By Frank Mugisha, David Kato Kisule, Victor Mukasa
The situation in Uganda is still hectic and tension is still on as ex-gay George “Georgina” Oundo continues to have media platforms to “out” LGBT people and organizations. Oundo has weekly programs on different television stations where he continues his smear campaign against LGBT groups and individuals. He is also naming specific organizations as the key funders of the LGBT movement in Uganda, including IGLHRC, Human Rights Watch, Hivos, Amnesty International, and the Astraea Foundation, among others.
The situation also has taken a new direction after a 19-year-old man accused Pastor Robert Kayanja of Rubaga Miracle Center of having sodomized him. This story has been running in the Uganda media for almost two weeks now. After police cleared the pastor of sodomy charges, the President of Uganda came out and blamed the Ugandan police for not handling the investigations very well. Anti-gay groups are also strongly supporting the Pastor’s accuser.
So far there are no new developments from Parliament about the proposed bill or amendment to the penal code. However, Christian fundamentalists continue to press the government to toughen the laws against homosexuality. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has reported the birth of a new anti-gay Christian group whose name has not yet been made public.
SMUG is following up on the arrests of individuals on charges related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity, trying to determine the exact circumstances of the arrests and to provide legal and psycho-social assistance as appropriate:
Mbale Case 1:
A student was arrested in Mbale and eventually set free by police. By the time SMUG visited the police station in Mbale, he was not there and the police file with his case was missing. However SMUG learned that he was a Kenyan student and that he was taken back to Kenya by his parents. His current whereabouts is unknown.
Semondo Simon was arrested on charges of aggravated defilement. After visiting Mukono police post and Kawuuga prison, SMUG learnt that Simon was taken to Luzira maximum prison. SMUG is trying to get a letter of introduction from Uganda Prisons to go and interview Simon at Luzira prison.
Kalule was arrested on charges of carnal knowledge against the order of nature and was granted bail. After anti-gay groups demonstrated in Kampala, he was re-arrested on charges of aggravated defilement. Kalule appeared in court on May 18, 2009. The magistrate informed the court that she had no jurisdiction to grant Kalule bail since this must be granted by the High Court.
Mbale case 2:
Wasikira Fred, a transgender person also known as Namboozo Margaret, and Pande Brian were charged with carnal knowledge against the order of nature. On May 21, 2009, the two appeared before Chief Magistrate Margaret Tibulya, who granted bail to Wasikira Fred. Pande Brain was denied bail because his sureties were not substantial. Wasikira told SMUG that while in prison, he and Brian were subjected to cruel and inhuman degrading treatment that included being subjected to a forcible examination of their anuses for signs of penetration.
There are additional reports of arrests of men on charges related to sexual orientation and gender identity in Kampala, Kapchorwa and Busheyi districts. IGLHRC and SMUG are following these cases and will post updates when we have them.