David Kato (Pic: Jocelyn Edwards)
Ugandan police arrest a suspect and suggest that the murder of activist David Kato may have been part of a robbery and was probably unrelated to his sexuality.
Kato, a leading LGBT rights activist with Sexual Minorities Uganda, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer on Wednesday afternoon in his home.
Police have announced that a suspect, Arnold Senoga, has been arrested and another man with a criminal record, Nsubuga Enock, is being sought. It is understood that Enock had been bailed out of prison by Kato who allowed him to stay at his home. The nature of their relationship is unclear at this point.
“[Kato’s] homosexuality has not come up as an issue in the preliminary investigation,” police spokeswoman, Judith Nabakooba, told Reuters. “At the moment, we think theft is the most likely motive.”
Police pointed out that items were missing from Kato’s home and that Enock had been seen wearing the victim’s clothes.
Kato’s friends and fellow activists believe that his murder was connected to him being splashed on the cover of a local tabloid with a headline urging the hanging of gays. The activist had reportedly received death threats prior to his slaying.
In South Africa, The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, Treatment Action Campaign and Section27 issued a statement saying that they were “saddened and outraged to learn of the brutal murder”.
The groups slammed “the silence of many in powerful positions on the plights of LGBTI people on the continent” saying that this “amounts to an endorsement of homophobia, hate crimes and the killing of our dear brother, David Kato”.
The South African government also came under fire for failing to “uphold and promote its Constitution and to urge African Union member states to protect LGBTI people on our continent from any forms of violence, discrimination and persecution”.
They added: “At multilateral platforms, the SA Government and Department of International Relations and Cooperation have taken numerous homophobic stances creating and nourishing a climate of violent prejudice and homophobia.”