Last week the YouTube clip ‘Eat Da Poo Poo‘, showing a Ugandan preacher’s, erm, colorful explanations of gay sex, went viral, leading to a number of parodies and remixes. The recent upsurge of homophobia in sub-Saharan Africa has its own interesting historical aspects and parallels with contemporary European society, but what is interesting about this video is that it puts a face to this homophobia: Pastor Martin Ssempa.
With his own official website, and other YouTube clips to his name, Pastor Martin Ssempa’s online presence raises some interesting questions about his funding sources, his audience, and his PR tactics. He certainly has some very bizarre views, but there’s one question that isn’t very obvious at first glance: just who is Pastor Martin Ssempa marketing himself to?
The impression one gets from his website is that his ministry is either seeking, or getting, support from outside the region. The content of the website is presented like that of a local NGO– talking about responding to the HIV/AIDS crisis and the ‘good’ work of the organisation. He’s not so much communicating to his Ugandan constituency but rather promoting his work to outside donors, possibly for fundraising purposes.
Politicians and social advocates in East Africa rarely communicate to the public through online platforms, particularly ones that look like this website. First off his constituents are generally not regular internet users; only about 4.5% of the population of Uganda regularly use the internet- So off the bat a website like this would be a weak advocacy tool.
But it’s also the aesthetic and language on the website that reads like it’s being directed to a forieng audience. The photos of Ssema, the style of writing, is generally inconsistent with his public image on the ground, as the now infamous YouTube video has shown. And then, the icing on the cake, there’s contact information for the U.S. Hmmm…
It’s no surprise that gay porn obsessed US faith-based organisations have promoted anti-gay attitudes in the US, you don’t need ewz to tell you that. So a quick google or too on Pastor Ssempa and this is what we’ve found:
….Pastor Martin Ssempa, leader of the Makerere University Community Church and spokesman for the Interfaith Family Culture Coalition Against Homosexuality in Uganda.
Ssempa has called homosexuality, “a criminal act against the laws of nature,” and has said that, “there should be no rights granted to homosexuals in this country.”
Martin Ssempa — pastor of Makerere Community Church, has received funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – on Aug. 21 organized a rally to protest the press conference, during which he called for continued action against MSM and WSW (HRW statement, 8/23).
According to the U.S. Embassy in Uganda’s website, Makerere University Community Church received a grant under a program designed to provide funds for AIDS prevention, treatment and care programs in Africa. Ssempa and his coalition, which includes Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, and Evangelicals, have threatened the safety of Ugandan LGBT rights activists by posting their names, photos and addresses on a website.
With support from conservative organizations such as Family Watch International in the United States, Ssempa has launched attacks not only on homosexuals but on Uganda’s women’s rights and HIV activists as well, the IGLHRC said.
His website lists Wait Training (US Faith based org) as the organisation to book speaking engagements for Ssempa and receives donations on behalf of Ssempa’s ministry. Ssempa’s US contact is Wait Training. Apparently he is also supported by Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas.
It’s interesting that this fraternity of homophobic bigotry has chosen Ssempa as a kind of prodigal clown of the anti-homosexuality movement. It’s also very sad.
Have a good week. Don’t eat da poo poo.