Ugandan LGBT Activists Sue U.S. Evangelical  “Hate Preacher” in Federal Court

Lawsuit Charges Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively with Persecution

[Lively Also Connected to New Anti-Gay Bill Passed in Russia]

March 14, 2012, Springfield, MA and New York –Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a federal lawsuit againstAbiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a non-profit umbrella organization for LGBT advocacy groups in Uganda. The suit alleges that Lively’s involvement in anti-gay efforts in Uganda, including his active participation in the formulation of anti-gay legislation and policies aimed at revoking fundamental right from LGBT persons constitutes persecution. This is the first known Alien Tort Statute (ATS) case seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Uganda’s parliament has a pending bill, commonly known as the “Kill the Gays Bill,” that provides the death penalty for “homosexuality,” prison for failing to turn in someone suspected of being “homosexual,” and criminalizes advocacy around LGBT rights.

“Lively has been the man with the plan in this enterprise,” said Pam Spees, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.  “He long ago set out a very specific and detailed methodology for stripping away the most basic  human rights protections, to silence and ultimately disappear LGBT people. Unfortunately, he found willing accomplices and fertile ground in Uganda.”

Said Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, “U.S evangelical leaders like Scott Lively have actively and intensively worked to eradicate any trace of LGBT advocacy and identity. Particularly damaging has been his claim that children are at risk because of our existence. His influence has been incredibly harmful and destructive for LGBT Ugandans fighting for their rights.  We have to stop people like Scott Lively from helping to codify and give legal cover to hatred.”

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill, first introduced to the Ugandan Parliament in 2009 and reintroduced in February 2012, enumerates degrees of ‘homosexuality’ and punishments ranging from imprisonment to the death penalty. The complaint filed today includes evidence of Lively’s participation in laying the groundwork for broad-based attacks on the LGBT community including portions of the bill intended to criminalize advocacy around LGBT rights as well as deprive gay activists of the right of freedom of assembly, the right of association and the right to be free from discrimination.

The bill’s sponsor, David Bahati, is a Ugandan politician and member of The Family, a powerful and secretive U.S.-based evangelical and political organization known in the U.S. for organizing an annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

Scott Lively has been working with anti-gay forces in Uganda since 2002. In March 2009, Lively, along with two other U.S. Evangelical leaders, headlined a three-day conference intended to expose the “gay movement” as an “evil institution” and a danger to children. Lively likened the effects of his advocacy to a “nuclear bomb” in Uganda and stated that he hopes it is replicated elsewhere. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill emerged one month later with provisions that reflected Lively’s input. As in Uganda, Lively aims to criminalize LGBT advocacy elsewhere and has worked with religious and political leaders in Russia, Moldova and Latvia to that end. He states he has spoken on the topic of homosexuality in almost 40 countries and advises that “the easiest way to discourage ‘gay pride’ parades and other homosexual advocacy is to make such activity illegal.” An anti-gay bill that prevents speech and advocacy around LGBT rights was passed and signed into law last week in St. Petersburg, Russia…

Sexual Minorities Uganda  v. Lively was filed under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which allows for foreign victims of human rights abuses to seek civil remedies in U.S. courts.

The lawsuit was filed in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Lively currently lives and continues his work. Upon the filing, a coalition of rights groups from Springfield marched from the federal courthouse to Lively’s coffee house, Holy Grounds, where they protested his anti-gay advocacy locally and around the world.

For more information visit CCR’s case page http://ccrjustice.org/LGBTUganda/

To read the complaint, visit  http://ccrjustice.org/LGBTUganda/complaint.pdf 

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) is a non-profit non-governmental organization that works toward achieving full legal and social equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Uganda.  It serves as an umbrella organization for many other sexual minority advocacy organizations in Uganda.  The mission of SMUG is to lead advocates in the fight for the recognition of same sex relationships and the removal of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org and follow @theCCR .

banange! infinitely grateful for the hard work of upendo & coalition building invested by front line activists in Uganda na mashariki, [hadi magharibi, kusini na kaskazini ya bara,tukishirikiana na] comrades and allies, in de diaspora.

karibuni…..de commonwealth of nations tip?

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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…]

2 East Afrikan ‘back then’ & ‘now’ love hadithi

[This post is inspired by de Coalition of African Lesbians, Spectra speaks, Kampala, gauteng & tdot renaissance womyn, en mi ‘wives’. I’m deeply grateful to you dadas for speaking truth to powah! with y/our diasporic & native journeys, we are all Afrikans in such diverse ways. In dis spirit of ubuntu, like other idealist warrior womben, I reserve the right to display pride and passion about my cultural roots……]

Nothing helps the Bukusu to recognize the rhythm of words, the silence, and the aroma of the night, and elements like rocks, water and its weight of pebbles more than the oral literature that is composed every day around him, hir or her…..

