Saturday, 26 January 2013

Remembering David Kato

David Kato
Today marks two years since Ugandan gay rights pioneer David Kato was brutally murdered.

Kato was among the 100 people whose names and photographs were published in October 2010 by  Giles Muhame in the Ugandan tabloid newspaper Rolling Stone in an article which not only outed him and the others, but also alluded to their execution through an the caption “HANG THEM,” which appeared next to a picture of a noose.  Together with others outed LGBTI Ugandans such as  Kasha Jaqueline Nabagesera and  Pepe Julian Onziema (SMUG), Kato  successfully  sued the newspaper to force it to stop publishing the names and pictures.  of people it believed to be gay or lesbian. The court ordered the newspaper to pay Kato and the other two plaintiffs  US$600.

David Kato’s story as an activist is elucidated in the must watch documentary film, “Call Me Kuchu,” and if you never had the opportunity to know or meet David, after watching the film, you will feel as if he is your brother too.  The film received acclaim around the world and played to an historic 6 minute standing ovation in the Castro, San Francisco.  In the midst of making the film, David Kato was murdered, sending friends,  his dear family and dedicated comrades around the world into deep shock and grief.

Considered a father of Uganda's gay rights movement and described as "Uganda’s first openly gay man,” Kato was a teacher by profession.  He served as the advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), an LGBTI advocacy group, at the time of his death...

The memorial service is scheduled to begin at 3-6 pm at St Paul's reconciliation and Equality Center and members of SMUG, his family and other LGBTI activist are expected to attend.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Scott Lively on Vacation

(Picture from this article)
Glad we didn't send a representative out in the snow to attend the Oxford Union debate last night.

Gay parenting won the Oxford Union debate this Thursday evening, with a resounding majority happy to have gay parents.

Compassion and common sense triumph again.

More interestingly, the headlining act, Scott Lively, author of The Pink Swastika, which blames gay people for the rise of Nazis, was absent:

According to Pink News Scott Lively, a staunch anti-gay evangelical Christian, was scheduled to speak at the debate, “but was unable to attend because of an administrative oversight.” 

Would that be the same 'administrative oversight' whereby Nick Griffin, leader of Britain's fascist National Party, was 'accidentally' invited, and then promptly un-invited?

Deary me, Oxford Union. For a bunch of educated elite, you certainly seem to have trouble filling out a diary.

They've apparently re-scheduled him for 31st January. The only event booked for that date appears to be a debate on Israel

Really OU, you honestly want to go there with Scott Lively? Think you would have been safer sticking to the gay rights debate. Still, it would make a novel argument: how the persecution of the Jews was caused by gay Nazis.

It seems that the Oxford Union are looking to promote controversy at all costs, disregarding the fight for human rights going on in Uganda in favour of a bit of sensationalist entertainment.

Still time to protest by writing to:

Oxford Union: / @OxfordUnion

Home Secretary: You can e-mail Theresa May to ask why Scott Lively has been allowed into the country.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Oxford Union Welcomes Scott Lively

Tonight, the Oxford Union in the UK proudly welcomes a renowned US anti-gay hate preacher who is currently being sued for helping to orchestrate the persecution of LGBT people in Uganda.

A man who has been quoted as saying:

“The gay movement is an evil institution.”

“The Nazis were Super-Macho [gays]... the Storm Troopers are the ones that helped Hitler come to power at the beginning. The ones that would go and smash windows, y’know, the jackbooted thugs type. You also see them in prisons. Super Machos are very often brutish, brutish, animalistic men that want to hurt other people. There’s no mercy in them... They are so far from normalcy that they are killers. They are serial killers. Mass murderers... This is the kind of person it takes to run a gas chamber, or to do a mass murder, like the Rwandan stuff...”

“If you deny and reject the design of your own body [by being gay]... then you are going to receive, in your body, the penalty of your error, which is appropriate – can anyone say AIDS?”

