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28.01.2011 Africa

US Carson joins Kato - In Memoriam

By Norman S. Miwambo

London-based Lesbian, gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) has joined the world to condemn the murder of a Ugandan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) rights activist.

David Kasule Kato, 46, a gay rights campaigner was brutally murdered in his house in Mukono, approximately 14 miles from Ugandan capital Kampala on Wednesday, January 26, in unclear circumstances.

Kato's murder has stirred up, condemnation to Ugandan government for its stance against gay community in the country. The US's Secretary of State for Africa Affairs, Jonnie Carson, in a Twitter message described Kato's murder as a “horrified and saddened “incident.

Peter Tachell, the famous European gay-rights campaigner said: “My sincere condolences to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and to the Ugandan LGBTI community concerning the tragic, brutal murder of David Kato.”

Kato, last month, had received homophobic death threats and had been pictured and named by Uganda's Rolling Stone Magazine in an article that called for gay people to be killed.

“He was an inspiring campaigner of long and great commitment,” said Mr. Tatchell.

In reference to Ndorwa West, MP David Bahati-sponsored Anti-Gay Bill which was stayed after benefactor countries to Uganda threatened to slash aid to the country, Mr Tatchell said: “I urge the government of Uganda to withdraw the 'kill the gays' Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalise same-sex relations and legislate protection for LGBTI people against discrimination and hate crimes."

Since 2009, when the MP Bahati's sponsored Anti-Homosexuality Bill which call for the death sentence for homosexuals, it has received enormous support locally. A coalition of religious leaders in Uganda joined MP Bahati's crusade against gay community, demanding the government to arrest and prosecute the LGBT people. Although homosexuals have been at risk in Uganda for almost the last decade, the government's stance towards the gay minority community has sharply increased the danger.

The bill [Anti-Homosexuality] not only possesses clauses for death penalty for someone guilty of homosexuality acts, it also calls for prosecuting relatives who do not report the acts to the authority. In March 2010, the US President Barack Obama and the Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, both strongly criticized the Bahati's controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bil. With President Obama describing it as “Odious”, that is when the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a huge supporter of the bill, slightly tried to distance from the bill.

Museveni's attitude against gay community has been clear way back in the 90s when he called the investigation Africans to lock up the gays.

“Their hatred helps create the bigoted atmosphere that leads to queer-bashing violence,” said Mr Tatchell, adding that: “This savage killing will, I hope, finally prompt Uganda's political, religious and media leaders to cease their homophobic witch-hunts.”

In a post message to the Twitter network, the US's Assistant Secretary of State for African, Jonnie Carson, wrote: “We are horrified and saddened by the murder of prominent human rights activist David Kato in Uganda yesterday afternoon.”

The brutal murder of Kato came at a time when the UK's Boarder Agency, is preparing to deport a Ugandan Lesbian, Brenda Namigadde after the Home Office rejected her asylum application. Namigadde, 29, currently at the UK Border manned Heathrow immigration detention centre awaiting deportation, claims her life would be in danger after the news of Kato's brutal murder.

“I've run out of words, may be, I will be the next, since all my pictures are known to everyone against us,” a tearful Namigadde told this reporter after learning the death of Kato. She added: “I have no doubt in my mind that, if deported I can survive such a hostile environment to homo people.”

The UK's Guardian, in its Thursday issue, quoted MP Bahati, saying that, if Namigadde is deported, he would drop a clause calling a death penalty for Homosexuals from his Bill.

“Bahati is not sincerer; he is strongly against. He wants people like this poor girl to be hanged. You cannot be surprised that the government will not take any further steps to find the killers of Kato,” said a friend of Namigadde who talked to this newspaper on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

Although, Rolling Stone, a Ugandan magazine, listed several of gay people including their photos, with a headline “Hang Them”, Ugandan authority the incident 'a robbery went wrong, but not a result of Kato's campaign for homosexuals.

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