I still remember 3 years ago, was living with a dada en daughta I love, respekt en admire so, working for Minority Women in Action [& de

Kenya Chapter of Moyo Wa Africa] from the hirstorical Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya [GALCK] centre wid mi ‘co-wife’, Pouline Kimani en an ever growing collective of volunteers for a hub of CBO’s & NGO’s focused on sexual minority & gender rights in mi home town no.1 (or 2 depending on where you look at it from)…….

Mi intention was to root mi community organising in the spaces between de catalyst of a regional QLGBT movement & healing work, while finishing school on de continent. Many tings changed, much that was expected, like state criminalization, backlash & security interventions, homo&transphobic assaults, rapes & murders & hate propaganda in ‘dominant’ religions again, campaigning against ‘witchhunts’, all in a day job with boundaries of service provider, consumer, comrade & funder blurred…but this story is not bout that, check #To David With Love: Call To Action…..

I hold de hope, inspirashun & positive transformations witnessing en working with mo Bredrin and sistas in solidarity close to mi moyo, across oceans and rivers in transformative social justice movements….memories of intimate food days & nights of music wid family….

The dominating physical presence in Bukusu oral literature include the Red Sea, the Sahara Desert, Lake Turkana, Mwiala wa Mango or Tororo Hills, Mount Elgon, Cherengany and Sang’alo hils, and Sirikwa, Lake Victoria and Nzoia River and its tributaries. The sacred palms which the Bukusu carried on their way from Misri, their colobus monkey skins, their ear rings, necklaces and skirts that they wore around their waists etc., speak volumes about their material culture items. The pastoral quality of their literature, their gentle love for the fields and the land they tilled for their food, with all its groves and hills, characterized the terrain that informs that literature.

Will this deep embracing love of the land and all that covers it, continue to be a distinctive feature of the Bukusu cultural expression in days to come?

still remember 2 years ago, holding on to curriculums for pan-afrikan arts & civic educashun & wellness programs. Holding to proposals and dreams of returning home, split between what had evolved into the most complex polygamous engagements I had experienced yet. Mi primary relationship with Kenya & Uganda for all its lifetime, is still long-distance, had grown to include other country codes, West Afrika & de Carribean are so much mo accessible from Kobe Island and Tdot was evolving into a sweeter kinda lova. Plans changed agin, I stayed, have stayed, growing deeper in love with Tdot, yet inevitably counting down, because if home is where the heart is, then it’s only a matter of how many years? before we back again, or, what is the betta way to get there?…….

Who are the Bukusu anyway? Why is the elephant such an important animal in their folklore? They joke and say: “The hyena follows the testicles of the elephant!

“The elephants sing songs and say they were once human beings” Khwaba abandu hilili.”

Babukusu respect their proverbs which oftentimes are pregnant with meaning. They respect the artist, the “the saint ” who uses his/her words effectively to teach and entertain. They recreate the past.

How can we use their vision to create the future?

still remember 1 year ago, observing weeks of reflection & cleansing. Deep in grieving rituals with comrades, spiritual & extended fam around de dunia for David Kato. observing moments of silence en secrecy…remembering we were never meant to survive en still speaking….

ultimately t/here, in the crux of cataclysms & houses being dismantled, wid revolushunary vijiji growing & independent consultancies being laboured on, was fundamentally brought agin to finding mi soul with the potent reminders of all the honourable walimu & warriors not only I’m blessed to be surrounded with, the wealth not only I’m privileged to be immersed in, en the core of malaikas who came into mi life over de years that have my cup overflowing with love & nourishment.

For this and so many mo positive transformashuns, I’m infinitely grateful, as we walk with the legacies of warriors on de infinite possibilities in speaking truth to powah! en spreading love, hope & positivity in abundance……

[<object width=”400″ height=”225″><param name=”allowfullscreen” value=”true” /><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always” /><param name=”movie” value=”http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=33166619&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0&#8243; /><embed src=”http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=33166619&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0&#8243; type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowfullscreen=”true” allowscriptaccess=”always” width=”400″ height=”225″></embed></object><p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/33166619″>Call Me Kuchu Trailer</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user3684126″>Greg OToole</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>]

The Bukusu of East Africa are said to have travelled from Egypt and settled in what used to be called North Nyanza and Trans Nzoia Districts. They call themselves LIRANGO LIE NJOFU because of the battles they have weathered against Bamia, Barwa Bakinisu, and Babangereza’. These battles spread their settlement in Eyembe and Masindi Port and culminated in their last stand against the Imperial British Company in 1895.

