Monday October 30 2017

Activist flees Uganda after attempts on his life over homosexuality

During the film production. COURTESY PHOTO

During the film production. COURTESY PHOTO  

By Agencies

Recently, Tanzania police said they had arrested 12 men, including two South Africans and a Ugandan for presumed homosexuality as part of an ongoing crackdown against gays.
"We arrested the criminals at (the hotel) Peacock, they were promoting homosexuality. Two are South Africans, one Ugandan and nine Tanzanians," Dar es Salaam police head Lazaro Mambosasa said at a weekly press conference.

"Tanzanian law forbids this act between people of the same sex, it is a violation of our country's laws," said Mambosasa.
He added the hotel manager was among those arrested for "providing a room" for the others.
According to police, those arrests took place in a hotel where the group was undergoing training with an officially-registered international NGO, the Bridge Initiative, which works in AIDS awareness.

In February, Tanzania earned criticism notably from the United States after announcing the closure of several health centres specializing in AIDS prevention, alleging they were fronts for promoting homosexuality.
Gay male sex is punishable by anything from 30 years to life imprisonment under Tanzanian law. According to Amnesty International, homosexuality is illegal in 38 of 54 African states and is punishable by death in Mauritania, Somalia and Sudan.

Uganda in 2014 tried to impose the death penalty on those found guilty of being homosexual, however, the controversial law was later repealed.
Like in Tanzania, in Uganda, after a controversial film titled ‘Born Gay’ the first ever produced movie in Uganda of such a kind by renowned documentary and human rights activist Alex Semambo, there were allegations that some of the footage had linked and those who participated in the movie were mentioned and identified.
After receiving threating messages from unknown people, some of the people who participated in the movie decided to leave for their safety including Semambo who is currently in USA.

The family says, after Alex’s disappearance, family members have received anonymous letters threatening to harm them and a case was reported at Mpala Police Station in Entebbe December of 2016.
It is remembered that in 2014, Uganda tried to impose the death penalty on those found guilty of being homosexual. However, the controversial law was later repealed.
This brought a lot of debate between the pro and anti-homosexuality activists about how the courts of law can make judgments in case a member of the either side is harassed.