Rachel Maddow on David Kato’s murder

Rachel Maddow adds commentary to the controversy over David Kato’s murder.

Those close to Kato have told me that Kato did not pay prostitutes and that the scenario developing around him is implausible. If they are correct and Enock Nsuguba killed Kato for other reasons, I suppose a gay panic type defense might be a strategic move in order to avoid the hangman.

Maddow here may overemphasize the direct American influence on this bill. However, she certainly is correct that the rhetoric offered by Scott Lively and Caleb Brundidge (I leave out Don Schmierer because his talk included very little about reorientation and was nothing like Lively’s venom) was supportive to the plan of certain Ugandans to create the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Lively’s nuclear bomb cannot be wished away with confusing and hateful op-eds. The only productive stance by people who misled the Ugandan people is to repent and ask them to follow the example of Jesus when he prevented the mob from killing a women believed to be a sinner.

Police say David Kato was murdered over a “personal disagreement”

So says this Reuter’s report:

David Kato, one of the country’s most visible gay campaigners, was beaten to death with a hammer at his home on Thursday and died on the way to hospital.

Homosexuality is taboo in many African nations. It is illegal in 37 countries on the continent, including Uganda, and activists say few Africans are openly gay, fearing imprisonment, violence and loss of jobs.

Kato had been featured in an anti-gay newspaper in October that “outed” people it said were gay and called on the government to kill them. His photograph was published on the cover under the headline: “Hang Them.”

The activist said he had received death threats since the publication.

“The prime suspect, Nsubuga Enock, was arrested today at around 4pm when he went to visit his girlfriend,” police spokesman Vincent Ssetake told Reuters.

“He has confessed to the murder. It wasn’t a robbery and it wasn’t because Kato was an activist. It was a personal disagreement but I can’t say more than that.”

Currently, there is no objective way to know what that disagreement was about, if indeed that is accurate. Many of Kato’s Ugandan friends tell me privately that they doubt this narrative and are also seeking to find the truth.

UPDATES:

CNN (Nsubuga was a gardener) and AFP (Nsubuga was a prostitute) add detail and suggest that Nsugaba was hired for sexual reasons. As one of those providing comment said, Kato had been accused before of rape. Nothing came of those charges which are suspicious due to their source. At this point, I am still withholding my opinion about the plausibility of the narrative which has developed.

Police arrest suspect in murder of David Kato

According to the BBC, Ugandan police have arrested Enock Nsubuga in connection with the murder of David Kato.

Ugandan police have arrested a man over last week’s murder of David Kato, a gay activist who sued a local newspaper which outed him as homosexual.

Police say Enock Nsubuga, the second person arrested in connection with the killing, is their main suspect.

They deny that Mr Kato was killed because of his sexuality and that initial inquiries point to robbery.

It is not a good sign when the police think they know the motive before they arrest the suspect.  An Enock Nsubuga has this Facebook profile (this Enock likes his beer) but I don’t know if this is the same person.

Bryan Fischer hearts Scott Lively; repeats Holocaust revision

Bryan Fischer gets his gay nazi on with this glowing tribute to Scott Lively and the Pink Swastika.

Two things: One, the motives behind David Kato’s death are not clear as yet but that does not stop Bryan Fischer from providing his audience with one-sided analysis. It may be awhile before we can sort through all of the competing theories.

And two, and perhaps more dangerous, Fischer recommends to his large audience a book which has been rejected by Campus Crusade, NARTH, Exodus International and virtually all historians I know who have looked at it. Even the historian Fischer advances to support his theory of the Holocaust said Fischer and Lively are wrong (see Lothar Machtan’s statement).

Hitler’s atrocities primarily do NOT derive from his homosexuality. Of course you CANNOT blame Hitler’s homosexuality for the Holocaust. (Machtan supplied the emphasis)

Machtan thinks Hitler was gay. Having read his book, I would say he did not succeed in proving his thesis. Machtan’s book is not well received among historians. However, even someone who thinks Hitler might have been gay says that his sexuality had nothing to do with the Holocaust or other atrocities. The only ones who think that are…, well, you know.

