News / Africa

Uganda Convicts Gay Activist’s Killer as Parliament Debates Anti-Homosexuality Bill

A member of the Ugandan gay community carries a picture of murdered gay activist David Kato during his funeral near Mataba, January 28, 2011.  Although the police claims it was most likely a petty crime, targeting Kato's money, many members of the gay and
A member of the Ugandan gay community carries a picture of murdered gay activist David Kato during his funeral near Mataba, January 28, 2011. Although the police claims it was most likely a petty crime, targeting Kato's money, many members of the gay and
TEXT SIZE - +

A Ugandan man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of gay rights activist David Kato. The high profile case concludes as the Ugandan parliament debates a controversial bill that would make some homosexual acts punishable by the death penalty.

The murder of gay rights activist David Kato at his home in Kampala last January focused international media attention on the plight of gays and lesbians in Uganda. Kato’s killer was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison for the crime, though the future for the country’s homosexual community remains difficult.

Enoch Nsubuga, killer of gay rights activist David Kato, standing in front of journalists at the Ugandan media center in Kampala, February 3, 2011 (file).
Enoch Nsubuga, killer of gay rights activist David Kato, standing in front of journalists at the Ugandan media center in Kampala, February 3, 2011 (file).

Sidney Nsubuga Enoch admitted to killing Kato with a hammer. But he was only convicted of second-degree murder, having claimed that he acted in self-defense. Enoch told the court Kato was making sexual advances, and that he had no choice but to kill him.

The conviction came shortly after the Ugandan parliament voted to re-open debate on a controversial bill that would make some homosexual acts punishable by death. The bill, which was first presented to parliament in 2009, would also make it a criminal offense to “promote” homosexuality, or to fail to turn homosexuals in to the police.

The bill has drawn intense criticism from Western governments and international human rights groups. Boris Dittrich, of the New York-based rights advocacy group Human Rights Watch, explains his organization’s position.

“The anti-homosexuality bill is a draconian law, and it needs to be defeated. It violates all kind of human rights,” he said.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, as is the case in most African countries, and can be punished by up to 14 years in prison. Public hostility to the gay and lesbian community is widespread, with many Ugandans believing that homosexuality is an anti-Christian import from the West.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told reporters he refused to promote homosexual rights because it was not part of his country’s cultural traditions.

“There were a few homosexuals before colonialism which we were aware of. They were not killed, nor were they persecuted, but they were not promoted,” he said.

Kato’s murder came shortly after a local newspaper published the names and photos of several members the homosexual community, under the headline, “Hang Them.” Kato’s face was among them.

Some people blame the rise of Evangelical Christianity in Uganda for this violent homophobia.

At Kato’s funeral last January, a local priest used the occasion to rail against homosexuals, calling on them to repent or be “punished by God.”

But others blame the new bill being debated by parliament. Activist Joanitah Abang, of the lesbian rights organization Freedom and Roam, says that before the bill, homosexuals were largely left alone. But now, she says, those in the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender (LGBT) community are being accused of any number of crimes.

“Before the bill, not many Ugandans knew that there were LGBT people in Uganda. Gay people lived their lives, although there were a few instances of harassment, abuse, but it wasn’t so much like today," Abang said. "But when the bill was tabled in Parliament, it brought in a lot of issues - issues of recruiting  children, issues of rape, issues of homosexuals being pedophile. It caused a lot of discussion in people’s homes, communities and workplaces.”

Even if the bill does not pass, few people expect homosexuality to be legalized in Uganda in the near future. In the mean time, many Ugandan gays and lesbians are hoping that the public attention will die down, and they will be left to slip quietly back under the radar.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid