February 2012


Paukwa! Pakawa! Hadithi? Hadithi?

Kuna hadithi najua kuhusu Re/presenting the Wild [is the moon] Woman Archetype

In (not only) my experience, lead performers teach improvisational possibilities, ways to think about improvising on the archetypal structure, but only after the neohphyte has reached a basic level of performative

competence; that is, only after the student understands the basic aural, visual, and gestural components of a given archetypal praise song, rhythm or movement. This notion of a constantly moving target calls  into question what one might call the body of material to be taught. What happens when that body does not remain constant?  The implication is that what is being taught (and learned) is not necessarily a fixed repertoire of songs, patterns, dances, and the like, but rather a way of hearing and performing and conveying the structures that inform these chants, rhythms, and gestures in a meaningful way. What is being taught, ultimately, after the student learns to imitate the teacher’s gestures, is how to perform differently from one’s mwalimu.

sacred space

This idea of imitation leading to (improvisatory) difference is directly connected to the notion of performative intent. One learns the basic rules of performance and engagement with the other performers in order to know how to interpret and bend those appropriately. If one does not have the initial feel for a rhythm, for example, how can one improvise successfully from it?……

Rogelio Martinez Fure, the asesor (artistic advisor) of the Conjunto Folklorico…..A gifted student of both Argeliers Leon and Fernando Ortiz, his artistic vision has guided de Conjunto Folklorico for most of its institutional life, from  through the mid-1960s, en then again throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In a July 1992 interview, Martinez Fure stated that he considered Ortiz to be the single greatest influence on his institutional and intellectual work.

Infact, Martinez Fure’s well-known book Dialogos imaginarios, written in the mid-1970s and published in 1979, is an “imaginary dialogue” with Fernando Ortiz about the ideology and uses of “folklore”. Even in the first chapter of his book, Martinez Fure promotes the idea of stimulating the transformation and development of folklore, by “cleaning up the folk”…[the bigger point is] One cannot escape the massive influence of Fernando Ortiz in Cuba….and this post is a tribute to legends of dis diaspora of righteousness and imaginary conversations with honourable elders like….

It is useful to compare Martinez Fure’s vision and critique of [the uses of] folklore (and Afro-Cuban, or what Alberto calls “black”) with that of the responsible (head) of the CFNC  percussion department, Alberto Villareal,

Katherine Hagedorn asked Alberto about his understanding of the term folklore as it related to the work of the Conjunto Folklorico during a September 1992 interview. Alberto’s vision of folklore, like that of Fernando Ortiz, refers specifically to the religious performance traditions of Cuba`s African-based population:

We [the members of Conjunto Folklorico] are looking for a way for folklore to be a principal source in Cuba, because really, from the point of view of art, the principal source for Cuba is the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional….So every time that Cuba`s folklore is to be represented in other countries, they send us……Ofcourse, folklore has always been a little bit off to the side, which can be understood as the attempt to eliminate it by people who don`t understand how the Conjunto Folklorico was founded. There have been people who have wanted to eliminate the Conjunto, too, because they said we are religious, we are black – but now they know they can`t eliminate the Conjunto. Because no country can eliminate its folklore [emphasis mine]. To represent a country`s folklore is like representing its flag. They have finally realised this. So, for this reason, there has been more of an effort to educate foreigners than Cubans on the part of the Conjunto……

But if, as Mercedes Cros Sandoval (1979) asserts, Santeria is a “mental health care system” for the shock of exile, what does it mean that sacred intent is confused and conflated with criminal intent? Is it simply the

collision of cultural values, or is there something theologically valid about seeing crimes and misdemeanors in diverse pan-Afrikan rituals?

The physicality of sympathetic magic, in which one sheds the blood of a bird instead of the blood of a human, works because the stand-in or metaphor can be disassociated from the primary source only in a limited way before it loses its ritual and symbolic powah: blood is blood and flesh is flesh; wine and bread won`t do.

It is precisely the blood sacrifice that riles up nonpractitioners. In Hialeah, Florida, in Miame-Dade County (home to hundreds of thousands of exiled Cubans), only in 1993, after years of litigation, did the Church of the Lukumi Babalu-Aye (an institution dedicated to the practice of Santeria, led by obba Ernesto Pichardo Pla) finally win its case: the Supreme Court ruled that the animal sacrifice practiced in Santeria was protected under the Constitution`s basic freedoms of religious expression. In Cuba, even until the early 1980s, religious practitioners of Santeria were routinely arrested on their way to initiations….An important subset of the prisoners of colour who were freed and subsequently directed toward the United States in the 1980 Marielito exodus from Cuba were practitioners of Santeria…..