They enjoy a virile cultural and political history which needs to be urgently recorded and stored in print and electronic vessels…

In the spirit of honouring our roots & de diversity in our unity, you cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen &women of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those mad folks. We must dare to invent the future.

[Thomas Sankara]

….I still remember the trees alongside River Sosio, the woodland around Mount Elgon caves,the forest that my father and I invaded ever so often to get the suitable sticks for weaving granaries when the harvest season was around the corner, How many sounds have I been separated from since….I moved home for the first time to come and study in Nairobi?

[excerpts in bold from Prof Chris L Wanjala, Director, Nakhatama Research and Literary Agency.]

for mo on de Grand Bukusu Oral Literature Public Discussion, check

http://ar-ar.facebook.com/WesternKenyaFiesta2012/posts/312025355515159 ]

give thanks for today, yesterday & tomorrow, for intimate/sacred spaces. For those among us who carry the sage secrets of loving that challenge & inspire me with their words & actions, en remind we to go back ever so often for what I/we forget that is necessary…. A certain amount of madness, en the roots of our tribes in conversation with each other.

[ To the ‘Godfather’ of the KuchuLGBT movement in Uganda with infinite gratitude, kama sharing ni caring, then wot wealth we got to harvest in reclaiming indigenous ideas about mapacha?]

Background

The Njovu Clan is one of the 56 recognised clans of Buganda. Therefore, its traditions, customs and norms are not different from those of other clans. They are part and parcel of the culture and heritage of the Baganda people. The Clan has no culture peculiar to itself.

It must be pointed out that these traditions and customs exist in a traditional religious environment. They have been handed down from generation to generation for centuries, and they have become part and parcel of people’s lives. For this reason, the Baganda have been described as being notoriously religious…..

The birth of twins

The birth of twins in the family is regarded as a great blessing to that jamii. It is a wish that almost every woman entertains. It is an honour for a woman in Buganda to be called Nnalongo (mother of twins).
The additional child was not looked at as burden or challenge in the past. This is because the Baganda had a settled life and did not have to roam around with their families in harsh conditions. This situation still obtains today.
However, the birth of twins was and is still seen as an event out of the ordinary. Therefore, twins were and are still treated with fear and special care and respect. Children of such births were and are still believed to have special powers. There is still a belief that twins bring blessings to the family and community, but can be nasty and dangerous if not treated well.
Many beliefs, taboos, rituals and ceremonies are associated with twins. People fear them; and this fear is associated with the unusualness of their birth.

After birth 
On the birth of twins, special names are immediately given to the twins, their parents, and the children in the traditional family who come either before or after the twins. The twins are named: Wasswa or Babirye or Kato or Nakato, depending on their sex. The father is named Ssalongo, and the mother Nnalongo. The child who precedes the twins is named Kigongo. Children born in the extended family after the birth of twins are also given special names, as it will be seen later.

These special names become permanent identities for everyone concerned, but they are not clan names. The names given to the parents accord them special honour and respect and enhance their status in society.

Ssalongo (the father of the twins) has an obligation to deliver the news of the birth of twins in person to his parents and to the parents of his wife. Two things happen here:
1) Ssalongo is given a surrogate Ssalongo (Ssalongo omukulu=the ritual Ssalongo) from his family; and from the family of Nnalongo he gets a surrogate Nnalongo (Nnalongo omukulu=the ritual Nnalongo); and
2) all contact, between Ssalongo and his parents and between Nnalongo and her parents, is cut off until after the ceremony that is held for celebrating the birth of the twins. This ceremony is the equivalent to the naming ceremony for ordinary children, though the rituals involved are somehow different.

The surrogates play critical roles in the rituals associated with the twins. These two persons are minors. The significance of this is that the rituals in which they are going to participate are sacred; these persons need therefore to be people who are holy or at least people who have not yet engaged in sexual activity. Apart from acting as surrogates, and still innocent, they should be the natural people to care for the twins who are considered to be holy.

A variety of intricate and complex taboos, rituals, and ceremonies accompany the birth of twins. The rituals and ceremonies are intended to: put an end to the period of taboos which begun with the birth of the children; ensure the safety of the twins and that of the family; and establish the twins’ legitimacy as complete members of the clan and of society at large.
The rituals and ceremonies slightly differ in families. It is the responsibility of Ssalongo’s father, the grandfather of the twins, to make arrangements for the performance of the rituals and ceremonies in accordance with his family’s norms. However, characteristically, there are big ceremonies and festivals to mark the birth of twins.

