A Wikileaks cable reveals U.S. concerns about the heightened atmosphere of homophobia in Uganda, particularly as it related to the "kill the gays" bill, and reveals the U.S. was working to combat teh still pending legislation.
Memos also reveal the danger posed to LGBT activists in the country, particularly David Kato, who was openly mocked at a UN consultative meeting in December 2009. Kato was beaten to death at his home last month.
In the cable, dated 24 December 2009, the diplomat claimed Ugandan politicians, including the author of the anti-homosexuality bill, David Bahati, had channelled anger at the country's socio-political failings into "violent hatred" of gays.
Other confidential memos sent between Kampala and Washington in 2009-2010 and sent to WikiLeaks paint a picture of a worsening human rights climate in the run-up to Ugandan elections Uganda's "chilling" descent from tolerance to violent homophobia and a deepening fear among gay activists, who claim they are being increasingly monitored and harassed. The memos, classified as confidential, also reveal US diplomatic attempts to combat the draconian bill – which is at the parliamentary committee stage.
Under the heading Comment: Homophobic Demagogues, the diplomat reports in the Christmas Eve cable that Bahati, a born-again Christian MP from the ruling party, had become "further isolated" following "recent condemnations" by high-profile Pastor Rick Warren and other US-based individuals who are against the bill. However, it was clear he would not yield to international pressure. Referring to Bahati, the diplomat said: "His homophobia … is blinding and incurable."
The diplomat refers also to James Nsaba Buturo, Uganda's minister for ethics and integrity, a strong supporter of the bill, and Pastor Martin Ssempa, who organises anti-gay rallies in Uganda, as key players ushering in a new era of intolerance.
A lot happened to me in Uganda before I came to seek refuge here. I was imprisoned for being gay. I was also gang-raped, badly burned and beaten in a police station.
I managed to escape with the help of a family member. Naively, when I reached England I sighed in relief, thinking it was the end of my suffering and that I was going to be protected straight away – it never occurred to me that I was about to embark on the longest and toughest fight of my life. The asylum system is ruthless and can be very brutal.
When I arrived here I was in a bad way. Aside from the internal pain I sustained from the rape, the burns were at that stage where they become boils filled with fluids – when they burst it is the most excruciating pain. They were all over my legs and thighs. I went to an NHS walk-in centre and they were so shocked they refused to touch me. They called the police who, after hearing how I got my injuries, took me to a rape referral centre. I was not prepared for what happened next. After you have been badly violated, the last thing you want is prying hands, bright lights and people checking you over, even if I now know it had to be done.
I got a doctor's letter confirming that I had been raped, and that my injuries corresponded with what I was saying. The police took forensic photos as well. Despite all this, I was refused asylum: I was told that the Home Office agreed that I was gay and could not deny I was attacked because of the medical report, but that I had to go back and relocate to another part of Uganda. I had to go to court a number of times and was asked to give details of my rape – despite having medical reports available. It was like experiencing the attack over and over again. It was only after conducting a public campaign, with the help of some very kindhearted British people and others around the world who signed my online petition, that I managed to get asylum.
Musiime and Mukasa are both in their late 20s and have kept their orientation a secret from many for nearly a decade now. “You tell no one. Only gay people like you ever get to know, and even then, you watch which gay person gets to find out because they too could sell you out, accidentally or not,” Musiime says. “The key is to ease into society as much as possible, behave like everyone else, even flirt with girls to portray the usual boy look,” Musiime says.
Musiime then expounds on how he now has to rethink his security. “After Kato’s death, something is triggered in you and even makes you think somebody you do not want to know already knows. Now I have to recheck my passwords – on my computer and phones so that no one accidentally runs into photos or any material that would raise suspicion. You fear that even if people would not kill you, you would lose the respect that those who don’t know still have for you,” he adds.
Gen. Kayihura, who fell short of openly condemning anti-gays campaigns, said people, especially priests, should stop the campaign which he described as irresponsible. “You must be sensitive. You should stop engaging in extremist campaigns that can be interpreted differently,” Gen. Kayihura said at the Media Centre yesterday. His call followed yesterday’s arrest of a suspect in the killing of David Kato, a gays rights activist, at his home in Mukono District.
At a different press briefing, Information and National Guidance Minister Kabakumba Masiko dismissed international condemnation of the government, which linked Kato’s killing to his sexual orientation.
Vigils and activism were held across the U.S. yesterday in memory of slain LGBT activist David Kato, who was beaten to death in his home last week.
Activism in honor of slain LGBT activist David Kato began early in the morning yesterday as a group of protesters led by the activist group GetEQUAL gathered outside the National Prayer Breakfast.
