SMUG: Ugandan GLBT activist David Kato has been murdered

Frank Mugisha, head of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), just reported that his colleague in SMUG, David Kato, has been murdered in Kampala. Kato was also one of the plaintiffs in the Rolling Stone defamation case in Uganda. The Rolling Stone promised to out 100 homosexuals, and had started doing so, when a Ugandan judge halted the tabloid, saying that such efforts violated the rights of the plaintiffs. You can find a link to the decision here.

Kato had expressed fear for his safety after the verdict, telling AlertNet:

David Kato, one of the plaintiffs, said that he had been living in terror ever since he was named by the newspaper.

“Since we got exposed by Rolling Stone, we have been living like fugitives in our own country,” he said. “We have to keep shifting houses for fear of being attacked. Some of the gays have decided to leave the city and head to rural areas in order to protect themselves.”

Details of this tragic death are unclear. I will provide more information as I get it.

UPDATE (8:01pm) – Human Rights Watch has more detail

“David Kato’s death is a tragic loss to the human rights community,” said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “David had faced the increased threats to Ugandan LGBT people bravely and will be sorely missed.”

Witnesses told police that a man entered Kato’s home in Mukono at around 1 p.m. on January 26, 2011, hit him twice in the head and departed in a vehicle. Kato died on his way to Kawolo hospital. Police told Kato’s lawyer that they had the registration number of the vehicle and were looking for it.

UPDATE (1:10pm, 1/27/11). The Daily Monitor has a story here.

Police’s Scene of Crime officers have ringed off the house in which a gay activist, David Kato was murdered yesterday.

Police said his attackers hit him with a hammer on the head at around noon on Wednesday before locking him in the house.

Deputy Police Spokesman Vincent Ssekate said they are taking the case seriously but asked the public to who have any information that may lead to the arrest of the suspects to contact them.

He later died as he was being transported to Mulago Hospital.

“They forced their way in and found Kato lying unconscious,” he said.

Their suspicion rose later, they told the police, and went to check on him in his house but found the door locked.

Residents told police that they saw a man who entered Kato’s house but he moved out dressed in victim’s shoes and a jacket that cover part of his face.

Asked whether they were taking it as an attack on minorities in the country, he said it is too early to reach that conclusion.

Kato was listed among the 100 people suspected to be homosexuals in the country by the local tabloid Rolling Stone.

“Since the act happened during day, there may be people who say the suspects entering the house. They should come and give us information,” he said.

Deputy Police Spokesman Vincent Ssekate said they are taking the case seriously but asked the public to who have any information that may lead to the arrest of the suspects to contact them.

The New York Times gives more details:

Friends said Mr. Kato had recently put an alarm system in his house and was killed by an acquaintance, someone who had been inside several times before and was seen by neighbors on Wednesday. Mr. Kato’s neighborhood on the outskirts of Kampala is known as a rough one, where several people have recently been beaten to death with iron bars.

Judith Nabakooba, a police spokeswoman, said Mr. Kato’s death did not appear to be a hate crime, though the investigation has just started. “It looks like theft, as some things were stolen,” Mrs. Nabakooba said.

But Nikki Mawanda, a friend, who was born female and lives as a man, said: “This is a clear signal. You don’t know who’s going to do it to you.”

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  • Richard Willmer

    Appalling! May he rest in peace.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    This is very sad. I hope Frank is safe. Enjoy your coffee, Mr. Lively.

    … very sad.

  • Richard Willmer

    If I were less charitable, I might write something that includes the words ‘Lively’, ‘coffee’, ‘hope’ and ‘chokes’.

    But I won’t. And I hope he repents instead.

  • Wendy Leigh

    May Lively choke on his coffee, Bahati on his morning toast and the murderer found and hung dead.

  • Thomas

    May his find peace in a place where no one has to watch their backs for being homosexuals, or poor, or not favoured children, or former in-mates, or from non background.

  • David Blakeslee

    More work to do after our horror and grief.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    May they realise the consequences of their actions.