The Archbishop of Canterbury condemns murder of David Kato; speaks in favor of asylum seekers

This from the Archbishop’s website:

Archbishop condemns murder of Ugandan gay human rights activist

Friday 28 January 2011

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who is currently in Dublin for the Primates’ meeting, has made the following statement regarding the murder of the gay human rights activist David Kato Kisulle in Uganda:

“The brutal murder of David Kato Kisule, a gay human rights activist, is profoundly shocking. Our prayers and deep sympathy go out for his family and friends – and for all who live in fear for their lives. Whatever the precise circumstances of his death, which have yet to be determined, we know that David Kato Kisule lived under the threat of violence and death. No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others. Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide. This event also makes it all the more urgent for the British Government to secure the safety of LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities.”

Note his support for “asylum seekers.” I wonder if a decision on Brenda Namigadde will come today.

Anti-gay reaction to David Kato’s death

Various actors in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill saga have made statements and provided their own spin on the death of David Kato.

In this BBC segment, Martin Ssempa provides comment. Ssempa says the reason for Kato’s death is “gay on gay bashing.” Given his brush with the legal system, perhaps Ssempa has taken up investigating crime and has it all figured out. Otherwise, the BBC segment is worth viewing in that it again demonstrates the difficult situation for Ugandan GLBT people.

David Bahati uses Kato’s death to continue to bash gays and essentially says Kato brought his death on himself. UG Pulse says Bahati “mourns” Kato. Not.

He [Bahati] says though his death may have had nothing to do with his acts, it has everything to do with the financial resources set to these individuals by donors, which could have attracted the attention of the assailants.

The MP says the Police should not only investigate Kato’s death, but also dismantle the illegal networks, particularly financial, which are being used to facilitate gay activities in Uganda, especially in schools.In Uganda most people feel like vomiting when they come across gay practitioners or activists.

The tabloid, The Red Pepper, appears to be singing off the same sheet of music as Ssempa.

And then this piece in the Uganda Record asserts that Kato supported Museveni’s opposition, implying perhaps that Kato’s murder related to political reasons.

And then there is this doozy from Scott Lively who often leaves me temporarily speechless.

Ugandan police make preliminary statements about the murder of David Kato

Those investigating the murder of David Kato are leaning away from the crime being related to bias against gays. This according to a statement read today at the Uganda Media Centre and reported in the government owned New Vision.

THE Police are holding one person in connection with yesterday’s murder of David Kisuule Kato, who has been one of the activists campaigning against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, however, said the murder was an act of robbery and not connected to Kato’s campaign against the Bill.

Kato, 46, was hit on the head with a hammer by unknown assailants at his home in Bukasa-Kyetume in Nakisunga sub-county, Mukono district.

According to residents, Kato was killed at around 2:00pm on Wednesday by three men who were travelling in a saloon car.

“The circumstances surrounding this incident have no indication regarding Kato’s campaign against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill before Parliament,” said Kayihura in a statement read to the media by the deputy Police spokesperson, Vincent Ssekate, at the Uganda Media Centre.

Kato has been a member of the Sexual Minorities Uganda. Police said a suspect, Arnold Ssenoga, who was a driver to the deceased, had been arrested and is being held at the Rapid Response Unit headquarters in Kireka.

Police are also on the hunt for another suspect, identified as Enock Nsubuga, who is at large.

Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba, who visited the murder scene, said a team of detectives from the Police headquarters had been assigned to handle the case in view of the interest it had generated in the international community. “We have not yet established the intention of the assailants, but the Police are investigating the matter,” Nabakooba said.

According to a copy of the statement I received, Inspector General Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura made an effort to present Uganda in a good light, saying:

As police investigations are continuing, the public is asked to disregard any insinuations that have been attributed to this unfortunate incident. Uganda is a peaceful country and any crime of any nature is taken seriously and to its conclusive end.

One should take care in interpreting these preliminary statements. Given the international scrutiny on this crime as well, the Ugandans might have an incentive to minimize bias toward gays. On the other hand, international observers might experience a rush to judgment.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement on death of David Kato; Updated with President Obama’s statement

The President also made a statement which follows Mrs. Clinton’s statement.

Her statement has been placed on the State Department website and is reproduced here.

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
January 27, 2011

We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home near Kampala yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues. We urge Ugandan authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this heinous act.

David Kato tirelessly devoted himself to improving the lives of others. As an advocate for the group Sexual Minorities Uganda, he worked to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. His efforts resulted in groundbreaking recognition for Uganda’s LGBT community, including the Uganda Human Rights Commission’s October 2010 statement on the unconstitutionality of Uganda’s draft “anti-homosexuality bill” and the Ugandan High Court’s January 3 ruling safeguarding all Ugandans’ right to privacy and the preservation of human dignity. His tragic death underscores how critical it is that both the government and the people of Uganda, along with the international community, speak out against the discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda’s LGBT community, and work together to ensure that all individuals are accorded the same rights and dignity to which each and every person is entitled.