CUBA AND THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE:

Only de relative recent en conscious emphasis on Cuba’s Afrikan origins has allowed its scholars to begin to come to terms with its history of annihilation and exploitation. Walterio Carbonell’s Critica: Como surgio la cultura nacional (1961) marks a turning point in the postrevolutionary Cuban understanding of de history of slavery. Carbonell suggests that de slave revolts, oral culture, en religious traditions of nineteenth-century and twentieth-century Afro-Cubans were de real roots of the Cuban revolution, thus implying that the legitimate successors to de revolution were, in fact, Cuba’s long-oppressed black population. Carbonell’s work was immediately banned and its author imprisoned, so threatening did de young revolutionary government find his suggestions….[na bado]

It is useful to consider Cuba’s role in de Atlantic slave trade to gain a more nuanced understanding of how de prevailing attitudes about Cuba’s black population at the turn of the twentieth century might have been influenced by de events of de nineteenth century. Some of de first enslaved African peoples landed on Cuban shores in 1511, en under Spanish rule, Cuba continued to import slaves until the early 1870s. The indigenous Arawak and Taino peoples were annihilated by Spain’s invasion en colonization of de island during the first two centuries of de slave trade.

Spain then imported African, Asian and Yucatecan labourers to “replace” the indigenous peoples who were to have worked on Cuba’s sugar, tobacco, and coffee plantations….

RE/LOCATING AFRO-CUBAN FOLKLORE

Widely varying interpretations of Cuba’s racial composition have fueled both prerevolutionary and postrevolutionary constructions of twentieth (& 21st) century Cuban identity…..of immediate importance here is that the conditions of nineteenth- and early twentieth century Cuban blacks are evoked and carefully shaped first as a socioeconomic nadir from which to improve, and later as  de basis for de revolution’s preliminary ideas of a national Cuban culture, many of which were manifest in the Teatro Nacional and the Conjunto Folklorico, along the lines of the performative structures set up by Ortiz na wahenga wetu…..

pamoja tunafika from the diaspora of righteousness to de Afreekan shores, sharing mo resources in cracking these codes to freedom, kwasababu The most important thing is to give the people confidence, to help them understand that they can at last define their own happiness, to enable them to decide on their own aims and understand the price to be paid. [Thomas Sankara]

hadithi hii imetoka Divine Utterances: The Performance of Afro Cuban Santeria  by Katherine Hagedorn

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Paukwa! Pakawa! Hadithi njoo……

Kima lived in a great mti (tree) on a riverbank. In de mto (river) there were many mamba.

A Crocodile watched de Kima for a long time en one day she said to her son: “My son, get one of those monkeys for me. I want de heart of a Kima to eat.”

“How am I to catch a Kima?” asked de lil Crocodile. “I do not travel on land, en de Kima does not go into de wota.”

“Put your wits to work, en you’ll find a way,” said the mother.

And de lil Crocodile thought en thought.

At last he said to himself: “I know what I’ll do. I’ll get that Kima that lives in a big tree on de riverbank. He wishes to go across de river to de island where de fruit is so ripe.”

So de Crocodile swam to de mti where de Kima lived. But he was a stupid Crocodile.

picha hii imechorwa na max dashu

“Oh, Kima,” he called, “come with me over to de island where de fruit is so ripe.”

“How can I go with you?” asked de Kima. “I do not swim.”

“No-but I do. I will take you over on mi back,” said de Crocodile.

The Kima was greedy, en wanted de ripe fruit, so he jumped down on de Mamba’s back.

“Off we go!” said de Crocodile.

“This is a fine ride you are giving me!” said de Kima.

“Do you think so? Well, how do you like this?” asked de Crocodile, diving.

“Oh, don’t!” cried de Kima, as he went under de wota. He was afraid to let go, en he did not know what to do under wota.

When de Crocodile came up, de Kima sputtered en choked.

“Why did you take me under wota, Mamba?” he asked.

“I am going to kill you by keeping you under wota,” answered de Crocodile. “My mother wants Kima heart to eat, en I’m going to take yours to her.”

“I wish you had told me you wanted mi heart,” said de Kima, “then I might have brought it with me.”

“How queer!” said de stupid Crocodile. “Do you mean to say that you left your heart back there in de tree?”