    I wouldn’t like to think that they all do already. Some, maybe. Not all, I hope. I guess I have some faith in humanity, even those whose ideas and actions I abhor.

  • anteros

    depressing news.

    condolences to mr. kato’s family and friends.

  • http://nojam75.blogspot.com Norm!

    So sad.

  • Maazi NCO

    The Police are still investigating the circumstances that led to the gruesome murder of Mr. David Kato. It may not be prudent to jump into conclusions. The perpetrator(s) of the homicide will eventually face justice.

  • Richard Willmer

    If this murder were not related to Kato’s sexuality, it would be a HUGE coincidence, I think. He had been receiving (greatly increased levels of) threats for a while (ever since the ‘Rolling Stone’ ‘Hang Them’ article).

  • Ann

    This is awful. Just awful. Is this the same man that was interviewed by a journalist and Dr. Throckmorton posted the you tube video about it?

  • Maazi NCO

    If this murder were not related to Kato’s sexuality, it would be a HUGE coincidence, I think. He had been receiving (greatly increased levels of) threats for a while (ever since the ‘Rolling Stone’ ‘Hang Them’ article).

    Even before the upstart tabloid came into existence, the flamboyant Mr. Kato was known throughout Uganda as the public face of gayism. So the idea that it was the tabloid that got him killed by printing his picture may not actually be correct since he was already well known. The most important thing is that the murder is under police investigation and until it is concluded or at least have gone mid-way, no fanciful conclusions can be reached.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    Even before the upstart tabloid came into existence, the flamboyant Mr. Kato was known throughout Uganda as the public face of gayism.

    so you’re saying, essentially, “yeah he was probably killed for his ‘flamboyant gayism’ but not necessarily because of the paper.” Which makes it SO much better.

  • Ann

    Even before the upstart tabloid came into existence, the flamboyant Mr. Kato was known throughout Uganda as the public face of gayism.

    Maazi NCO,

    And this means what? It also begs the question – are connectiing this to his horrific murder?

  • Maazi NCO

    so you’re saying, essentially, “yeah he was probably killed for his ‘flamboyant gayism’ but not necessarily because of the paper.” Which makes it SO much better.

    Why must you people drag propaganda into everything? Please do not put words into my mouth. Kato was an open advocate of gayism who has appeared on local television, local mainstream newspapers and western media. He has also given press conferences within Uganda. All these happening long before Rolling Stones hit the streets. Therefore he was already known to everybody. The upstart tabloid—which has very low circulation—did not need to print the flamboyant man’s photo for people to realize who he was and what he stood for. The motive for the man’s death may have been burgulary. There is sufficient evidence for the police to think this way given the fact that: (a) the victim’s clothes were stolen and (b) money was removed from his house.

  • Maazi NCO

    (c) There has been a spate of attacks similar to the one inflicted on Mr. Kato in the locality where he lives.

  • Ann

    There is sufficient evidence for the police to think this way given the fact that: (a) the victim’s clothes were stolen and (b) money was removed from his house.

    Maazi NCO,

    Do you believe the police will tell the whole truth about what happened or, even if they did and the perpetrator admits to it being a hate crime, justified by your government, do you think your government and their supporters will report that with truth and integrity?

  • Ann

    Why must you people drag propaganda into everything?

    ok, what does “you people” mean?

  • Maazi NCO

    Maazi NCO,

    Do you believe the police will tell the whole truth about what happened or, even if they did and the perpetrator admits to it being a hate crime, justified by your government, do you think your government and their supporters will report that with truth and integrity?

    Do you really care to know what the true motive of the crime might be, given the fact that several people in David Kato’s locality have been victims of a similar attack? Or are you more interested in seizing upon the tragic death for propaganda purposes? Do you live in Uganda or know what is going on there?

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi’

    You are so full of fear anger. Noone is threatening you; noone here wants to beat you to death with an iron bar.

    CALM DOWN, or you could send yourself to an early grave.

