Police halts anti-gay demo as pro-gay activists secretly meet in Kampala

Monday February 15 2010

By Stephen Wandera & Andrew Bagala


On Sunday, Police moved to halt a planned demonstration in support of the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill saying that the government is still sorting 'issues out' as pro-gay activists under the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kampala secretly met to condemn the same bill.

Pastor martin Ssempa, one of the organisers of the demonstration confirmed that the Inspector of Police Major General Kale kayihura had contacted them and proposed a meeting on Tuesday before the Wednesday demo.

“It is true Gen. Kayihura sent us a text message that he hasn’t cleared the demonstration. He said we should meet him on Tuesday to forge a way forward,” Pastor Ssempa said.

Gen. Kayihura confirmed that he hasn’t cleared the demonstration and said, “We asked them to postpone the demonstration because government has some issues to sort out and they agreed,”.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill that was tabled by Mr David Bahati (Ndorwa East MP) last October has since received worldwide criticism.


Some provisions of the Bill, including the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality, borderless jurisdiction and criminalisation of counseling of gays, have been criticised both locally and internationally, especially by human rights activists.

Pro-gay meeting
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Kampala, one of the few religious organizations in Uganda that is supporting the gay community held a conference on Sunday to 'highlight the need for an end to discriminatory treatment of the gay population in uganda.

According their website, Reverend Marlin Lavanhar, President of Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry and senior minister at All Souls Unitarian Church, arrived in Uganda on Thursday last week to launch a campaign against the Bill.

One of the organizers Bill Sherman declined to disclose the details of the meeting citing security reasons.

“Under most circumstances I would be happy to give you this contact information. But with security concerns so high, I am reluctant to do so,” Mr Sherman told Daily Monitor by e-mail.

However, Gen. Kayihura said he was not aware of the meeting and vowed to arrest them. “I am not aware of this meeting. But if we get them, we shall arrest them,” he said.