“That is what I mean,” said de Kima. “If you want mi heart, we must go back to de tree en get it. But we are so near de island where de ripe fruit is, please take me there first.”

asiyefunzwa na mamaye hufunzwa na ulimwengu

“No, Kima,” said de Crocodile, “I’ll take you straight back to your tree. Never mind de ripe fruit. Get your heart en bring it to me at once. Then we’ll see bout going to de island.”

“Very well,” said de Kima.

But no sooner had he jumped onto de bank of de river than-whisk! Up he ran into de tree.

From de topmost branches he called down to de Crocodile in de wota below:

“Mi moyo is way up here! If you want it, come for it, come for it!”

Dis hadithi, from India, is among the Best Loved Folktales of The World. I heard similar versions of it from mi papa, who had plenty Kima tradishuns to share. For not only those hadithi but all the time he took teaching, protecting, providing for en playing with me en de village in pikneyhood, I yam infinitely grateful.

Hadithi ya The Art of  Participatory Leadership na Nia ya Ni Sisi! Chapters

Ni Sisi! is a nation-wide social movement uniting Kenyans to forge a collective identity to drive transformation in leadership and maisha.

Ni Sisi! Chapters are platforms for ALL youth in a defined geographical area to discuss their issues collectively and seek solutions to the challenges they face.  With support from USAID Kenya – Yes Youth Can! Program – Ni Sisi! Youth Chapters provide youth an opportunity to be the drivers of their own development and empowerment.

Who qualifies to be a member of a Ni Sisi! Youth Chapter?

Ni Sisi!Chapter membership can be in three ways:

a)       Active membership -Youth between the ages of 18-35 years, residing in particular focus area.

gacheke gachihi

b)       Alumni membership –Ni Sisi! Chapters’ alumni and persons who are over 35 years old who desire to keep supporting the activities of Ni Sisi! Chapters. They have no voting rights.

c)       Corporate/Honorary membership –Companies, individuals and other organizations willing to identify and work with particular Ni Sisi! Chapters. They do not have voting rights.

Why Ni Sisi! Chapters?

Inuka Kenya Trust’s Peace through Prosperity (PTP) Program aims to work with Nairobi youth to create a culture of peace and prosperity. The basic platform for engagement with youth is through the Ni Sisi! Youth Chapters. As a platform, the Ni Sisi! values will be imbued among Chapter members and at the same time ensure a ‘youth-owned, youth-led and youth managed’ approach.

In contrast to working with individual youth, Ni Sisi! seeks to work with a wider platform and representation of youth in a particular location (neighborhood/village  level). The Ni Sisi! Chapters will bring together youth from different backgrounds; diverse ethnicity, across socio-economic divides, non-disabled and youth with disabilities, gender, religious affiliations, together into an umbrella network.

Advantages of being a member of a Ni Sisi! Chapter

  •  Increased voice: Numerical strength, hence ability to air issues facing you in a stronger voice that calls for action towards solutions. Some problems and challenges are complex for one person or an individual youth group to solve, but which can easily be solved when these youth groups and individuals come together under a Ni Sisi! Chapter.
  • Engagement and Participation: Ni Sisi! Chapters provide you with platforms for engagement with local administrative, religious, and political leaders as well as local organizations among key players. Through these relationships, youth will be able to meaningfully participate in local processes, decision-making structures and ensure increased access to local resources (incl. Leadership opportunities)

  • Social Development:  Ni Sisi! Chapters provide you a chance to demonstrate capabilities through social/community development initiatives initiated, implemented, managed, and maintained by your peers. Furthermore, Ni Sisi! Chapters will create opportunities for exposure, leadership development, life-skills development, networking opportunities and broaden one’s horizons.
  • Improved Livelihoods: Through Ni Sisi! Chapters, linkages will be made for increased opportunities for access to finances under the YYC! Tahidi Fund.

Steps in setting up a Ni Sisi! Chapter!

 Ni Sisi! Chapters are based on geographical location and aim to bring youth from a demarcated neighborhood together. The size of the Chapter is dependent on youth population in an area but should aim to include all youth (18-35). The following are easy steps to follow to establish a Chapter;

  1. Mobilize youth and host an initial meeting to explain and discuss the Ni Sisi!Chapter concept and how to establish one with youth from an agreed geographical location (a village)

    APSP conference - 2009

  2. At this meeting, elect representative interim officials for the Ni Sisi! Chapter – they will assist in the initial set-up and running of the Chapter.
  3. Develop and/or adopt a Ni Sisi! Chapter Constitution, by-laws and elected interim officials by seeking members’ approval (simple count of hands could be adequate)
  4. Register the Ni Sisi! Chapter (A Constitution and registration gives the Ni Sisi! Chapters’ legal standing, guaranteeing Ni Sisi! and its partners that they are working with a stable structure they can trust with their resources).
  5. Once a Chapter is registered, members can hold an election in line with their Constitution, to elect officials to run the Chapter.
  6. Open a bank account
  7. Conduct outreach events to increase the membership and representation within the Ni Sisi! Chapter

Once the Chapter has been established, members should develop an action plan based on activities decided by Chapter members, in line with the needs of their area that they have identified.

