By Melanie Nathan, November 28, 2014.
A Ugandan human rights defender and activist known in the LGBT community has been brutally attacked today by a mob and rushed to a Kampala emergency hospital.
After a loss of blood, from what seems like multiple injuries, including a badly injured eye, Kelly Mukwano, was administered first aid, collapsed and was sent to intensive care, where he is currently stabilized and undergoing treatment.
Kelly has been subject to persecution by police with several arrests. After an October arrest, he described his ordeal with police as “the most trying moment of my life.” He managed to get what he termed “Police Bond,” with the help of a friend in Norway, and also the return of a confiscated laptop. However I am informed he has undergone constant harassment since the last arrest. The arrests and persecution have been linked to blackmail against Kelly as he is perceived to be gay and a so called “promoter” of homosexuality. As far as we know there are no actual charges against Kelly. This is typical of what LGBTI people face in Uganda due to the extreme and harsh anti-gay climate.
Activists in Uganda are shocked and heartbroken by the attack, noting that anti-gay persecution through evictions, firings, police harassment, arrests and assaults, is again on the rise.
He recently attended the ILGA Conference in Mexico. He is heading up the “Hate No More” campaign and founded a small group in Uganda.
It is apparent that Kelly tried to obtain a visa to the United Sates but was denied.
This comes at a time when activists are certain that the new recently drafted and worsening Anti-Homosexuality legislation, The Prohibition of the Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill of 2014, will pass Parliament, as pushed by MPs and President Museveni , who is fighting to ensure support for his re election. According to an activist on the ground in Uganda, Museveni is more concerned about this critical election than he is about international sanctions. After the Bill is passed, it is certain that Museveni will again “play” President Obama and the International community as he has done in the past.
This is the time of crime that is state sanctioned through police and public persecution alike, only exacerbated by the push for more anti-gay legislation.
Shaken friends and fellow LGBTI activists are thanking people in advance, asking for prayers for Kelly.
UPDATED Nov 29, 2014. 10.54 AM PST:
Kelly is resting and is going to be alright. He has been released from the hospital. Is in a lot of pain and is resting at this time. He is being looked after by friends.
A police report will be opened.
I received a comment from a local Ugandan journalist, Andrew Bagala, saying that this attack is conjured up. (See screenshot below and the comment on this post). Nothing could be further from the truth, unless there are excellent make-up artists on 24 hour standby in Uganda and people worthy of an Oscar:
I wrote back to the Ugandan journalist, Bagala, as can be seen below. Why does the Ugandan press and why do professional journalists try to deny these attacks? Are they being paid off or are they suppressed? I suggest people like Bagala do their homework and start to report the atrocities being committed against LGBTI and human rights defenders perceived as such, instead of pretending that the anti-gay climate is not hurting anyone. I suggested that the Press is complicit in these attacks by not exposing how the anti-gay climate is impacting the Ugandan citizens who have done nothing wrong:
Proof positive that the Ugandan Press seems intent on trying to suppress the harm and persecution against gay people. Undoubtedly the anti-gay climate and push for new legislation will endorse state approved homophobia and direct mob attacks like this. No good comes of Andrew Bagala, a seasoned journalist denying the attack, instead of reporting the facts.
Uganda Proposes a Worse Anti-Gay Bill
By Melanie Nathan, November 07, 2014.
The Prohibition of the Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill of 2014 is apparently the possible new replacement for the now invalid Anti-Homosexuality Act: READ MORE