An LGBTI group in Uganda has been forced to relocate its offices as a result of ongoing threats from members of the public and neighbouring tenants.

Spectrum Uganda Initiatives, which advocates for the health and dignity of men who have sex with men, issued a statement this week requesting urgent assistance in locating new office space.

The organisation said that it is under serious threat from traders and hooligans near the Kiseka Market in Kampala, where it is located.

Spectrum revealed that during a traders’ strike on 28 June, “angry traders turned their wrath on Spectrum offices and staff, accusing us of promoting homosexuality, and promised to come back soon and attack our office and staff, that they are aware of our activities.”

It said that on Monday, another group of around six young men “again raised their anger and shouted at our offices that they cannot share premises with homosexuals. They continued to shout at Spectrum staff that if police have failed to act by closing our offices they will act themselves”.

The organisation explained that neighbouring tenants have constantly questioned its activities and clients since an article in a Sunday edition of the notoriously anti-gay Red Pepper tabloid, titled Top Uganda Gay Recruiters, was published in February, listing the organisation.

“Spectrum was alleged as a recruiting agency for homosexuals in Uganda and some staff of Spectrum were outed. This alerted the tenants and the landlord,” said the organisation.

“Following an urgent meeting held today of Spectrum Uganda executive, we have decided to immediately find means of relocating to a safer place and evoke on our security plan.”

The website quoted Kimbugwe Moses, the group’s programs and advocacy director, as saying that the organisation has “suspended serious activities and campaigns until we get new offices”.

The Red Pepper newspaper has conducted a witch-hunt against the country’s LGBTI community since at least 2006, repeatedly outing gays and lesbian and even listing their addresses and workplaces. The articles have reportedly led to violence and abuse against some of those who were outed.

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Uganda, with penalties including life imprisonment. The pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill could add the death penalty as an additional punishment for repeat “offenders”.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend