Martin Ssempa’s campus group dropped from AIDS grant in 2007

 Back in June, I posted several articles which described events in 2007 which were prologue to the introduction of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. One August, 2007 article described an anti-gay rally organized by Martin Ssempa and his views on gays and AIDS programs:

“Homosexuals should absolutely not be included in Uganda’s HIV/AIDS framework. It is a crime, and when you are trying to stamp out a crime you don’t include it in your programmes,” Ssempa said.

These events led to an article by Scott Long, Director of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch detailing the threats to HIV treatment and human rights in Uganda. Ssempa then responded to the article in an editorial where he said:

First you [Scott Long] talked about our church, Makerere Community Church, as a recipient of PEPFAR HIV/AIDS funding. The fact is that Makerere Community Church has never received funding.

I found that to be a curious statement since his church is listed as a subpartner on the PEPFAR website for 2004 and then again in PEPFAR grant documents for 2006-2007. Based on these sources, I wrote the following in my June post:

Ssempa said in this editorial that he did not receive PEPFAR funding. However, according to this letter from USAID, his Campus Alliance to Wipe Out AIDS was a subpartner to the Uganda Youth Forum and was subsidized for abstinence based publications. World Magazine identifies a 2004 grant as being $40,000 which came as a subpartner to Population Services International, according to the PEPFAR website. Children’s AIDS Fund reveived 131,666 in Fiscal Year 2007 for work in Uganda. CAWA was one of the subpartners, receiving $50,000 to publish (pg 20) and distribute the newsletter, The Prime Timer. Altogether, groups controlled by Ssempa received at least $90,000 from PEPFAR, according to government records. It is baffling why Ssempa would say otherwise.

I learned last week that I need to make a correction in what I wrote above. Rev. Ssempa did indeed get PEPFAR money via CAWA but not at the level reported on PEPFAR program documents. I spoke last week with Anita Smith, Executive Director of the Children’s AIDS Fund. Since 2005, CAF has implemented the “Preserving African Families in the Face of HIV/AIDS Through Prevention” grant. The grant planned nearly 10 million dollars for abstinence and fidelity education (the AB components of Uganda’s ABC approach) to be spent over five years. One of the subpartners for this operation was Martin Ssempa’s Campus Alliance to Wipe Out AIDS (CAWA). CAWA was slated to get $50,000 as I pointed out in my June post. The funds were proposed for the monthly publication of a magazine directed at college students, called the Prime Timer, for the purpose of promoting abstinence.

However, the group did not get anything close to that, according to Ms. Smith. Why not? According to Smith, CAF ceased their relationship with CAWA due to “lack of performance.” Ms. Smith told me that Martin Ssempa signed the contract in July, 2006 and agreed to produce one magazine per month. However, Smith said she remembered “only one publication that was produced in January, 2007.” 

According to Smith, they were paid $3,950 for the expenses of that one magazine and then the contract was ended in January, 2007. Thus, if World Magazine’s report is accurate and Ssempa’s Global Alliance for Prevention (referred to on the PEPFAR website as Makerere Community Church) received $40,000, then the amount of PEPFAR funding would be $43,950. Here is what World’s Emily Belz said about the use of the funding:

As one result, PSI is no longer fronting abstinence programs in Kampala, and GAP within the last year secured $40,000 in U.S. abstinence-education money. That’s a small sum compared to the $12 million PSI received in the first round of funding, but it’s enough for Ssempa to publish a newspaper promoting abstinence. He distributes the paper on Kampala’s high-school and university campuses.

PSI is Population Services International which was Makerere Community Church’s partner in 2004 according to the PEPFAR website. In any event, it appears that at least some small amount of PEPFAR money was given groups headed by Ssempa.

Ssempa said to the BBC back in February that he receives no funding from the United States (at about 6:10 into the clip). We now know that is a misleading statement since his living expenses and staff salaries are funded by Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas. It seems unlikely that he could have devoted the time and resources to his campaign if he did not have the backing of the church. It is not clear to me why Rev. Ssempa would be sensitive about the funding issue. My guess is that it would undermine some of his appeal to African values which has been one core aspect of his campaign for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

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  • Maazi NCO


    Don’t you ever get tired of recycling slightly altered versions of the same old stories over and over again? In most of Africa, there is virtually no diversity of opinions on the issue of gayism. We believe that it is simply an extremely depraved behaviour and a sex crime that should never be condoned by sane people. Down in Uganda, regardless of ethnicity, religion, socio-economic class and gender, the popular consensus has already been reached on this matter in line with most of Africa. It would take more than irritating Ssempa and other evangelicals to subvert this unchanging reality which I have painted for you above.

    I believe you will have better chance of success if you rejoin the free-for-all culture wars being fought over gayism in your nation’s Senate, Military, Courts and Media. Why not concentrate on doing some pro-gay propaganda work against the Republican Senators who dared to block gayism-obsessed Obama from permitting sex deviants to serve openly in the US Armed Forces?

  • Jayhuck


    LOL – don’t you ever get tired of rambling on?

  • Gerard Iga

    hahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa……………… really amuse me Throckmorton.Has it come down to this? Are you now resorting to a smear campaign since you can’t resist Martin Ssempa on a logical reasoning basis? That’s really cheap if you ask me.

    Stop mixing up matters.CAWA (Campus Alliance to Wipe out Aids) is an organization.Makerere Community Church is a church.Duh!

    CAWA(not MCC) recieved funding for it’s work in AIDS “PREVENTION”.Do you have a problem with that Throckmorton?

    And as for your claims of non performance,CAWA actually made news as the people that accounted the best for the funding they recieved when the Global Fund probe was carried out here in Uganda.

    And as for the Primetimer Newsletter(s),should i send you some of my old copies to prove to you that there was more than just one?

    Whoever your informers are Throckmorton,you really need to start trusting them less.Good day to you sir.

  • Eddy

    LOL. First time in memory that I’ve ever heard a two paragraph response to a twelve paragraph theme characterized as ‘rambling on’.

  • G. Iga – Do you deny that Makerere Community Church is listed as a PEPFAR recipient on the US Govt website? Or is the US Government also lying?

    And are you aware that CAWA was cited in 2005 for failure to account for Global Fund money?

    I don’t deny that CAWA has put out more than one magazine in the existence of the effort. According to World Magazine report, Ssempa got PEPFAR money to do so. However, during the period he agreed to put out one/month, he put out one. If he wants to contest this, let him do so himself, instead of sending his followers.

  • Maazi – Keep painting.

    My interest in the back story is due to my status as a tax payer here in the US. US tax dollars are going to your nation and if we are getting the humanitarian benefit and it is being used well to save lives, then I am happy. If not, then I am not happy and I have a right and responsibility to look into it.

  • stephen


    My interest in the back story is due to my status as a tax payer here in the US. US tax dollars are going to your nation and if we are getting the humanitarian benefit and it is being used well to save lives, then I am happy. If not, then I am not happy and I have a right and responsibility to look into it.

    Hear hear!

  • Maazi NCO

    My interest in the back story is due to my status as a tax payer here in the US. US tax dollars are going to your nation …. If not, then I am not happy and I have a right and responsibility to look into it.

    Dear Warren,

    Any discerning person knows that your reason for intervention in Uganda’s internal affairs has absolutely nothing to do with your taxes funding a fraction of our nation’s budget and all to do with ego-driven imperialism for which westerners are notorious. Westerners fancy themselves as global policemen and copyright-holders to the definition of “human rights”—-a term shamelessly manipulated to accommodate expanding liberal Western opinions on free-wheeling abortion, cross-dressing, gayism, euthanasia, crass hedonism, third-gender ideology, etc.

    If not, then I am not happy and I have a right and responsibility to look into it.

    Don’t worry—your current excuse for poking your nose into our business will be soon redundant once oil and gas production kicks off. But then, I am not naive to think that you and other western imperialists will cease your pro-gay propaganda after Uganda has weaned itself from donor aid blackmailers. I am sure you will invent another excuse to that effect just like your former gaffe-prone leader George .W. Bush who invented new reasons for going to war in Iraq after ZERO nukes were found there.

