PRESS STATEMENT BY THE LESBIAN AND GAY EQUALITY PROJECT
IN MEMORY OF DAVID KISULE KATO
FOR QUEER EQUALITY IN A DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S AFRICA
PICKET AGAINST DAVID BAHATI (UGANDAN MP WHO PROPOSED ANTI-GAY LAWS) AND SOLIDARITY WITH ARRESTED ZIMBABWEAN ACTIVISTS
The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (LGEP) calls on all activists and organisations in the Gauteng province to join a picket against David Bahati, the anti-human rights Member of the Ugandan Parliament who, last year abused his public position to propose and promote a draft law that would criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual and others who share intimacy and sex with people of the same sex. We also call on all organisations to endorse this picket by issuing statements in its support. Bahati joined up with and others to up an irrational frenzy on the basis of conservative and retrogressive religious and cultural ideologies. This crusade led to the cowardly murder of queer and human rights activist David Kisule Kato in his Kampala home in January after his picture, home address and other personal details were published in a clear and explicit anti-gay campaign by Bahati's allies in The Rolling Stone newspaper. Bahati must be held personally responsible for the murder of Kato and the ongoing persecution of many others in Uganda simply on the basis of their sexuality and gender identity.
The picket will take place as follows
DATE : Sunday, 27 February
TIME : 11h30 to 15h30
VENUE : outside the recording studios of Urban Brew, 28 Harley Street, Ferndale, Randbur
Bahati is in Johannesburg to speak at a panel organised by the BBC to debate gay rights in our continent. The picket is aimed to ensure that Bahati receives a loud and clear message when he arrives for the debate. He is due to arrive at the studios at 12h30. This is not a picket against the BBC or the producers of the show. This is a picket to send one clear message to Bahati, a message he must keep with him whilst in Johannesburg, in Uganda and everywhere he goes for the rest of his life! We say to Bahati: We are all David Kisule Kato! We are all Ugandan queers! We are queer, African and proud! Whether Bahati likes it or not, we will win full equality and freedom for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, bisexual, trans-gendered and inter-sexed (LGBTI) people in Africa in our lifetime! Bahati must answer for Kato's killing and the ongoing persecution of LGBTI people and activists in Uganda!
In our view, Kato's murder and Bahati's homophobia are part of the same continuum of hate, societal homophobia, ignorance, patriarchy, oppression, dictatorship, exploitation, violations of human rights and social injustices that still mark our continent. In this sense, the oppression of one is an oppression of all. For this reason, we will also dedicate the picket to the 52 comrades who were arrested by the Mugabe dictatorship in Harare on 19 February. These comrades were arrested at an unpublicised meeting of workers and students organised by the International Socialist Organisation (ISO: Zimbabwe) in order to discuss the people's revolutions for democracy, freedom and social justice currently unfolding in the Maghreb and the rest of the Arab world. To this day 8 of these comrades are still in custody without having been charged. These 8 were subject to beatings and torture with comrade Gwisai Munyaradzi suffering the most. We condemn Mugabe and his police state for these arrests, the beatings and torture. These are tactics meant to intimidate activists and the general population of Zimbabwe from exercising their rights to freedom of association, speech, thought and peaceful political action. We will therefore also dedicate the picket against Bahati to the activists and people of Zimbabwe.
Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Robert Mugabe are bed-fellows in promoting homophobia and violating the rights of LGBTI people. They also share the dubious honour of suppressing human rights, failing to promote the full liberation of women, undermining democracy, abusing public resources, fostering crony capitalism at the expense of socio-economic justice and wealth redistribution, and over-staying their period in public office. Their anti-imperialist/anti-Western rhetoric does not confuse or fool us. Far from being anti-imperialists, they have long sold out the struggles of the peoples of our continent. The struggle for freedom, in and of our continent belongs to the people, and not them. So does the future of democracy, equality, social justice and full social liberation. This picket is also a message to the South African government which has begun to fail its constitutional mandate to promote, protect and advance human rights, equality, freedom and socio-economic justice. Like the Ugandan and Zimbabwean governments, it too has failed to act consistently to promote queer equality, has used its foreign policy in a manner that says that democracy, human rights, freedom and equality can be for sale, is failing millions of women who suffer abuse and violence, has promoted crony capitalism and is failing to address socio-economic inequality.
Sunday's picket is one small step in the long and difficult journey ahead to build solidarity and connections between people and their different struggles for equality, non-discrimination, democracy, freedom and socio-economic justice.
Join us! Tell others!
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
- Submit letters of protest to the Ugandan embassy: calling for a proper investigation of David Kato’s killing, the prosecution of his murderers and for the withdrawal of the anti-homosexuality bill
- Name of High Commissioner: Mr K Ruhemba
- Fax: 012 342 6206
- Submit letters of protest to the Zimbabwean embassy and consulate: calling for the release of Gwisai Munyaradzi and the 8 others.
- Ambassador. Mr P Mphoko, fax - 012 342 5126
- Consul General Mr. C Mapanga, fax - 011 838 5620