Inuka Kenya Trust programme staff and community mobilisers will provide technical assistance in the formation and functioning of the Ni Sisi! Chapters.

 

For further information contact:

Inuka Kenya Trust

1st Floor, Concert House

Wood Garden Rd, off Wood Avenue, Kilimani

T: 254 (0) 20 250 2469

M: +254 717 786688 / +254 732 786686

www.nisisikenya.com | info@inukakenya.com | www.facebook.com/nisisikenya | www.twitter.com/nisisikenya

Our Values: Heshima | Diversity | Self-Belief

 [reposted from Bunge La Mwananchi: Pamoja Tunafika!, na upendo, from East Afrika to de diaspora of righteousness na de spaces between]

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hapo zamani za kale, there was once a woman who had no husband, en she lived for many days in “trouble”. One day she said to herself, “Why do I always feel so troubled? It is because I have neither children nor husband. I shall go to de medicine man en get some pikin.”

She went to de medicine-man en told him she was unhappy owing to de fact that although she had now grown old, she had neither husband nor children. The medicine asked her which she wanted, husband or pikin, en she told him she wanted pikin.

She was instructed to take some cooking pots- three, or as many as she could carry-and to search for a fruit bearing sycamore, to fill de pots with fruit, to put them in her hut, and to go for a walk.

The womban followed these instructions carefully. She gathered the fruit, filled de pots, placed them in her hut, en went for a walk until de evening.

On arriving near de kraal, she heard de sound of voices en asked herself, “Why does one hear de voices of pikin in de kraal?” She went nearer, en found her hut filled with pikin, all her work finished, de boys herding de cattle, de huts swept clean by de girls, de warriors singing en dancing on de common, en de lil pikin waiting to greet her. She thus became a rich woman en lived happily with her pikin for many days.

One day, however, she scolded de pikin, en reproached them for being children of de tree.

They remained silent en did not speak to her, then, while she went to visit her friends in other kraals, de pikin returned to de sycamore tree, en became fruit again. On her return to her own kraal, de womban wept bitterly when she found it empty, en paid another visit to de medicine man, whom she taxed with having spirited away her pikin.

De medicine man told her that he did not know what she should do now, en when she proposed to go and look at de sycamore tree, he recommended her to try.

She took her cooking pots to de tree and climbed up into it. But when she reached de fruit they all put forth eyes en stared at her. This so startled her that she was unable to descend, en her friends had to come en help her down.

She did not go to the tree again to search for her children.

This hadithi I heard not many times before, en read again in Best-Loved  Folktales of the Dunia,  from de Maasai of [what is nowadays called] Kenya. You can do anyting you want with these stories, share them with other pikney, laugh, cry, forget about it or fafanua…..

There’s a story I know, it’s about how….de town of Curaren is one of de most ancient in Honduras. It was  who knows how many years old when de Spanish arrived from de sea. And that was – let me think – over four centuries ago. Today Curaren still stands, de home of a famous church. De hadithi of dis church bears telling.

Some years after the Conquest, the Curarenes were ordered by the Spanish governor to build a church in their kijiji. The townsfolk were quite concerned at the thought of a fine church. At de thought of constructing it-piling stone upon stone upon stone upon-they quite contentedly fell asleep.

Time after time they put off the construction. At last, in a fit of rage, the governor decreed that if the church were not completed within a week, inside and out, upside and down, the town would be destroyed-totally destroyed.

It was a distressful business. “An impossible task,” groaned de mayor. De members of de town council beat their heads against de ground. Without doubt it was farewell to Curaren-Curaren de anshient, de beautiful, Curaren their home. A pity!

There loomed one hope. Their Indian neighbours to de north informed de town that the Enemigo Malo,the Devil, had himself fashioned the Bridge of Slaves in Guatemala. Surely de Curarenes could reach an agreement with him to build their church?

De townsmen shuddered. But- a decree is a decree. The church – or destruction.

