Second Gay Youth Worker Arrested in Uganda

While trying to visit co-worker at police station – fear and panic setting in as Gays experience heightened persecution in Uganda 

By Melanie Nathan, January 02, 2012.  10.20 AM PST

Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 10.28.37 AMIn a heightened ramp up of persecution of  Gay Ugandans, a young man Kabuye Najibu was arrested in Uganda a few hours ago, while visiting his co-worker who had been arrested just before the new year.  We broke the story of Joseph Kwesi’s arrest here on O-blog-dee-O-blog-da at

Kawesi Joseph, a  founders of  the LGBTI group Youth on Rock Foundation, (YRF)  was arrested by police officers a few days ago and charged with crimes relating to homosexuality.  He is being held at Kawempe police station where the arrest of the second man took place.  A source has informed me that Najibu who also works at YRF was arrested on the same charges as Kaweesi.    A third man, whose identity I will not reveal here for his own safety was with Najibu at the time, but managed to escape arrest.

The Ugandan human rights defenders are being targeted by police through Facebook posts and we have been told that Facebook may be used in evidence to convict the accused.  Bail has not been set and the two are currently still being held with no trial date set.

According to current law, the Facebook page does not present, in my opinion, any evidence of a crime having been committed.  It would seem that to prove so called  “carnal knowledge” with which the accused have apparently been charged, the standard for proof and evidence would have to be much more explicit than what appears on the Facebook pages.  There is currently no law criminalizing the so called “promotion” of homosexuality.

n the meantime it would seem to me that the police are preempting the Anti-Homosexuality Bill  (AHB) (also known as The Kill the Gays Bill) which has been introduced into this parliament and has yet to pass and the arrest may be political as anti-gay catalysts for the Bill try and drum up more support for its passage.  Although there is an existing law which people can be charged under for “carnal knowledge or defilement,” there is currently no law that speaks to the so called “recruitment” of homosexuals. While we all know such is impossible to do, the Ugandan AHB seeks to make the misnomer a crime.

It is no coincidence, in my opinion, that these men have been arrested shortly after the offices of SMUG had been broken into, where computers hosting sensitive information were stolen. SMUG is an umbrella LGBT organization with ties to YRF.   This begs the question could the Ugandan government be involved in the SMUG break in or could it the break in have been committed by an anti-gay proponent of the AHB who is providing the police with information?

It is also no coincidence in my opinion that criminal felon Pastor Martin Ssempa has resurrected his anti-gay attacks with online stalking and messaging of known LGBTI activists from Uganda.   Ssempa also recently gate crashed a Uganda NBS TV show with activist Pepe who was promised a solo interview by the TV station.  Ssempa displayed an inordinate amount of anger on the show, using graphic depictions of his perception of homosexual sex as well as personal distasteful verbal attacks against the station’s guest Pepe.

Many Ugandan gays are expected to go into hiding as this may spiral into more arrests.

UPDATED 01/04/2012.

Both youth workers have been released from prison after spending four days in the one case and two days in the second case. it is uncertain if charges are going to be pursued against them at this time and if the arrests will be treated as unlawful.

21 thoughts on “Second Gay Youth Worker Arrested in Uganda

  1. Victor’s tweet just now kind of says it all:

    @vicmukasa: LGBT activists arrested in Uganda: Joseph Kawesa, 4 days ago and Najib Kabuye a few hours ago. Fear and panic reigning.

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