The Martin Ssempa gang convicted of defaming pastor’s reputation

Another chapter in Uganda’s pastor wars came to a close with the conviction of Martin Ssempa and five others who accused Rev. Robert Kanyanja of sex with some male members of his congregation.

See the Daily Monitor for more.

Ssempa has been one of the loudest and most persistent supporters for Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill now in a legislative committee.

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  • Reading the comments under that article in the Monitor is quite depressing. I suspect that Ssempa and the others could confess outright and a good many Ugandans would still claim they were being falsely convicted. They seem to have taken the wost of Western religious practice and bathed themselves in it, and now have no idea which end is up. And to this was added the spark from Exodus, Lively, Engles, et al. It’s a wonder the anti-gay furvor isn’t even worse.

  • Martin Ssempa

    Mr Throckmorton I know you hate me but at least have the decency to tell the truth. I never accused Bishop Kayanja rather his victims did. I never took him to court, rather he and the state took me to court. The young victims who went to police to ask for police assistance of sexual molestation were abducted and tortured by Military police until they changed their statements to suit a fabrication of jealousy. This case of 3 years of prosecution was closed without giving us a chance to defend ourselves! In light of such glaring injustice, I wonder how you could call this a win for anybody! The only people who should be happy are those who love injustice and clergy child molestation!

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Martin Ssempa

    We all know that there are very serious issues in the Church around the protection of children from irresponsible people in positions of authority. For example, I am aware of a situation in UG, where a young person was abused by a ‘pastor’, although said ‘pastor’ has, I am told, since left the country and returned to his native [East Asian] land. Despite my suggestions to the contrary, the family of the young person chose not to pursue the matter with the law enforcement authorities, because of the ‘taboo’ nature of the situation. (That tells you something, doesn’t it?! How much better things can be when we let go of half-baked prejudices, and stop confusing consensual relationships with ‘sex’ [really ‘power’] crimes!)

    We also know that there is a great amount of rivalry between certain pastors in Uganda, and I think that this the matter that Warren is really dealing with here. This particular situation appears to be a highly complex one: allegations; withdrawal of allegations; suggestions that people were paid to say, or not say, something; stories changing.

    There are no winners in this situation: Kayanja has (maybe unjustly) suffered damage to his reputation; you (maybe unjustly) face possible jail time; young, maybe vulnerable, people have (certainly) become involved in a highly contentious and disturbing scenario (whatever the precise nature of that scenario might in truth be).

    Perhaps the ‘background’ to all this (1) is the hysterical attitude (promoted partly by the likes of you) on certain matters of human sexuality, and (2) the highly exaggerated roles played by money and power politics in the Church. Both of these issues need to be addressed honestly and urgently if the Church in Uganda is to function in a healthy manner.

  • Richard Willmer

    By the way, I very much doubt that Warren hates you, Martin. He does, I suspect, believe that your treatment of the issue of ‘homosexuality’ is dangerous and damaging … and, if I’m right about that, I would agree with him.

    My own particular concern centres on the profound dangers of confusing consensual relations with sexual abuse (which is generally about the abuse power); thus I am of the opinion that, because homophobia seriously ‘muddies the waters’ when it comes to the matter of sexual abuse, it could be seen as indirectly promoting such abuse.

    Here in the UK, there is a proper distinction, both (generally) in people’s mind’s and (absolutely) in law, between consensual relations and abuse. This helps properly to identify and combat abuse.

  • Maazi NCO

    First of all, let me just say that it is good to learn that Warren is okay and back to work. Without really involving myself in the so-called “Pastor Wars”, let me just state categorically that any celebration of the court verdict by the Euro-American Gay Propagandist Lobby is a waste of time. The revised anti-gay bill is a property of the sovereign parliament of Uganda and shall become law eventually. We have 4-5 years more to make it happen

  • Thanks again for all the good wishes my way, I am getting stronger daily.

    Martin: I don’t hate you. Strange that you would say that. I have worked to make the Anti-Homosexuality Bill clear about what it means and I have worked to parse your defense of it, but that doesn’t mean I hate you.