On the morning of Feb. 3, President Barack Obama addressed the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event sponsored by The Fellowship -- also known as The Family, where he discussed his prayers for recovery for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), an end to violence in Egypt and his personal faith. Outside the Washington Hilton, however, Get Equal and a handful of activists held a "Breakfast Without Bigotry" -- which Get Equal described on Facebook as an event to "protect our lives and speak up for those who can't for fear of imprisonment and murder".
Speakers included the head of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, gay Ugandan nationals, gay clergy, and two NYC council members, all of whom vowed to get the truth about Kato's murder from the Ugandan government, which receives $500 million in U.S. aid annually. Money being paid, it was pointed out, to enable the brutalization and murders of LGBT people.
Not forgotten at the event was the murderous complicity of American and Ugandan evangelicals in this brutal crime and speakers repeatedly spat out the names of Scott Lively, Rick Warren, and Martin Ssempa, all of whom were promised that their names and reputations will forever be linked to this outrage.
A saddened but defiant group of human rights activists gathered in New York on Thursday to remember David Kato, the gay activist found murdered in his home in Uganda last week.
“Dear David, in honor of the sacrifice you have made for all of us, we will do our part [for] the movement you’ve helped to propel forward by daring to be bold enough for those who do not have the privilege to be bold,” said Val Kalende, a Ugandan LGBT activist and long-time friend of Kato’s.
Watch her speech:
NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn also spoke at the event. You can listen to Quinn's speech here:
An action was also held at Market and Castro in San Francisco.
Michael Petrelis reports that more than 100 activists turned out at the vigil for Kato in SF. Petrelis has posted a selection of photos and a full report HERE.
"Our roster of speakers included Melanie Nathan of LezGetReal who is working to secure UK asylum for lesbian Ugandan Brenda Namigadde, Rev. John White of MCC spoke about loving one another every day, Sister Pat N Leather distributed safety packets, Victoria Grace asked us to embrace her and all transgenders, Gary Virginia of Gays Without Border said we all bleed red blood, and I stated my opposition to the death penalty, everywhere and in every case. Sister Phyliss With Joy brought the rally to a rousing and emotionally uplifting conclusion, leading us in singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." I printed up the lyrics on slips of paper to hand out."
The remaining £5,000 will be used to support LGBT refugees from Africa who are forced to flee their home countries because of persecution, violence and threats to their lives. We are working with charitable organisations that have experience in providing specialised support to such LGBT refugees. They will help us ensure that the funds are allocated appropriately – maximising the effect they have on the lives of the individuals in question, while making sure that they are kept safe and that their identities are protected.
This campaign has the official endorsement of Sexual Minorities Uganda. All the people involved in this fundraising campaign are volunteers, and none of the donations are used for any kind of campaign expenses.
You can find the David Kato Fundraising Campaign's site HERE.
Also, LGBT Asylum News posted audio of "David in conversation with Dr Andy Tucker (Deputy Director, University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies) on the current life threatening situation faced by sexual minority groups in Uganda and the continued struggle for sexuality-based rights, February 2010."
“We have taken him to Mukono Magistrate’s Court to record an extrajudicial statement,” the source said. “He told us that he killed Kato after he failed to give him a car, a house and money he promised as rewards for having sex with him,” the source said.
Kato is alleged to have bailed the suspect out of Kawuga Prison on January 24, where he been remanded on charges of theft of a mobile phone. The suspect told police that he stayed with Kato for two days. He accused the deceased of having sex with him and promising to pay him during the period.
The suspect allegedly told the police he got tired of having sex with Kato but the latter would not have any of his excuses. “The suspect said he left the bedroom, went to a store and picked a hammer which he used to hit him [Kato] while he was still in bed,” the source said. The death of Kato was condemned by the international community as an attack on the gay community.
Police have arrested the prime suspect in the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato, Reuters reports:
Ugandan police said on Wednesday that a man had confessed to murdering a gay rights activist after a "personal disagreement" in an attack last week that sparked worldwide fury.
"The prime suspect, Nsubuga Enock, was arrested today at around 4pm when he went to visit his girlfriend," police spokesman Vincent Ssetake told Reuters.
"He has confessed to the murder. It wasn't a robbery and it wasn't because Kato was an activist. It was a personal disagreement but I can't say more than that."
Police said last week that Enock, whom they described as a "well-known thief," had been staying with Kato after the activist bailed him out of prison on January 24. Kato's driver was also arrested in connection with the murder. Police spokespeople could not confirm whether he had since been released.
Enock is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday night.
Kato was beaten to death in his home on January 26, following months of debate over a "kill the gays" bill being considered by the Ugandan parliament, and a newspaper tabloid which instructed that he be hanged along with many of the country's other alleged "top homos".