Gay rights campaigner dismisses threats by Uganda's Minister for Ethics Simon Lokodo
The Ugandan government claims it has ‘sufficient evidence’ against NGOs which ‘promote homosexuality’ after obtaining the minutes from a meeting attended by several pro-gay groups.
Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo is reportedly ‘excited’ after obtaining documents outlining future strategies of non-governmental organizations which work on LGBT issues.
The leaked minutes from a meeting on 4 May revealed how the 23 NGOs in attendance planned to fight for gay rights in the African nation and develop an effective media strategy to get their message across, reported Uganda’s Observer newspaper.
‘They are promoting homosexuality and lesbianism as an acceptable culture and this is ruining our lives,’ Lokodo said.
He added: ‘This is not going to stop…There is now sufficient evidence to move against these evil people. We’ll punish them with a deterrent punishment.’
But Geoffrey Ogwaro from the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRCL), which co-ordinated the meeting, dismissed Lokodo’s threats, saying no official statement or complaint has ever been received by them.
‘The content of the minutes is public information. It’s not a secret,’ Ogwaro told Gay Star News.
‘Every organization plans their work. Every activity that we have planned has to do with advocacy around the anti-homosexuality bill.
‘It’s not about holding workshops for minors and teaching them or people on how to become gay. It’s just advocacy around the bill.’
Lokodo previously announced plans to ban 38 pro-gay groups which he claims promotes homosexuality.
However, Ogwaro added that he is ‘not so worried’ about the minister’s proposals.
‘It is a process to de-register an organization,’ he said.
‘In Uganda we have organizations which register with the NGO board and there are procedures and requirements. If they are to de-register an organization it is because it has broken one of the rules or have not done some of the things which were in its objectives or the public demand it.
‘But it’s process and not a decree. No-one gets up and announces that an organization has been de-registered. If they do, it will be out of the law and it can be challenged. That is our hope.’
The Ugandan government last week told Lokodo to ‘tone down’ his anti-gay rhetoric.
Meanwhile, a court case against the homophobic minister has opened in Kampala.
The lawsuit was launched by activists after the closure of a gay rights workshop in February this year.
The high court on Monday (25 June) heard Justice Eldad Mwangushya suggest security agencies ‘infiltrate’ gay rights group using spies instead of raiding them and forcing them not to hold meetings.
The hearing will resume on 6 July, reported the Behind The Mask website.
Male and female homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, and it was reported on 11 June that Catholic bishops had called for a revival of the anti-homosexuality bill, which proposes the execution of gays in the African country.