"Nobody has been able to stop them [homosexuals] so far, I’m hoping Uganda can."

“On the positive side, my host and ministry partner in Kampala, Stephen Langa, was overjoyed with the results of our efforts and predicted confidently that the coming weeks would see significant improvement in the moral climate of the nation, and a massive increase in pro-family activism in every social sphere. He said that a respected observer of society in Kampala had told him that our campaign was like a nuclear bomb against the "gay" agenda in Uganda. I pray that this, and the predictions, are true”.

Of only ten anti-gay organisations designated ‘hate organisations’ by the Southern Poverty Law Centre in America, Scott Lively is directly involved with three of them: Abiding Truth Ministries, Watchmen on the Walls and the School of Christian Activism.

Despite appeals from representatives of both the House of Lords and House of Commons, UK Home Secretary,  Theresa May, who has the power to stop Lively entering the country, has refused to even respond.

The Home Office recently threatened to ban Ugandan politicians if the bill is passed, yet seems quite happy to welcome orchestrators of the bill in the meantime.

Levels of disgust at Lively's appearance are rising, with a recent Guardian article:

If you would like to express your disappointment with the Oxford Union for inviting him, or Theresa May for turning a blind eye, you can do so by tweeting and e-mailing:

Oxford Union: / @OxfordUnion

Home Secretary: You can e-mail Theresa May.

[UPDATE: Scott never turned up!]

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Bill Harming Ugandan Economy

Deputy Secretary to the Treasury,
Keith Muhakanizi

Today, we're really impressed by Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, who was quoted in The Observer as saying:

“I have never seen a country like this where politicians hurt the economy instead of building it.”

Uganda's 'kill the gays' bill is hurting the country's economy, claims a senior government minister... [who has] admitted the controversy over the proposed legislation is having a damaging effect on the country's coffers.

During a debate with other MPs, he slammed politicians for not recognizing the long-term potential damage the law could have on the country's economy.

It must have taken a lot to stand up and say this, but he's right. Uganda has lost diplomatic, educational and donor ties over the Bahati bill, not to mention the image it is creating of a tourist dead zone.

The damage caused to the economy by this bill will create a worsening situation for all of Uganda's citizens.

If you'd like to write to Keith Muhakanizi, to thank him for having the courage to raise this issue, and for talking such sense, you can e-mail him at:

Friday, 11 January 2013

Scott Lively in UK

Anti-gay Preacher Scott Lively

The American Evangelist preacher being sued by Sexual Minorities Uganda for encouraging persecution, is about to make an appearance at the Oxford Union in the UK on 17th January.

He's coming to take part in a debate on Gay Rights. We called the Oxford Union, who told us that you can't attend the debate unless you are a member of the Union. The debate will be recorded but, again, you can't listen to it unless you're a member.

Some things you can do:

  1. Tell everyone you know. Get down there with placards: The Oxford Union, Frewin Court, Oxford, OX1 3JB.
  2. Write to your MP and representatives of the House of Lords asking them why on earth they have allowed him to enter the country.
  3. E-mail the Oxford Union: and Tweet them @OxfordUnion to express your concern

Still not sure who he is? Check this out.

The Oxford Union is a bastion of free speech. It's not a surprise that they would invite Lively. In return, it's no surprise that opponents of the Kill the Gays bill would object to this. Object, and object loudly.

Simon Lokodo Case, Part I

Ethics & Integrity Minister, Simon Lokodo

Uganda's State Minister for Ethics & Integrity, the Right Reverend Father Simon Lokodo, and Attorney General, Peter Nyombi, are going head-to-head with SMUG in the Ugandan courts at the moment.

Displaying a startling lack of integrity, he made headlines last February:

A Uganda cabinet minister has raided a workshop for gay activists and tried to arrest the organiser, a Ugandan paper and UK-based rights group have said.

Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo said the gathering was "illegal" and ordered delegates out of the hotel near the capital.

It comes days after an MP retabled a controversial anti-gay bill...