  • Ann

    Do you really care to know what the true motive of the crime might be, given the fact that several people in David Kato’s locality have been victims of a similar attack? Or are you more interested in seizing upon the tragic death for propaganda purposes? Do you live in Uganda or know what is going on there?

    Maazi NCO,

    I appreciate your posturing, however, I asked you two very important questions that you have chosed not to answer. Avoiding them adds more speculation. Please answer them and if you can, or want to, here are two more:

    1) If it is determined and reported that David Kato was killed for his homosexuality, will your government and its’ supporters have fullfilled its’ objective?

    2) Do you personally wish David Kato was still alive, homosexual and all, or are you satisified that he, beig a homosexual and all, is dead?

  • Ann

    p.s. chosed should be chosen

  • Ann

    p.s.s – beig – shoud be being

  • Maazi NCO

    You are so full of fear anger.

    .

    I am definitely not full of “fear anger”—whatever that means.

    Noone is threatening you; noone here wants to beat you to death with an iron bar

    That is quite obvious. Isn’t it?

    CALM DOWN, or you could send yourself to an early grave.

    From where I am standing, I think you are the one who needs to CALM DOWN. Give those guys at the UK Foreign Office a break from incessant phone calls.

  • Richard Willmer

    Lol!

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi’

    You can rest assured that there is no need for me to ‘call the FCO incessantly’.

    I meant to say ‘fear AND anger’, of course.

    All three of the ‘Rolling Stone’ plaintiffs have been threatened or harassed; one is now dead (something about which you have expressed no regret, despite the fact that this same person was deemed to have the right to life and dignity by your own High Court) . You are sitting behind your computer trying to score cheap points and split hairs. You know that you cannot justify your deep-seated longings for discriminatory penal legislation against gay people (you always side-step any questions on this point).

  • Richard Willmer

    Oh – and since you recognise the fact that you are in no danger from us, why do still hide behind a silly pseudonym? Pathetic.

  • Richard Willmer

    On last point on this horrible murder: if I were an intelligent person seeking to kill gays, and get away with it, I would make sure that I hired people to do a job that did NOT look like a homophobic attack.

    The BBC was told very quickly by someone or other in UG that it was a ‘gay-on-gay’ attack … so now we know what it almost certainly WASN’T – namely, a ‘gay-on’gay’ attack.

  • David Blakeslee

    Mazzi,

    The motive for the man’s death may have been burgulary. There is sufficient evidence for the police to think this way given the fact that: (a) the victim’s clothes were stolen and (b) money was removed from his house.

    Please pass along supportive articles or documents to put this in the perspective you say it should be put in.

  • David Blakeslee

    Sorry…Maazi

  • Maazi NCO

    Warren & Richard,

    You are entitled to your views, even though you lot are deeply intolerant of opinions that fails to pander to your libertarian, western-centric worldview. The police is investigating the homicide and those who carried out the murder will be brought to justice.

    David Blakeslee,

    If Warren Throckmorton is able to communicate with people inside Uganda so can you. Contact the police there and ask questions. If you want to sit down in an armchair thousands of miles away and conjure your own motives for the murder then that’s your own business. If you decide like Richard Willmer that you can never be persuaded by the [preliminary] evidence, then please carry on like him. But please note that the Ugandan State will continue to maintain its sovereign right to make laws without foreign veto.

  • Richard Willmer

    Daily Monitor EDITORIAL:-

    http://www.monitor.co.ug/OpEd/Editorial/-/689360/1097060/-/91oahk/-/index.html

    @ so-called ‘Maazi’ : The ‘gay-on-gay’ theory seem to have been forgotten now (see new post on this blog) … suggesting that I, and the BBC, were probably correct to doubt it. So there we are. And talking of Ugandan law: Kato was deemed to be ‘on the right side’ of it by the High Court of your country earlier this month. Now he’s been murdered.

  • Maazi NCO

    Daily Monitor has always been pro-gay so their editoral comes as no surprise.