Everywhere I travel on behalf of our country, I make it a point to meet with young people and activists — people like David — who are trying to build a better, stronger future for their societies. I let them know that America stands with them, and that their ideas and commitment are indispensible to achieving the progress we all seek.

This crime is a reminder of the heroic generosity of the people who advocate for and defend human rights on behalf of the rest of us — and the sacrifices they make. And as we reflect on his life, it is also an occasion to reaffirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons.

Our ambassadors and diplomats around the world will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights policy, and to stand with those who, with their courage, make the world a more just place where every person can live up to his or her God-given potential. We honor David’s legacy by continuing the important work to which he devoted his life.

President Obama’s statement:

Statement by the President on the Killing of David Kato

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
January 27, 2011

LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights.  My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad.  We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

At home and around the world, LGBT persons continue to be subjected to unconscionable bullying, discrimination, and hate.  In the weeks preceding David Kato’s murder in Uganda, five members of the LGBT community in Honduras were also murdered.  It is essential that the Governments of Uganda and Honduras investigate these killings and hold the perpetrators accountable.

I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of David Kato.  In Uganda, David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate.  He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom.  The United States mourns his murder, and we recommit ourselves to David’s work.

Rolling Stone editor makes deadly position clear

Commenting on the tragic death of David Kato, Rolling Stone editor stated his political philosophy regarding gays and the government to the BBC.

Rolling Stone editor Giles Muhame told Reuters news agency he condemned the murder and that the paper had not wanted gays to be attacked.

“There has been a lot of crime, it may not be because he is gay,” he said.

“We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them.”

Public does it, condemnation. Government does it, good public policy. What are they teaching at Makerere U? If you want to see how low the person supported by Rev. Solomon Male can go, read this sordid accusation.

I certainly hope the UK provides refuge for Brenda Namigadde.

SMUG statement on the murder of David Kato

Press Release by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Brutal Murder of Gay Ugandan Human Rights Defender, David Kato
 
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and the entire Ugandan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Community stands together to condemn the killing of David Kato and call for the Ugandan Government, Civil Society, and Local Communities to protect sexual minorities across Uganda. 
 
David was brutally beaten to death in his home today, 26 January 2011, around 2pm.  Across the entire country, straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans mourn the loss of David, a dear friend, colleague, teacher, family member, and human rights defender.   
David has been receiving death threats since his face was put on the front page of Rolling Stone Magazine, which called for his death and the death of all homosexuals.  David’s death comes directly after the Supreme Court of Uganda ruled that people must stop inciting violence against homosexuals and must respect the right to privacy and human dignity.  

Sexual Minorities Uganda and the Ugandan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Community call on the Police and the Government of Uganda to seriously investigate the circumstances surrounding David’s death. We also call on religious leaders, political leaders and media houses to stop demonizing sexual minorities in Uganda since doing so creates a climate of violence against gay persons.  Val Kalende, the Chair of the Board at Freedom and Roam Uganda stated that “David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S Evangelicals in 2009. The Ugandan Government and the so-called U.S Evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood!”

 
As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently declared, “I understand that sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues.  But cultural practices cannot justify any violation of human rights. . .  . When our fellow humans are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, we must speak out. . . . States bear the primary responsibility to protect human rights advocates.  I call on all States to ensure the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly that make their work possible.  When the lives of human rights advocates are endangered, we are all less secure.  When the voices of human rights advocates are silenced, justice itself is drowned out.” 

David’s life was cut short in a brutal manner.  David will be deeply missed by his family and friends, his students, and Human Rights organizations throughout Uganda and around the world.  Speaking about what the death of David means in the struggle for equality, Frank Mugisha, the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda said, “No form of intimidation will stop our cause. The death of David will only be honored when the struggle for justice and equality is won.  David is gone and many of us will follow, but the struggle will be won. David wanted to see a Uganda where all people will be treated equally despite their sexual orientation.”

 
Burial arrangements are underway for Friday 28, 2011 at 2PM at his ancestral home in Namataba, Mukono District. 
 
Press contacts:

Frank Mugisha: +1 646 436 1858

 

David Kato (center) at Rolling Stone trial (Photo credit Benedicte Desrus)