Anti-gay Bill: Sodomised victims, clergy speak out

Left to Right: Homosexuality victim Elisha Mukisa, the president of National Pastors’ Platform of Uganda, Pastor David Kiganda, another homosexuality victim Suleiman Kasolo, and Arising for Christ ministries pastor Solomon Male, appear before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament yesterday. PHOTO | DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Among the stakeholders who interfaced with the committee was Mr Sulaiman Kasolo, who gave a harrowing account of how he was previously sodomised during a previous job hunting experience.

The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee has continued receiving views from different stakeholders about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023, with the latest category being the sodomised victims and the clergy, who shared their views about the proposed Bill.

Among the stakeholders who interfaced with the committee was Mr Sulaiman Kasolo, who gave a harrowing account of how he was previously sodomised during a previous job hunting experience.

Mr Kasolo, in his submission, said in 2013, he was taken advantage of after being drugged by an engineer who had offered him a job placement.

“After doing the interview and confirming that I had passed it, he told me not to go back home so that we could sit and negotiate salaries. But because it was already late in the night, he advised me to go to his place and while I was there, he gave me snacks and a glass of water to drink,” Mr Kasolo says.

About 30 minutes later, he says, his tongue became heavy and his eyes shut down immediately.  “By the time I got back to my senses, I was alone and naked in a near-by sugarcane plantation. Blood was oozing from my anus and my stomach was painful,” he said.

It was only later upon receiving treatment that Mr Kasolo learnt that he had been sodomised. The perpetrator was later pursued, arrested, arraigned before court and jailed for 10 years.

Mr Elisha Mukisa, another homosexuality victim, informed the committee that he was recruited into the practice after joining Senior One several years ago.

“I went through the ranks of the group and was sent out as an agent and I was recruiting other boys in schools,” Mr Mukisa said.

He then criticised the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023, over failure to include a clause in the Bill that introduces a harsh penalty targeting some non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who recruit youth into homosexuality.

“Can we have a specific law in the Bill that penalises these NGOs? I have friends, some aged 14 years who are staying at very expensive apartments being rented for by these NGOs,” he said.

In support, Pastor David Kiganda, the president of National Pastors’ Platform of Uganda, said there should indeed be a provision [in the Bill] that regulates NGOs because some of their officials hide behind advocacy services, but persecute homosexuality.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023, among other intentions, prohibits same-sex relationships, safeguards traditional and cultural values, and protects youth and children against lesbian and gay practices.

However, on a different view, Pastor Solomon Male of Arising for Christ, an evangelism ministry, urged the committee not to pass the Bill.

“The framers of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill simply copied and pasted section 129 on aggravated defilement and they renamed it aggravated homosexuality, and the with all impunity cut down, [the sentences from death and life in jail to 10 years], they said that it’s a very good Bill that will fight homosexuality,” Mr Male said.

Within the Bill, wrongdoings of homosexuality and attempted or aggravated homosexuality, which in the older version were punishable with life imprisonment in the proposed legislation carry a maximum 10-year jail term.

“If the tough law has failed after failing with guns and now you are coming with sticks, 10 years and you are saying that you are serious about fighting homosexuality. I just regard you as a joker,” Mr Male said.

Pastor Martin Ssempa of Makerere Community Church, who welcomed the Bill, said the strongest way any society can fight homosexuality is by promoting the well-being of the family.

“We do not have a law in place that is building marriage and family life in Uganda. We should have a full-cabinet minister of marriage and family whose purpose is to build family life,” he said. 

“We should invest 80 percent energy on how to address [issues] like why are marriages going through divorce, why people are not getting married and why there is sodomy in marriage,” he said.

Ms Rwakoojo Robina Gureme (Gomba West County), the chairperson of the committee, said they will continue receiving submissions from various stakeholders until they present their report to the House next Tuesday.