African Bloggers Statement on David Kato and Uganda

I have written about the issue of Gay Rights in Uganda in a number of articles, including:

Gay Rights in Uganda

Homosexuality in Uganda is Not a European Import – Christianity Is

Funeral Puts Spotlight on Anglican Church

I admit that there are questions around David Kato’s relationship with his accused murderer, although I also recognize that you can get anyone to say anything here for a price. We may never know what transpired in the last minutes of his life. Regardless, there is no question that in the years before his death, he lived his life courageously, fighting for the basic human rights of Ugandans.

Ultimately, David Kato was a single human being. What he represents, however, is something much larger. He represents a minority population that is oppressed worldwide for who they are. And he was killed in a country that has taken intolerance to an intolerable level. His murderer will be tried in a country where the State would have gladly carried out the murder on its own, with full legal sanction.

Because this is just plain wrong, African Bloggers (including me) are Speaking Up (and by the way, if you look through the undersigned, you will find links to a lot of blogs worth reading from throughout Africa):

“We the undersigned wish to express our deep sadness at the murder of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato on 26th January 2011. David’s activism began in the 1980s as an Anti-Apartheid campaigner where he first expressed a strong passion and conviction for freedom and justice which continued throughout his life. David was a founding member of Sexual Minorities Uganda where he first served as Board member and until his death as Litigation and Advocacy Officer and he was also a member of Integrity Uganda, a faith-based advocacy organization.

David was a man of vision and courage. One of his major concerns was the growth of religious fundamentalism in Uganda and across the continent and how this would impact on the rights of ordinary citizens including lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered / Gender Non-Comforming and Intersex [LGBTIQ] persons. Years later his concerns were justified when the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill backed by religious fundamentalists was outlined in 2009. David was also an extremely brave man who had been imprisoned and beaten severely because of his sexual orientation and for speaking publicly against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Many African political and religious leaders in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia, Gambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi and Botswana, have publicly maligned LGBTIQ people and in some cases directly incited violence against them whilst labeling sexual minorities as “unAfrican”.

In October 2010, the Ugandan tabloid, Rolling Stone published the names and photographs of “100 Top homos” including David Kato. David along with two other LGBTIQ activists successfully sued the magazine on the grounds of “invasion of privacy” and most importantly, the judge ruled that the publication would threaten and endanger the lives of LGBTIQ persons.

The court did not only rule that the publication would threaten and endanger the lives of LGBTIQ persons but it issued a permanent injunction against Rolling Stone newspaper never to publish photos of gays in Uganda, and also never to again publish their home addresses.

Justice Kibuuka Musoke ruled that,

“Gays are also entitled to their rights. This court has found that there was infringement of some people’s confidential rights. The court hereby issues an injunction restraining Rolling Stone newspaper from future publishing of identifications of homosexuals.”

Every human being is protected under the African Charter of Peoples and Human Rights and this includes the rights of LGBTIQ persons. We ask the governments of Uganda and other African countries to stop criminalizing people on the grounds of sexual orientation and afford LGBTIQ people the same protections, freedoms and dignity, as other citizens on the continent.”

Molisa Nyakale,                                Molisa Nyakale

Anengiyefa Alagoa,                           Things I Feel Strongly About

Anthony Hebblethwaite                    African Activist

Barbra Jolie,                                     Me I Think

Ben Amunwa,                                   Remember Ken Saro-Wiwa

Bunmi Oloruntoba,                           A Bombastic Element

Chris Ogunlowo,                              Aloofaa

Eccentric Yoruba,                             Eccentric Yoruba

Exiled Soul                                       ExiledSoul

Francisca Bagulho and Marta Lança,         Buala

Funmilayo Akinosi,                          Finding My Path

Funmi Feyide,                                   Nigerian Curiosity

Gay Uganda         ,                                     Gay Uganda

Glenna Gordon,                                Scarlett Lion

Godwyns Onwuchekwa,                           My Person

Jeremy Weate,                                   Naija Blog

Kayode Ogundamisi                         Canary Bird

Kadija Patel                                                Thoughtleader

Keguro Macharia,                             Gukira

Kenne Mwikya,                                 Kenne’s Blog

Kinsi Abdullah                                  Kudu Arts

Laura Seay,                                       Texas in Africa

Llanor Alleyne                                  Llanor Alleyne

Mark Jordahl,                                   Wild Thoughts from Uganda

Matt Temple                                               Matsuli Music

Mia Nikasimo,                                  MiaScript

Minna Salami,                                  MsAfropolitan

Mshairi,                                   Mshairi

Ndesanjo Macha                               Global Voices

Nyokabi Musila,                               Sci-Cultura.

Nzesylva,                                          Nzesylva’s Blog

Olumide Abimbola,                           Loomnie

Ory Okolloh,                                     Kenyan Pundit

Pamela Braide,                                  pdbraide

Peter Alegi,                                                 Football is Coming Home

Rethabile Masilo,                                        Poefrika

Saratu Abiola,                                   Method to Madness

Sean Jacobs,                                     Africa is a Country

Sokari Ekine,                                    Black Looks

Sonja Uwimana,                               Africa is a Country

Spectre Speaks,                                Spectre Speaks

TMS Ruge,                                        Project Diaspora

Toyin Ajao                                        StandTall

Tosin Otitoju,                                   Lifelib

Val Kalende,                                     Val Kalende

Zackie Achmat,                                 Writing Rights

Zion Moyo,                                                 Sky, Soil and Everything in Between

About Mark D. Jordahl

Mark Jordahl is a writer, trip leader and naturalist who has lived much of the last 7 years in Uganda and currently calls Colorado home.
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