The minister also ordered the arrest of Ms Nabagesera , who was given the prestigious Martin Ennals rights award last year for her work fighting homophobia in Uganda, but she fled the hotel.

SMUG are challenging his actions on the grounds that his intervention was unlawful, and that all Ugandans have the constitutional right to assemble. You can catch up on the F&R blog:

They were back in court this morning and, guess what:

Case adjourned till 11th March. Case started late and it was a day for counsels of both sides to highlight the details of submitted files. The judge also tackled an issue of SMUG registration and our lawyer said its not registered and judge replied this case would go well if SMUG was a registered NGO but still he said that all Ugandans have a right to assemble and that individuals have rights of law suits. 

SMUG is a coalition organisation of around eight LGBT groups in Uganda, coming together to fight this bill. When asked whether it was funding that prevented SMUG from registering as an NGO, the reply was clear:

No, [the] process is on, but problem is that the new NGO charter does not support gay registration.

Rather a difficult situation whereby the court is suggesting the proceedings might go better if SMUG were a registered NGO, but they are prevented from registering due to their cause.

We'll update again on this case as and when it happens - presumably in March.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Paul Shinners

[Update Jan 2013: Two articles worth adding to this: Protest planned outside St Neots cafe over “anti-gay comments” and Cafe closes again in wake of protests. Seems he was ignorant of his buddy Kiganda spearheading the Kill the Gays campaign. God moves in mysterious ways. Perhaps she, he or it intended this as a wake-up call?]

[Update Aug 2013: And also UK Christian coffee shop owner urges Uganda to pass ‘Kill the Gays’ bill and Why, oh why, are we being kept waiting for an explanation, Mr Shinners? Despite warnings, the Charity Commission of England & Wales have done absolutely nothing about him being director of a UK charity. Major abuse of public trust.] 

[Update July 2014: Busted. Paul Shinners caught on camera preaching hate in Uganda.]


On Saturday, there is a local protest in St Neots, UK, brought about by the actions of a British preacher named Paul Shinners.

As you can see from the poster above, the guy associates with some very dodgy characters. The event was organised by the catchily-titled National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches, Uganda (NFBPC).

The Provincial Overseer of the NFBPC is  Bishop David Kiganda, the same David Kiganda who made a compelling New Year's speech:

“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...” 

Paul Shinners fervently denies that he's homophobic himself, stating on his website:

The purpose of my visit on the 31st December 2012 to The 7th National Day of Prayer in Uganda was simply to preach the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I did.

Yes, Shinners, you certainly did... to a stadium full of Bahati Bill supporters. 

It would seem that Paul Shinners is either not entirely truthful, or extremely naive. 

Either way, he is a concerning character. Ignorance isn't an excuse for headlining at a gig run by Kill the Gays campaigners.

As well as running the Cornerstone coffee shop in St. Neots (hence the protest there), he also runs a charity called Passion for Souls (UK charity #1131321) which, according to their Charity Commission statistics, had an income of over £39,000 in 2011.

If you'd like to follow this up further, please write to the Charity Commission of England & Wales, outlining your objections and asking them to revoke charitable status from his organisation, or tweet: @ChtyCommission

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

British University Breaks Ties

We'd like to give a thumbs-up to The University of Buckingham, England, today:

A college in Uganda has lost the accreditation of its degrees by a UK university, because of a disagreement surrounding anti-gay legislation seeking to intensify penalties for homosexuality...
University of Buckingham issued a statement which voiced concerns surrounding its partnership with Victoria University, and the legislation which is due to be considered by Ugandan parliament...Victoria University also realised a statement, however didn’t mention the legislation specifically and instead cited issues surrounding “diversity”.

Although it is sad that students may experience disruptions, especially those students who do not support Bahati's bill, educational institutions should be leading the way in equality, not promoting discrimination. We hope the relationship between the two universities will resume in a more equal and compassionate era.

If you would like to express your support for Buckingham Universtity's actions, we'd encourage you to send them an e-mail: or tweet: @UniOfBuckingham

[UPDATE: "Ethics and integrity minister, the Rev. Fr. Sam Lokodo applauded Victoria University" - yes. Well done Victoria University for discriminating against your students, promoting prejudice, and denying future generations an internationally recognised degree. Outstanding work ;) ]

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Well Done Facebook & Twitter!

[UPDATE MARCH 2014: We have completely revised our stance on Facebook - they are blatantly ignoring homophobic content, adding to the discrimination against gay people rather than preventing it. Their 'community standards' mean nothing.]

There has been a recent spate of campaigning via the SMUG forum regarding a particularly vicious site called Kampala Exposed: Rumors and Facts.

This article explains what the page was about and why it was so dangerous, systematically outing LGBT people: Kampala Exposed: Rumor, Facts and Plots.

This prompted a campaign which quickly resulted in first Twitter, and then Facebook, removing Exposed's presence on their sites: Facebook Takes Down Anti-Gay User Page Aimed At 'Outing' Ugandans.

Facebook removed an anti-gay page aimed at 'outing' Ugandans who were preceived - or rumored  - to be gay and could be persecuted under the law. The page, called "Kampala Exposed: Facts and Rumors," was brought to wider attention by a petition started by the LGBT organization Freedom and Roam Uganda...

Well done to both companies for that. Certainly more pro-active than Citibank & Barclays appear to have been.


[UPDATE 9th January: Blogger have taken down the site! :)]

We noticed today that Blogger hasn't taken the site off air yet. Perhaps there needs to be greater communication between these three giants of Social Media when it comes to agreeing what constitutes 'unaceptable,' and coordinated efforts to remove offending items?  

All three sites have high standards of freedom of speech and expression, so if it's offensive enough for one to remove, it seems time consuming to have to approach the other two separately.

Today's blog post features a charming tirade against Mark Zuckerberg (as if he's going to be reading!) for (personally?) disabling the account. It goes on to tell him:

Well I am told you are gay yourself, maybe that's where the fascination comes from. 

Yes, people, the author of Kampala Exposed appears to be bat-sh!t crazy.

If you would like to express your concern for their mental health, or just sign them up for some online anger management courses, you can reach them at:

Monday, 7 January 2013

US Hearing Part I

The Evangelical preacher, Scott Lively, is being sued by SMUG in America for incite to hatred. Backed up by The Center for Constitutional Rights.

Today, he had his first day in court. Here's a report from campaigner and blogger, Melanie Nathan:

The case against Lively asserts that he went beyond hate-mongering and that he actually actively pursued a strategy together with influential co-conspirators, including pastors and parliamentarians in Uganda, to “criminalize advocacy,” by conspiring to violate LGBTI Ugandan’s rights to free speech, assembly and the freedom of association by LGBTI groups.

After hearing argument by both sides today, the Judge reserved his decision. A further and more detailed report shall follow this report. In the meantime the Judge has reserved Judgement for a later date as to whether or not the case will be dismissed or proceed to trial.

It is unclear when a decision to proceed will be made, but we've all got our fingers crossed for a positive outcome.

You can stay up-to-date on Twitter via the Center for Constitutional Rights: @TheCCR and SMUG: @SMUG2004

Thursday, 3 January 2013

SMUG Sues Scott Lively

(Image from this article)
Pepe from SMUG wanted to mention this:

TWITTER ACTION: On Jan 7, 2013 take to Twitter to show your support for our corageous plaintiffs from Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and Pam Spees of The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) who will be arguing the case. @theCCR will be providing live updates of the hearing, the rally and press conference using the hashtag #StoptheHate. Also follow @SMUG2004 @onziema @frankmugisha for updates.

As most of you already know, American Evangilists have been huge supporters of the Kill the Gays bill in Uganda.