It was done. The Devil wrote the contract, and the mayor signed it with the blood of his veins. Both parties were committed. On the one hand, the Devil was to construct de church, even to applying a coat of plaster  both inside and out. On de other hand, as his tribute, he would be presented annually with a certain number of unbaptized babies.

During the night of construction the Curarenes were under strict orders to stay inside their homes; only de mayor and town council would remain on watch to make sure the work was well done. The walls would be of stone masonry en the stone would be unadorned. No carving. No embellishment. Even the Devil had his limits. Ofcourse the church must be completed before the most diligent cock could crow his morning song, “Christ is born”; otherwise the work was forfeit.

One councillor rubbed his hands together. “No one can build a church in one night,” he whispered. “Even de Enemigo Malo. We are quite safe.”

But de mayor was troubled. “He’s a shrewd one. You don’t often hear of him losing a bet. And if he wins….” The mayor shivered. “I’m afraid he’ll manage. And then what?”

The councillors were silent. The “then what?” was too horrible to consider.

On de agreed-on night the work began at dusk. Enormous stones were heard to roll down from de hills. The demon workers hammered and cracked and chipped and smashed, making an infernal racket. Pikin cried. Dogs howled. Womben wept. De uproar within nearly equalled the uproar without. The hours passed, as de stone was sandwiched on stone, with lime smeared in between.

The Devil stood by, grimly counting the minutes. The walls rose – but not too quickly. Impatiently the Enemy ordered that to save time larger stones could be used to complete the walls. On went the roof and belfry. Up swung the bell. Splash went the plaster as it was mixed.

The race was as good as lost. The number of industrious demons guaranteed that. Already the interior of the church was plastered. Only the outside walls remained.

Where was morning? Was it lost among de shadowy hills of night? The councillors trembled from skull to tarsus, thinking of the terrible promise they made. Better that the Spanish had razed the village.

But just when the workers began slapping the plaster on the outside stones, there sounded the loveliest and most welcome of songs, the “Quiquiriqui, Christ is born!” A moment later it was followed by a thunderous clap as the enraged Devil fled to the Inferno with his legions.

The Curarenes sighed with tremendous relief. Then they looked about “Why is it so dark?” whispered one.

Perplexed, the mayor answered, “I don’t understand it. Not one silver thread of dawn do I see. De east is as black as the west, and both are black as – well, as night.”

“So they are, so they are,” croaked a voice from nearby. “I always wanted the chance to outsmart that old rascal.”

Holding a candle, Tia Luisa hobbled into view. Between cackles of laughter she told of her trick.

In her hut, which stood close to de church, she had remained awake throughout the night.

In one hand she held a candle and in the other a cock. When, well before dawn, the swishing sound of paintbrushes reached her ears, Tia Luisa had lit the candle. Then, naturally, the rooster had crowed.

The gruff old governor, visiting Curaren, approved the church. (He was not informed of either the bargain or the builders.) His only objections were that the largest stones were set at the top of the wall rather than at the bottom, and the church was well painted inside but not out.

The mayor explained that they had tried to plaster the walls, but the plaster refused to adhere and peeled away. As for de large stones, de governor could understand – the labourers had been in a hurry, a fiendish hurry (de mayor winked slowly), so that some of de stones were set ovyo-ovyo, here instead of there. But so what, de church had resulted altogether well, no?

“Oh, altogether,” replied de governor. Surely de labourers had toiled night and day? The work had gone particularly quickly at night, de mayor admitted.

And that is de hadithi of de church of Curaren. Except that not long ago a bolt of lightning struck de church, singeing the image of St.Luke

“Ah,” exclaimed an old lady, chuckling, “Satan has never pardoned us for winning that bet.”

[hadithi kutoka Honduras: reposted from Best Loved Folktales of the World, as selected by Joanna Cole]

Press Statement: Reposted from Bredrin and Sistas in Solidarity

Uganda: Parliament Should Reject Anti-Homosexuality Bill

16th February 2012

On Tuesday 7th February 2012, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2009) was reintroduced to the Parliament of Uganda. If passed, this draft legislation would violate the human rights of all Ugandans, and should immediately be dropped, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP), Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), The Human Rights Centre Uganda (HRCU), and Human Rights Network-Uganda (HURINET) said today.

Hon. David Bahati’s widely condemned private member’s bill is one of ten bills saved and reintroduced from the previous Parliament. The bill had its first reading on 7th February 2012 and was referred to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for scrutiny. It is understood that the bill was re-tabled in its original form but that amendments recommended by the Committee last year will be incorporated.

