Friday, November 29, 2013

Teachers to lose jobs over concealing homosexuality

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.

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

Gay activists protest arrests

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.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Gay Ugandan Activists Arrested, Detained Without Charge

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.

Brit on trial for gay sex in Uganda: ‘I’m living in fear’

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 Moses Kimbugwe +256 78 383 8259 / 031 251 3345 Spectrum Uganda Initiatives Francis Onyango +256 414 666 242/ 0712 394 721 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:

Friday, November 1, 2013

British national charged in Uganda over homosexuality

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.