Three remanded as anti-gay law bites

26-year-old massage parlor owner Patricia Nantume appears in court in Buikwe District on August 23, 2023. PHOTO/TAUSI NAKATO

What you need to know:

  • If convicted, the offenders face the possibility of life imprisonment.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, which was assented to by President Museveni in May, has started to bite with three people charged with homosexuality.

The latest person to be charged and remanded under the law is Patricia Nantume, the owner of Cloud 9 massage parlour in Njeru, Buikwe District. 

Nantume, who was charged with homosexuality under Section 2 (1) of the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 last week, faces life imprisonment if convicted.

According to Section 2(1) of the law, “a person commits the offence of homosexuality if the person performs a sexual act or allows a person of the same sex to perform a sexual act on him or her.”

Nantume was arrested with three others after police raided her massage parlour in Njeru Township on Jinja Road 11 days ago.

The enactment of anti-homosexuality law has caused a diplomatic row between Uganda and the Western countries. The World Bank has also suspended funding of projects.

The spokesperson for Ssezibwa Police Region, Ms Hellen Butoto, said Ms Nantume was also charged with promoting homosexuality and allowing her premises to be used for homosexuality.

“Only Patricia Nantume, alias Malaika, was charged. The other suspects were released after the Resident State Attorney, said there was no evidence implicating them,” Superintendent of Police Butoto said. 

26-year-old massage parlor owner Patricia Nantume (yellow) and her lawyer Alice Nambalirwa (R) seen around court in Buikwe District on August 23, 2023. PHOTO/TAUSI NAKATO

According to the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, promoting homosexuality attracts a maximum of 20 years in jail on conviction while a person who allows his or her premises to be used for homosexuality is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding seven years.

The offences are capital in nature and the accused will be tried in the High Court. She was also charged with trafficking in persons, an offence that attracts 15 years in jail.

The first persons to be charged under the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 appeared before Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court on August 21.

Erisha Mukisa, 26, and Ramon Kitimbo Mwesigwa, 21, were charged with two counts of homosexuality contrary to Section 2(1) (2) of Anti-Homosexuality Act. 

Prosecution alleged that between December 2022 and July 2023, the duo engaged in homosexuality contrary to the law. Both the accused were remanded to prison.