Although Hon. Bahati is reported in the media to have said that the death penalty for ‘serial’ acts of homosexuality will be dropped, this is not yet confirmed.

EHAHRDP, FHRI, HRCU and HURINET express their concern at the lack of clarity surrounding the parliamentary process and contents of the bill, and call on Parliament to clarify on this matter.

EHAHRDP, FHRI, HRCU and HURINET recall the submission by the Uganda Human Rights Commission in its 2010 annual report that “some of the provisions in the bill are unnecessary, and that most of them violate international human rights standards.” The rejection of certain international standards envisaged in the 2009 bill sets a dangerous precedent regarding Uganda’s respect for the human rights commitments it has made.

The bill contains harsh provisions which would seriously restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly and would threaten the ability of some human rights organisations to continue operating. Already, on 14th February the Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity,

Hon. Rev. Fr. Lokodo Simon, ordered the unconstitutional shutdown of a capacity-building workshop organized by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights defenders in Entebbe. The bill and such actions by government representatives reinforce the more general threats to civil society space in Uganda, such as the onerous regulation of public meetings and discussions sought to be introduced with the Public Order Management Bill.

As well as threatening the safety of LGBTI people generally, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill also jeopardizes the security of human rights defenders working on these issues. The re-tabling of the bill just days after the first anniversary of the murder of LGBTI activist and EHAHRDP founding member, David Kato, is a stark reminder of the insecurity this bill has already caused in Uganda.

More generally, the bill would have a wide-reaching and disturbing effect on the freedoms of the majority of Ugandans. If health professionals, spiritual leaders, teachers, business people, landlords, and many others in positions built upon trust and confidentiality fail to disclose to the authorities persons they suspect of being homosexual, under the provisions of this bill would also be targeted for prosecution themselves.

EHAHRDP, FHRI, HRCU and HURINET welcome the statement issued by the Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity on Wednesday 8th February that the bill “does not enjoy the support of the Prime Minister or the Cabinet.” We call on the authorities to ensure the physical safety of LGBTI community members and human rights activists and fulfill the commitment made by Uganda during the Universal Periodic Review in October 2011 to “take immediate concrete steps to stop discrimination and assaults against LGBT persons.”

EHAHRDP, FHRI, HRCU and HURINET call on the Members of Parliament, and all Ugandans, to reject this discriminatory and divisive bill and refuse to be distracted from the real pressing issues facing the country at this time, such as the debate over the exploitation of Uganda’s oil resources.

For more information, please contact:

Hassan Shire, Executive Director, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, on

executive@defenddefenders.org or

+256 772 753 753

Livingstone Sewanyana, Executive Director, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, on

fhri@dmail.ug or

+256 414 510 263/498

Margaret Sekaggya, Executive Director, The Human Rights Centre Uganda, on

hrcug@hrcug.org or

+256 414 266 186

Mohammed Ndifuna, Chief Executive Officer, Human Rights Network-Uganda, on

executive@hurinet.or.ug or

Check dis story of transformative justice: re/blogged from Behind The Mask

Uganda’s Justice Minister Kahinda Otafiire has said he has no problem with two consenting adults “being in a same sex relationship.

Otafiire, whose docket also includes Constitutional Affairs, said enforcing the infamous Anti Homosexuality Bill, which seeks the death penalty for gays, would be difficult.

The minister said he wondered how police would adduce evidence to get a conviction.

Otafiire told a meeting of Human Rights Defenders in Kampala on Thursday February 16 that while he “does not like gays, and gays do not like me, we can co-exist.”

The government owned New Vision newspaper reported that the minister said gays can coexist [with heterosexuals] but discouraged “marketing” and “seducing children into their ranks.”

It is not clear if Otafiire was giving his personal opinion on the bill, or whether he was speaking in his capacity as Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister. His comments come a few days after Simon

Lokodo, the Ethics and Integrity Minister forcefully closed a meeting of gay activists in Entebbe.

Uganda’s Cabinet Ministers continue making conflicting statements on the bill.

Information and National Guidance minister, Mary Karooro Okurut, the official government spokesperson told Behind the Mask recently that the “kill the gays bill” would not be re-tabled in Parliament, but two days later, the bill’s architect, David Bahati re-tabled his controversial lapsed bill for consideration in parliament.

Gay activists in Uganda, [na bredrin and sistren throughout Afrika en de diaspora] are closely following the developments.

[pamoja tunafika! deeply grateful for all the hard work, sacrifices & commitment to love of frontline activists/walimu/warriors/en kuchus on the ground…]

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