Homophobic Ugandan clergymen’s case returns to court today

The criminal case facing four prominent homophobic clergymen in Uganda resumes today (Monday, May 21) in Kampala and the accused are expected to start defending themselves.

The case was postponed after multiple queries from lawyers representing the four anti-gay Christian preachers in a landmark homophobic smear case brought by rival pastor, Robert Kayanja, over claims that he sodomised members of his congregation.

Lawyers for the four accused clergymen told court presided over by Magistrate Julius Borore last month, that they wanted the court to make available a hard copy of court proceedings as recorded by the previous magistrate in the case, John Patrick Wekesa.

They said they would need this in order to advise their clients accordingly. The defence lawyers told the new magistrate that they were not sure Wekesa had recorded the right proceedings.

This twist followed new developments in which Ugandan police cleared Wekesa over claims that he had been compromised by the claimant, Pastor Robert Kayanja.

The homophobic preachers and their agents had also claimed that Wekesa had been given a car by Kayanja. The police report cleared Magistrate Wekesa of any wrongdoing.

When Wekesa ruled last year that the pastors had a case to answer for tarnishing Kayanja’s name, two women, Grace Nabifo and Evelyn Chawo, associated with the four accused alleged that the magistrate (Wekesa) had received gifts of a car and cash from Kayanja.

Wekesa denied the allegations but hearing the case was halted until the police could complete investigations into the matter. According to a police report, the claims were false.

It was not clear at the last time the case came up for hearing if Borore had now taken over the case or whether he was just sitting in for Wekesa. However, Paul Rutisya, one of the lawyers representing the four clergymen against Kayanja, told reporters recently that they had secured a court order from the Chief Registrar of the High Court Henry Adonyo asking Wekesa to step aside.

Wekesa has been trying the case which involves pastors Solomon Male, Martin Sempa, Michael Kyazze and Robert Kayiira against their evangelical rival Kayanja.

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