The Ugandan parliament is considering legislation that would impose the death penalty or life imprisonment for some homosexual acts (which are already illegal), require people to report every LGBT individual they know, and criminalize so-called LGBT advocacy. Earlier this year, responding to worldwide condemnation, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni “has encouraged his ruling National Resistance Movement Party to overturn the death sentence provision” and the Ugandan Cabinet is reportedlymaking changes to the legislation.
The bill may be in limbo but the violence that it has stirred up, has not abated. Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin is reporting that “the body of a Ugandan gay youth activist has been discovered decapitated and dismembered on a remote farm.” “The activist was a volunteer for the LGBT advocacy group Integrity Uganda“:
Judith Nabakooba, a police spokesperson, identified the head as that of Pasikali Kashusbe, one of the workers on Kigggundu’s farm and a member of Integrity Uganda. Pasikali and his partner Abbey are youth workers with Integrity Uganda charged with the responsibility of mobilising young LGBT people in activities which build community capacity to face up to the challenge of homophobia, especially in the area of attitude change and care through drama and sports activities.
According to the police, a mutilated torso which was earlier in the week discovered in Kabuuma Zone, about half a kilometre away from Kiggundu’s farm was probably Pasikali’s. The torso was described as belonging to a young man and had no genitals.
Pasikali went missing over three and half weeks ago when the country was celebrating Uganda Martyrs Day. All efforts by his partner Abbey and other family members to find him had been fruitless.
Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, Chairperson of Integrity Uganda lamented the murder of this young man as ‘absurd’ adding that, ‘clearly, the values of tolerance and social inclusion are sadly being sacrificed on the altar of state ignorance, ineptness and good old colonial stupidity’.
The anti-gay push in Uganda was inspired — and promoted — by the religious far right in the United States. In March 2009, three American evangelicals — whose anti-gay teachings have been widely discredited — went to Uganda and preached about the “dark agenda” of LGBT individuals. Just one month later, Ugandan lawmaker David Bahati introduced the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill.”
During a recent event at the Center for American Progress, Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, a retired Anglican bishop from Uganda and Chaplain of Integrity Uganda, criticized American evangelicals for preaching intolerance against the approximately half million gay and lesbians in Uganda. “Christian groups coming from here — that is to say, the United States — who are making it very difficult by preaching a gospel of hatred to the LGBT people.” “One wonders, if God — whom I do, many of us, I say, do believe — that God is a god of love, but some people are preaching a gospel of hating a certain group of people,” he said.
CAP Visiting Senior Fellow Bishop Gene Robinson remarked that “when violence occurs, or this legislation, like the Bahati bill occurs, you know when we confront them here in this country about that, they say, “Oh my goodness! That was never our intention!” Well, when you set off that kind of sparks you should not be surprised when it turns into a wildfire.”
Box Turtle Bulletin is now reporting that despite several different sources on this story, it may be a hoax:
Sources in the U.S. and Uganda now tell me that the young man in question was not connected with Integrity Uganda, and that Bishop Christopher Senyonjo did not make the statement attributed to him by Changing Attitudes. I am still looking for more information and will provide updates as soon as I have them.