Kushaba Moses Mworeko On Uganda Homophobia

Uganda's Red Pepper tabloid,
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They may even be targets for mob justice, since outing them essentially means social suicide, because you won't have friends, you won't go to church, you won't have any relatives, so that is a big problem.

[Global: Africa]


The Radio interview
KPFA News Anchor Anthony Fest:
San Francisco LGBT rights activists met this week, with Ugandan Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, one of the most outspoken opponents of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act, also known as the Hang-the-Gays bill.  The local gay activists discussed how to support Senyonjo and his work there, as well as how to arrange immigration and legal asylum for LGBT Ugandans who feel they're unsafe if they stay in their country. KPFA's Ann Garrison spoke with Kushaba Moses Mworeko, a gay Ugandan who's applied for asylum in the U.S., and she filed this report. 

Kushaba Moses Mworeko left Uganda seeking asylum and to attend an HIV/AIDS conference in Texas in October 2009.  
Washington D.C.'s lesbian and gay Metro Weekly Magazine then interviewed him here and put his picture on their cover with the headline, "The Promised Land," referring to his pursuit of legal asylum in the U.S.  Uganda's Red Pepper tabloid reprinted part of the interview with the headline "Gay Monster Raped Boys in School but Failed to Bonk Wife."  Moses says that his life, as a result, would be in even greater danger now, if he were to return to Uganda.

Moses Mroweko:
Yeah, yes, my life would be in danger because of the extensive media coverage that I have had here and in Uganda, and the provocative coverage from the Red Pepper and other homophobic, witch hunting tabloids in Uganda that keep asking the government of Uganda to hang us.  

KPFA/Ann Garrison:
And are all Ugandans who are out of the closet in as much danger as you are?

Moses Mroweko:
Yes, of course they are, especially those who have been outed in the hate newspapers like the Red Pepper, Uganda's Rolling Stone, and the Onion, which published pictures and addresses of those they called Uganda's Top Homos, including even Bishop Senyonjo, even though he is a heterosexual advocate for LGBT rights.

KPFA/Ann Garrison:
Why do you think Ugandan MP David Bahati and other supporters of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which seemed to have been set aside, are pushing it towards a vote in Parliament again now?

Moses Mroweko:
I think the major reason is that the elections are coming up at the beginning of next year, so people want to force the presidential candidates to take a stand one way or the other.  For instance, these past weeks, during the AIDS celebrations, the sheikhs kept on asking the presidential candidates to take a stand and show whether they are with them or not.  So I think that's why it's coming up very soon.

KPFA/Ann Garrison:
What would you most like the international community to understand about homophobia in Uganda and what would you like them to do?

Moses Mroweko:
I would like the international community to understand that LGBT Ugandans are in danger, and especially when the tabloids publish their pictures and addresses. Of course those who are working lose their jobs and cannot be able to find work.  They may even be targets for mob justice, since outing them essentially means social suicide, because you won't have friends, you won't go to church, you won't have any relatives, so that is a big problem.  The schoolgoing children are expelled from school and cannot go back to school, and that means they will end up on the streets, they will be homeless, and start abusing drugs, and end up having HIV and AIDS. So people are now in fear and despair. And I hope the international community will continue supporting Ugandans' local human right organizations like Sexual Minorities Uganda, Gay Uganda, and Integrity Uganda that defend LGBT rights.

KPFA/Ann Garrison:
Moses, thank you for coming into the KPFA Studios today. 

Moses Mroweko:
You're welcome.  Thank you for having me.

For more please see Ann Garrison

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