LGBT campaigners have expressed outrage at the Ugandan government’s decision to cancel an upcoming gay pride parade. Simon Lokodo, the state minister for ethics announced that an event to be held at the Sheraton Hotel in the country’s capital, Kampala, was canceled on grounds of an illegal attempt to recruit and promote homosexuality.
The government deployed police to all gay pride events and ordered the arrests of anybody taking part. Speaking about his directive, Lokodo said ‘It’s true I ordered the police to stop and shut down all the gay pride events. No gay gathering and promotion can be allowed in Uganda. We can’t tolerate it at all.’ He went on to add ‘We know they are trying to recruit and promote homosexuality secretly. But it’s worse to attempt to stand and exhibit it in public arena. This is totally unacceptable. Never in Uganda.’
‘Now they want to move on the streets and talking about MSM [men who have sex with men] in a public arena. I couldn’t allow them to do that. The next time they do it they will face the full wrath of the law.’
Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda but police have previously granted permission for Pride celebrations to take place. Frank Mugisha, the director of Sexual Minorities Uganda expressed contempt for the government and their actions. ‘We are utterly appalled by the minister’s actions. The government crackdown on our events is an abuse of our freedom of assembly and association. We have a right granted by the Ugandan constitution.’