  • Richard Willmer

    And is Ugandan Law pro-gay too, ‘mystery Maazi-boy’?

    Kato won at your High Court, remember? Now he’s dead.

  • anteros

    …”pro-gay”?

    smh

    is “pro-gay” supposed to be the opposite of anti-gay?

    or does “pro-gay” refer to all the people and all the things that fall outside the anti-gay camp?

    does “pro-gay” include those who (might cringe at the thought of engaging in gay sex but) believe in human equality and those who wont sit back and silently watch human rights violations escalating?

    are those the same “pro-gay” “recruiters” and “propagandists” and “gay sex practioners” and “westernized elites” you hope will be gotten rid of by passing the bill?

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi’, darling -

    On the matter of ‘tolerance’: Warren and I are not calling for you to be thrown in jail, whereas you want people who defend the rights of gays to be imprisoned. The words ‘pot’ and ‘kettle’ come to mind.

  • Maazi NCO

    ‘Maazi’, darling –

    On the matter of ‘tolerance’: Warren and I are not calling for you to be thrown in jail, whereas you want people who defend the rights of gays to be imprisoned. The words ‘pot’ and ‘kettle’ come to mind.

    In most European nations, I will be accused of something called “homophobic hate speech”, tried under specially designed “anti-hate speech” laws and be imprisoned. This is fine because Europeans have right to fashion whatever laws they like. In Uganda, we will have a mirror-image of the same law. In our own version, those who denounce gayism will be on the right side of the law and those who promote or advocate on behalf of sex crimes will be handed jail terms.

  • Ann

    Maazi NCO,

    I have never accused you of anything – only asked three questions that have not been answered. This gentle reminder is not meant to be coercive or for you to feel under any obligation to answer.

  • Maazi NCO

    Maazi NCO,

    I have never accused you of anything – only asked three questions that have not been answered. This gentle reminder is not meant to be coercive or for you to feel under any obligation to answer.

    I answered your question. I think Mr. Warren Throckmorton deleted it because he did not like what was written. It is just typical Western hypocrisy on display. I am sorry Ann, but I shall not repeat myself. If you want the answer I gave to your question, then ask Mr. Throckmorton to fetch it.

  • Richard Willmer

    Ann

    ‘Maazi’ (not his real name, by the way) can get a little overexcited sometimes – especially by homosexuality.

  • Maazi NCO

    ‘Maazi’….can get a little overexcited sometimes – especially by homosexuality.

    Maazi NCO is not excited in the slightest. He is not even that interested in gayism or any other form of sexual deviance. But Maazi has a vested interest and is working hard offline to ensure that no foreigner gets the right to veto the sovereign parliament of Uganda. Yes, our nation has problems which it has to deal with, but no foreigner has right to interfere and super-impose an anti-social behaviour rejected overwhelmingly by society and criminalized by the State.

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi’

    Your parliament can seek to do as it wishes; others can respond as they wish.

    What exactly is your ‘vested interest’?

    By the way, this blog is not a part of Uganda, so telling us repeatedly of your desire to persecute your fellow Ugandans is not achieving anything for yourself, your ‘vested interests’ or your country. We know what you think and want, and we strongly disagree with you. End of story.

  • Maazi NCO

    Your parliament can seek to do as it wishes; others can respond as they wish.

    I cannot fault what you have written. I think it is fair. Do what you got do and we will do what we have got to do !

    By the way, this blog is not a part of Uganda

    It is correct that the blog is not part of Uganda, but its owner is evidently obsessed with Uganda.

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi’

    If you don’t like this blog, you are free to leave it.

  • Maazi NCO

    If you don’t like this blog, you are free to leave it.

    If you don’t like to listen to views that vehemently oppose attempts to universalize weird aspects of western culture then by all means do not respond to them !!

  • Richard Willmer

    Well, dear, that would seem to be pointless as far as getting you ‘think again’ is concerned.

    I will respond if I think it helps to prevent others from giving too much credence to your views – which are, IMHO, based on flawed assumptions and poor reasoning.


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