So, SMUG are taking one of their ringleaders, the unsavoury Scott Lively, to court for incitement to hatred. Couple of articles:

A Ugandan LGBTQ rights group has filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court against a Massachusetts-based evangelist, Scott Lively, for violating international law by inciting the persecution of gay men and lesbians in Uganda.

As well as following the Twitter coverage, you can also join the Facebook group.

This will set an interesting precedent one way or the other.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

David Cecil Released

David Cecil

Some may remember the post and petition a while back regarding British Producer, David Cecil.

DAVID CECIL, the British producer of a play that had gay characters and who was arrested last year for defying an order to air the play has had charges against him dismissed by a Kampala court.

According to reports streaming in, Cecil, 34, was charged with staging the play and defying orders from the Uganda Media council to review the play.

Today, in a court hearing at a Kampala court, the charges were dropped against Cecil for lack of evidence much to his joy. Today also happens to be Cecil’s birthday...

It is being heralded as a sign of hope that the courts will remain independent of politics, and treat pending LGBT cases fairly.

That, or perhaps they just don't want the international attention when the axe falls? 

Let's wait and see.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Joseph Kaweesi Arrested

(Image from Times article)

[BREAKING NEWS 2nd January 2012: "Another member of youth on rock as been arrested at exactly 7:30pm. KABUYE NAJIBU and BAD BLACK who had gone to visit KAWESI JOSEPH at kawempe police station lucky enough BAD BLACK managed to escape and NAJIBU is also in prison now." - Police seem to be waiting to arrest people visiting Joseph Kaweesi.]

News from the SMUG forum today:

This is terrible the arrests have begun even before the bill passes into a law imagine what will happen when ''kill the gay bill passes.   

According to reports that started to stream in on the evening of Monday, Dec 31, Kaweesi Joseph, the co-founder of Youth on Rock Foundation was arrested by police officers and is currently in custody at Kawempe police station.

Youth on Rock Foundation  (YRF) is an LGBTI group of youths and professionals dealing mainly with health and well-being. It is based in the capital city, Kampala...

Observers point out that whereas there is indeed a law that when one can be charged for 'carnal knowledge' or rape or defilement, there is currently no law that speaks to the so called “recruitment” of homosexuals.

According to Melanie Nathan, the arrest is closely tied in with the current Kill the Gays Bill that is expected to be debated this year once Parliament resumes...

The incident comes just a few days after the offices of LGBTI group, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) were broken into and vandalised.

If you'd like to take action, voice your concern over this in the following ways:

  1. Write to the following people
  2. If you're in the UK, follow that up by writing to your MP and the House of Lords. If you're in America, try the Select Committee on Foreign Relations (info at the bottom of this post). If you're from another country, please leave details of who to contact in a comment and we'll add them.
  3. Protest outside your nearest Ugandan Embassy.
  4. Tweet and e-mail Prime Minister, Patrick Mbabazi: @AmamaMbabazi / and President Museveni: reminding them of their pledge not to support the bill, or the persecution of gay people (click their names to read what they said).
  5. E-mail and tweet Amnesty International: / @Amnesty and Human Rights Watch: / @hrw urging them to investigate this and make it a campaign priority.

Let us know if you hear any updates on the case!

SMUG Broken Into

Well, we're back from the Christmas break early with news that the SMUG offices have been broken into.

SMUG stands for Sexual Minorities Uganda, a coalition of around eight organisations in Uganda that are working for the rights of LGBT people in the country.

The following article was released three days ago. Sad end to 2012:

"SMUG offices were broken into and vandalized and most office property stolen. This was noticed on the 26th by one staff member who had gone to pick a couple of documents from office."

This is not the first time that the offices of an LGBTI organization in Uganda was broken into and property stolen...

Among the items stolen are computers, gas cooker, audio recorder and water dispenser.

The offices of Freedom & Roam Uganda were also broken into.

There is real concern that the thieves may use the stolen data to fuel hate attacks, and that the police, in the shadow of the impending Kill the Gays bill, will do little to bring them to justice.