  • Gerard Iga

    Maazi- i mean’t to answer Throckmorton about the “honesty” of the American government but looks to me you’re doing just fine without me.hi five on that!

    Now Mr. Throckmorton,i told you YOU NEED to start trusting your sources less because they are blind guides just like you.In case you don’t know,that Ugandanet publication you ostentatiously provided a link for did not have the last say on the Global Fund money.It was later corrected.CAWA did account for the money it used.

    When Makerere Community Church was named among the PEPFAR recipients Throckmorton,was that simply because it is church? If so, it must be a really special church! I mean…recieving funding from PEPFAR and all..!

    And as for your “tax payer’s money” qualms,i joined Makerere University Kampala in the August semester of 2005.BECAUSE of Primetime,The Primetimer and many other activities of CAWA,i did not end up wasting my life on campus in night clubs,drinking,smoking,sleeping around,like some of my close friends from secondary school ended up doing.And you will find many youths who’ve gone through Makerere University with a story similar to mine.(you should come visit with us by the way) I am confident i am a better citizen of Uganda and a more useful member of the human race because of the impact of CAWA on my life.

    Trust me Throckmorton,if i had to choose between following a man of action like Martin Ssempa and you rambling up high on your intellectual high-horse,i’d choose Ssempa anyday! His life is making a difference in the lives of many.I don’t know about yours.

  • ken

    Gerard Iga# ~ Sep 27, 2010 at 4:40 am

    “It was later corrected.CAWA did account for the money it used.”

    do you have a pointer to this correction?

  • Yes, Gerard – do you have any proof of the correction regarding the Global Fund money? I asked Martin Ssempa for this and he did not reply to my request. You say I am not relying on good sources but I have asked Ssempa for this information and he has not provided any sources. I wrote the former director of CAWA on Facebook and then he did not reply and changed his settings so that CAWA no longer showed up on his info. I have tried to get information but cannot because those who have it are not talking.

    If you have information which can be verified that CAWA did account for the GF money or that they did indeed publish one magazine per month from 2006-2007, then please advance it.

  • James


    Dr. Warren you are trying to take us away from the main point. You are trying to dig “every dirt” about Ssempa but it’s not yielding anything. The Las Vegas Evangelicals are quiet about your campaign and many US Tele-evangelicals are making their way to Uganda. One has just concluded a mega outreach in this Pearl of Africa.

    I have searched through most archives regarding the Global Fund Mismanagement and it’s true CAWA was sighted as one of the organisation to have gotten money. A careful look at this records shows that CAWA actually cleared their name. During the Inquiry, CAWA gave one of the best accountabilities and it seems (again according to these credible sources) the Commissioners were very impressed with their performance. Check out this:”

    I saw an article where one of the directors of CAWA said by the time the auditing was done, they had only completed three quarters of their activities and they had one month to go. The remaining money was to cater for the activities in this one month. Check out this also:

    As far as I know, CAWA is a credible organisation that researchers are always referred to for any issues concerning Abstinence and HIV/AIDS among young people in Schools.

    Actually, Dr. you misguided us by saying CAWA never produced a Newspaper in the period 2006/2007. This is not true. I remember visiting this organisation way back in March or May (can’t remember well) 2007 and they had copies of their Newsletter for the previous five months. I think Anita wasn’t sincere here or it could be that CAF cut off the support but someone else came in to support. Or still they mobilised themselves and funded this Newsletter. They have the ability to do this because I lately learnt that their weekend meetings are entirely sponsored by the Students themselves.

    I think on this issue of fighting HIV/AIDS, Ssempa deserves to be applauded. He has done well as Gerald testifies. I wonder how Ssempa and CAWA can continue winning those coveted HIV/AIDS awards when he is a non performer.

    Finally Dr, you need to style up in your assessement of people. Every one who seems to defend the Ugandan cause is labelled a Ssempa follower. No, we are concerned Ugandans who can think independently. I support Ssempa on protecting our natural heritage, I will oppose him if he ever came up with any an unacceptable practise in Uganda. So far he is one of leaders with Uganda at heart.