruiting university boys and soccer fans. He resides along Nassana road and sometimes on gayaza road. 7. Ogwaro jeff who is the chief coordinator of all the activities in the country resding in makindye working with refuge project at old kampala. 8. Wambere longjones who operates a tout company at namaganda plaza who books boys as if there is no tomorrow. He is HIV positive and he has done his part in passing it over to others. 9. Junic walabya who has been recently sacked at her job in mulago as a nurse is managing the ntida side all over the bars in recruiting educated and well to do married women into lesbianism. 10. Sam MTN who resides in Gayaza in his mansion. He organizes sex parties every weekend where boys book each other with out condoms. He is much respected in their community as he has laot of money and when he sees young boys he can’t miss and he likes it with no condom. 11. Opio sam who owns one youth organization and is has managed to recruit boys especially up conntry in mbarara and mbale. He resides along gaba raod. 12. Victor mukasa who resides in South Africa is the chief campaigner. 13. Niiki mawada who specializes in changing boys gender into girlish I will continue with the list as we fight this acts and whether we die or not we shall fight and win to the end.