Ugandan 'homosexuals' named in Red Pepper paper

Red Pepper story (25 February 2014) The Red Pepper tabloid is one of Uganda's biggest selling newspapers

Related Stories

A Ugandan tabloid has named the country's "200 top homosexuals", a day after President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill toughening penalties for gay people.

Red Pepper's list appeared under the headline: "Exposed", raising concerns of a witch-hunt against gay people.

Western governments have condemned Mr Museveni's decision to approve the bill.

Uganda is a deeply conservative society where most people oppose homosexuality.

Homosexual acts were already illegal in Uganda, but the new law bans the promotion of homosexuality and covers lesbians for the first time.

Start Quote

The media witch-hunt is back”

End Quote Jacqueline Kasha Ugandan lesbian activist

In 2011, Ugandan gay activist David Kato was killed in what rights activists said was a homophobic attack.

His name had appeared on a list published by the now-defunct Ugandan Rolling Stone magazine, calling for the execution of gay people.

Aid threat

The BBC's Ali Mutasa reports from the capital, Kampala, that many of the people named on Red Pepper's list are known to be homosexuals, and some of them live abroad.

The list also includes some Ugandans who previously had not identified themselves as gay, the Associated Press news agency reports.

"The media witch-hunt is back," tweeted Jacqueline Kasha, a prominent Ugandan lesbian activist who appears on Red Pepper's list.

There was applause as Yoweri Museveni said: "Society can do something about it to discourage the trend"

Well-known gay rights activist Pepe Julian Onziema is also on the list, along with a popular hip-hop star and a Catholic priest, AP reports.

On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Mr Museveni's decision to sign the bill was a "tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights".

"Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programmes, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,'' he said in a statement.

Uganda receives a reported $400m (£240m) in annual aid from the US.

Uganda's anti-homosexuality act

  • Life imprisonment for gay sex, including oral sex
  • Life imprisonment for "aggravated homosexuality", including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive
  • Life imprisonment for living in a same-sex marriage
  • Seven years for "attempting to commit homosexuality"
  • Between five and seven years in jail or a $40,700 (£24,500) fine or both for the promotion of homosexuality
  • Businesses or non-governmental organisations found guilty of the promotion of homosexuality would have their certificates of registration cancelled and directors could face seven years in jail

Sweden's Development Assistance Minister Hillevi Engstrom called Mr Museveni's decision "terrible" and said that direct aid to Uganda, worth about $10.8m, could be withdrawn.

As a result of the new law, the Netherlands has stopped a $9.6m subsidy to Uganda's judicial system.

Norway and Denmark said they would transfer direct aid - together totalling about $17m - to non-governmental organisations.

Mr Museveni signed a watered-down version of the bill on Monday, which includes life sentences for gay sex and same-sex marriage

However, a clause criminalising those who do not report gay people was removed as well as a proposed sentence of up to 14 years for first-time offenders.

Earlier, government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told Reuters news agency Mr Museveni wanted "to demonstrate Uganda's independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation".

The sponsor of the bill, MP David Bahati, insisted homosexuality was a "behaviour that can be learned and can be unlearned".

Map showing gay rights in Africa

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • StuntmanStuntman to the stars

    Driving dangerously and falling off buildings are all part of the day job for Bobby Holland Hanton

Programmes

  • A digger operated via an Oculus Rift and a controllerClick Watch

    Why controlling a heavy digger with a virtual reality helmet might improve safety

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.