Outcry as Ugandan paper names 'top homosexuals'

Gay Ugandans have faced a fortnight of attacks and intimidation, say human rights campaigners, after a local newspaper published a list of the country's "top 100 homosexuals". As well as naming gay Ugandans – complete with photographs and addresses – Rolling Stone newspaper also claimed that a deadly disease was attacking homosexuals in Uganda, and said that gays were recruiting one million children by raiding schools.

Activists say a number of Ugandans have been attacked since the Rolling Stone newspaper published the front-page story on 9 October under a banner that read, "Hang Them".

"Some people could not even get out of the house, as they've been throwing stones," said Frank Mugisha, the director of LGBT group Sexual Minorities Uganda. "People have received verbal and physical threats."

After the article hit the streets, the government's Media Council ordered the newspaper to stop publishing – not because of the content, but rather as the newspaper had not registered with the administration. After it completes the paperwork, Rolling Stone will be free to publish again.

The newspaper's managing editor, Giles Muhame, maintains that the article was in the public interest. "We felt there was a need for society to know that such characters exist amongst them. Some of them recruit young children into homosexuality, which is bad and needs to be exposed," he said.

"They take advantage of poverty to recruit Ugandans. In brief, we did so because homosexuality is illegal, unacceptable and insults our traditional lifestyle."

The article in Rolling Stone emerged about a year after the Ugandan MP David Bahati introduced a bill that would have imposed the death penalty for some homosexual acts and life imprisonment for others.

Drawn up following a visit to Uganda by leaders of Christian ministries from the US, the legislation was quietly shelved after an international outcry. However, gays in the conservative country – where 85 per cent of the population of 32 million are Christian and 12 per cent Muslim – believe the proposed law has still had an impact on their way of life.

"Before the introduction of the bill in parliament, most people did not mind about our activities. But since then, we are harassed by many people who hate homosexuality," 27-year-old Patrick Ndede told AP. "The publicity the bill got made many people come to know about us and they started mistreating us."

"We are an endangered species within our country," added Nelly Kabal. "We are looked at as if we are outcasts. One time, I was in a nightclub with a friend when someone who knew me pointed at me shouting, 'There is a gay!' People wanted to beat me up but I was saved by a bouncer who led me out."

Although Ugandan Rolling Stone published its first issue only in August, it is already locked in competition with Red Pepper, another garish local tabloid. Rolling Stone's print run is about 2,000 copies, but 10 or more people often read a single newspaper in Uganda.

Homophobia is rife in many African societies, with gay behaviour condemned by both traditional values and missionary-brand Christianity. Many states on the continent have also not changed the punitive legal attitude to homosexuality that they inherited from colonial powers at independence.

In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, homosexuality is punishable by death or imprisonment. South Africa is the only African nation to recognise gay marriage, but even there, gangs carry out so-called "corrective" rapes on lesbians.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Sport
sport
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all