The Daily Monitor in Kampala reports that the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kampala, one of the few religious organizations in Uganda that supports 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, the Reverend Martin 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. Bill Sherman, one of the organizers of the conference, declined to disclose 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 the Daily Monitor in an e-mail. However, the Inspector General of Police, General Kayihura said he was not aware of the meeting and vowed to arrest them.
Gug, being, as he says, an infidel and non believer, didn’t go to the campaign meeting at the JBK Hotel but was there in spirit. He was there in the flesh later for the ‘after-party’ event, when they gathered in a bar, drank and laughed and danced and met others that they never knew existed in this world. It was a blast, he says. He had never seen so many kuchus gathered in one place, celebrating something as simple as St Valentine’s day of love.
The Daily Monitor also reports that on Sunday, the police moved to halt the planned million man demonstration in support of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which was scheduled for Wednesday, saying that the government is still sorting ‘issues out’ Police halts anti-gay demo as pro-gay activists secretly meet in Kampala.
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 demonstration. “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 said, “We asked them to postpone the demonstration because government has some issues to sort out and they agreed.”
Alternative demonstration held in Jinja today
Gug has just confirmed that there was some kind of smaller demonstration in support of the bill by Pastor Martin Ssempa and and his supporters in Jinja, Uganda’s second largest town. This is an interesting development and here is assessment why:
The government wouldn’t want a demonstration because they have realised that the waters they have stirred up are too stormy on too many fronts. So, they have to calm down those waters.
Ssempa follows a different agenda. He wants the demonstration; he wants to show support for the Bill and wants it to become law.
So, from what I gather from the Monitor report, Sunday, the Inspector General of Police who is head of all the police in Uganda, Kale Kayihura, said they didn’t have permission for the march on Kampala. They had scheduled Tuesday as the date to meet with him and discuss options.
Why would a spontaneous demonstration have been organized in Jinja? I would understand that if Ssempa wanted one and didn’t want the police to meet him with tear gas and batons, he would organise it very fast and not in Kampala…. and hope the government accepts the fait accompli, which is what happened.
The demonstration in Jinja means that Ssempa is going rogue, counting on popular support to force through the bill. He is, of course, dumping the government in the process, which does not take such things very happily, especially if there was an agreement that they would meet on Tuesday to discuss a way forward.
Gug admits his assessment may be wrong because the government could have given the green light for the demonstration. The police have proved themselves adept at stopping opposition demonstrations in the past, so how could Ssempa’s have taken place without their tacit approval?