Wednesday, 29 December 2010

In Uganda, Ssempa amongst those charged in 'Pastor Wars' alleged conspiracy

By Paul Canning

Notorious anti-gay Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa is amongst those charged with conspiracy in what's been dubbed Kampala's 'Pastor Wars'. He is amongst eight people charged with “conspiracy to injure the reputation of Pastor Robert Kayanja of Rubaga Miracle Centre Cathedral, Kampala” - by accusing him of sodomy.

Ssempa has styled himself as Uganda's leading anti-gay Minister and has been interviewed numerous times by the foreign journalists who have streamed into Uganda to report on the anti-gay backlash which he and MP David Bahati have led. Ssempa's tactics have included showing gay porn to his flock, a strategy widely mocked in the viral video 'Eat da poo poo'.

Jim Burroway explained at Box Turtle Bulletin last year how the conspiracy unfolded:
Other pastors are jumping onto the “outing” bandwagon to settle scores as well, and the rivalries are so complex that it takes some diagramming to keep it all straight. Here goes: Pastor Solomon Male of Arise for Christ Ministry accused Pastor Robert Kayanja of the Rubaga Miracle Center Cathedral of being a homosexual, along with “a group of other pastors.” Kayanja’s Rubaga Miracle Center is a very large and prosperous megachurch in Kampala. (Controversial American faith healer Benny Hinn will present a “Fire Conference” at that church on June 5th and 6th.) But an apparent friend of Kayanjka, Pastor Joseph Serwadda of the Victory Christian Centre, another megachurch in the Ndeeba section of Kampala which operates two FM stations, accused Male of being an impostor, saying that he doesn’t even have a church.
Kayanja’s personal aide, Chris Muwonge, was allegedly kidnapped and tortured by armed men and held for five days. His captors allegedly wanted him to make a video statement accusing Kayenja of molesting young boys. Kayanja accused his rival, Pastor Michael Kyazze of the Omega Healing Center of being behind the plot. Kyazze’s assistant, Pastor Robert Kayiira was arrested earlier for trying to sneak a laptop computer into Kayanja’s Miracle Center. His close friend? Pastor Solomon Male. Kayanja reportedly believes that Martin Ssempa is involved in the allegations against him as well.
The Daily Monitor, Uganda’s largest independent newspaper, reports that anti-gay pastor Solomon Male, along with lawyer Henry Ddungu are in custody. Six others, pastors Bob Robert Kayiira, Michael Kyazze and Martin Sempa, lawyer David Kaggwa, Deborah Kyomuhendo and David Mukalazi are charged with filing false accusations against Kayanja.

Male led the defense of the Rolling Stone newspaper whose 'outing' campaign against Ugandan gays (which also named allies such as Bishop Christopher Senyonjo as gay) has attracted worldwide attention.

The Monitor reports that:
Ssempa is accused of hiring Robson Matovu to blackmail Pastor Kayanja. Court heard that Pastor Male reportedly gave Mr Matovu a signed and stamped affidavit implicating Pastor Kayanja while Samson Mukisa was reportedly promised necessities on condition that he would speak publicly on how Pastor Kayanja had sodomised him.
A police report indicates that complaints of sodomy against Pastor Kayanja did not reveal any evidence the offences. “In retracting their statements, the complainants said they had been mobilised to make false accusations against Pastor Kayanja in order to tarnish his name,” reads a report.
Burroway says that public charges of sodomy are "a common way to settle political and other scores in Uganda".
Blogger Gay Uganda believes that the fact that the government-supporting New Vision newspaper is also reporting the arrests means that "someone is seriously falling out of synch with his political connections. I mean Ssempa."
Solomon Male has been accusing [Kayanja] of being gay since I don't know when. Now, in Uganda, when Male is joined by Ssempa, then that is the only proof that is necessary. They are the authorities on gay things. The gospel according to Ugandans. Except that Robert Kayanja is also a big fish in the pond. And, he might have gotten tired of the constant sniping... I hope he keeps up the pressure.. though it is the stigmatizing type for me.. You see, he is contending that they are maligning him that he is gay. I don't think it is malice... because I am gay. But, you know.....! The enemy of my enemy...! 
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