    On the truth, I simply reported what the UG press is saying. I don’t know what the truth is. I have heard some evidence that makes me think you all did recruit people to accuse Kanyanja but it is not first hand so I can’t evaluate it. That is all between you, your conscience and your God.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ ‘Maazi NCO’ (MP)

    The court verdict has nothing to do with Bahati’s bill. The issue before the court concerned whether Kayanja had effectively been libelled or not. The court decided that he had been, and that the accused were, at least in part, responsible for this.

    The fact that Ssempa supports key aspects of the Bahati Bill is irrelevant with regard to this case, although what happened does perhaps indicate how the Bill might be used to destroy people if it were ever to become law.

  • Richard Willmer

    (Incidentally, on the subject of the Bahati Bill: one should remember that, as of now, it has NOT been revised – at least according to modus operandi of the ‘sovereign parliament’ of which ‘Maazi NCO’ is perhaps a member. A ‘revision’ was proposed back in May 2011, but never formally adopted; that ‘revision’, one should recall, was one that involved a change of wording, but no real change of substance – entirely tokenistic and, one suspects, designed to deceive donor governments. The problem for those who drafted the revisions is that the death penalty is not the key issue, merely a particularly bloodthirsty symptom thereof.)

  • JMC


    this time round, you did not do your research well. All indications in this case show that the pastors were innocently charged. Both the New Vision and Monitor newspapers consistently showed glaring issues in this case. At one time all the accusers were thrown in police cells and tortured before they were paraded to retract their statements. Many times a number of these young men escaped custody but were hunted back by the police. There were lots of irregularities in this case. So we in Uganda are not happy at what happened. The courts of law did not handle the case well.

    On hearing that the pastors were given a light sentence, Kayanja began preparing a civil suit against them saying he wasn’t content with the ruling.

    Thankfully the pastors are enjoying their work. I think it would be good for you to give a balanced view of this whole case.

    • JMC – Again, I am only reporting what the press there is reporting. I don’t know the situation well enough to render a strong opinion.

      What I do know is that Martin Ssempa told the world for months that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was aimed only at pedophiles. Everyone knew that was false at the time he said it, but he kept on saying it. His credibility during his defense of the AHB took such a serious wound that I doubt it could ever be repaired outside of Uganda. When one addresses a world audience and says something that is provably false, one cannot expect the benefit of the doubt on other matters.

  • Richard Willmer

    Well, I for one do NOT ‘enjoy’ what I regard as Ssempa’s hideous parodying of Christianity. Maybe he is not in fact guilty of defaming Kayanja (like Warren, I am not conversant enough with all the details to know the whole truth), but other aspects of his behaviour are utterly disgraceful, such as his foul ‘poo poo’ diatribe and his manifestly deceitful claims about Bahati’s murderous designs.

  • JMC


    you courageously championed the attempted “nose-dive” of Ssempa’s credibility. It’s very interesting that now the Speaker of Parliament is speeding up the debate on this bill. Let’s wait and see.

    Secondly Ssempa almost had no part in the case. The witnesses actually failed to pin him individually but of the said ‘conspiracy” he had to face it too. I wish in your reporting you added how dissatisfied the president was with the way Police handled the case. You chose to magnify the negative in order to achieve your intended goal of having Ssempa’s credibility knocked down. It is the very reason you went for his friends and relatives in the States. Thankfully (am yet to prove) many of them have continued to stand with him and those who had almost gone have come back.

    • JMC – I think Ssempa can handle self-destructing just fine. His porn shows in Uganda and desire to kill gays ultimately did him in.

      Regarding his US support, I am skeptical. I would need to see some proof of that.

  • Richard Willmer

    I think one would expect Ssempa’s family and friends to ‘stand by him’ however much of mess he made of things.

    As for the Bill: Miss Kadaga has, from what I can see, always been keen on the ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill and is using the Canadian trip as an ‘excuse’ to bring it back into the limelight (for the fourth time? or is it the fifth?). It might also be that she wants to ‘raise her profile’ with 2016 in mind; if so, it’s a potentially risky strategy, especially if ‘the West’ maintains it ‘tough line’ over the maltreatment of gays.