CONFUSION OVER UGANDA’S STANCE ON GAYS MEETING

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Simon Lokodo

Following raids on LGBT rights workshops, the Ugandan government has given contradictory statements about its stance on LGBT people’s right to meet freely.

Late last week, Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo signed a government statement saying: “No government official is bent (sic) to harass any section of the community and everybody in Uganda enjoys the freedom to lawfully assemble and associate freely with others.”

It also said that while “promoting gay activities is illegal according to Section 145 of the Penal code Act, Uganda does not segregate against people of a different sexual orientation.”

On Sunday, however, Lokodo was quoted by SAPA as saying: “We will continue a crackdown on these gays by all means. We cannot allow them to use meetings as platforms to promote their activities.”

In February, Lokodo, accompanied by a police escort, shut down a gay rights workshop at an Entebbe hotel. Last week, police raided another LGBT rights meeting and arrested around 17 activists in Kampala. They were released soon after without being charged with any offence.

Lokodo has also promised to ban 38 human rights groups that he claims are “promoting homosexuality” and “recruiting” children into homosexuality.

Activists are taking legal action against Lokodo, insisting that his actions are illegal and infringe on their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression.

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