There is, however, one big ceremony for celebrating the birth of twins (okumala abalongo; entujjo y’abalongo) which seems to be common. This ceremony is characterised by a lot of rejoicing, feasting and general merrymaking not only by the relatives concerned, but by also the surrounding community.

On the vigil of the appointed day for the ceremony, Ssalongo’s family, led by a clan elder, performs the child-confirmation and naming ceremony for the family’s children who have not yet undergone that ceremony.

On the appointed day, Nnalongo’s mother and her relatives prepare a one pulp of cooked matooke. Ssalongo’s side does the same. At the agreed hour, both Ssalongo and his relatives and Nnalongo’s people gather in the main house of Ssalongo’s father to share a common meal. The two separate pulps of food (emiwumbo gy’emmere) are meshed into one pulp.

Then, Nnalongo’s mother picks a morsel of this food and hands it directly to Ssalongo, her son-in-law (Maama wa Nnalongo akoleza mutabani we, Ssalongo, bba wa Nnalongo, ekitole ky’emmere n’akimukwaasa mu ngalo butereevu ye kennyini). Ssalongo’s father also picks a morsel of food and hands it directly to Nnalongo, his daughter-in-law. Relatives from both sides do the same to each other. As this is going on, omujjwa comes and steps in the food and carries away. This is followed by a ritual dance, similar to a bump dance, in which Nnalongo’s mother and Ssalongo dance together and Ssalongo’s father and Nnalongo do the same. The pinnacle of this dance is the coming into contact, through bumping, of Ssalongo’s rear and his mother-in-law’s rear and Nnalongo’s rear with her father-in-law’s rear. The relatives from both sides also engage in this bump dance.

This ceremony has special significance and meaning. The meshing of the two separate pulps of matooke into one big pulp which is shared by all present is a sign of unity and communion between the twins’ paternal and maternal families. It is also the meeting place of the dead, the living, and those not yet born but are in the loins of their parents.

Communication, cut off immediately after the birth of the twins, is re-established. The ceremony puts an end to the period of taboos which begun with the birth of the twins. It also ends for good all the sexual marriage taboos which are common with other people who are not parents of twins. Henceforth, there is no longer avoidance and the in-laws from the families affected by the birth of twins can meet and talk freely to each other (obuko buweddewo).

The action of the mujjwa of spoiling the food symbolises the wiping away of any evils and problems that would otherwise normally have resulted from breaking sexual and marriage taboos.
After the big celebrations (entujjo), the twins’ umbilical cords are not buried as it is the custom with normal children. Instead, they are firmly tied and made into a beautifully decorated necklace which is kept and adorned by Ssalongo at ceremonies and festivals of his household or of the traditional family……..
  
Modern Changes

A lot of changes have occurred to the way twins are treated in modern times. These changes have occurred as a result partly because of the spread of foreign universal religions, partly because of intermarriages, but mainly because of changed outlook and new lifestyles in urban settings.
Some parents have abandoned the twin culture as a result of the various intricate and quite complex activities accompanying the ceremonies and rituals. The activities are considered as wasteful and hard to fulfil; and this has forced them to opt for the less complicated and less expensive church services. In many cases, it is economic hardship which has probably forced people to abandon these customs.

However, the aura surrounding the twins still exists in the minds of many parents and their relatives. It is believed that twins should not be mistreated since many taboos are attached to them.
The special naming of close relatives of twins continues, but the naming in modern times is increasingly becoming restricted to the household of the twins’ parents. This is because of western education and influence where the family means only the small unit of husband, wife and children (if any). This is in sharp contrast to the traditional view of the wider or, in western eyes, the extended family which includes brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, etc. Under western education and influence, members of the traditional family are more or less regarded as outsiders.
In these cyber days, the Ssalongo informs both his parents and the parents of Nnalongo by telephone (sms). He therefore does not engage in certain rituals which were mandatory in the past. If at all his household is ready to get involved in traditional rituals pertaining to the twins, he asks for the surrogates on telephone (by sms again).

Whereas it was a strict requirement in the past that the surrogates be children who have not engaged in sexual activity, these days the surrogates are mature persons, often people who already have children, thus destroying the sense of sanctity that, in the past, was associated with the birth of twins.
Whereas in the past all channels of communication were cut off between Ssalongo and Nnalongo and their parents until they engaged in the ceremony celebrating the birth of twins, nowadays this is no longer the case. They meet freely and exchange ideas.

Some of the intricate and complex taboos, rituals, and ceremonies accompanying the birth of twins are dying out. Except in very remote communities, it is no longer possible for Ssalongo to drum for a whole month day and night. Also, gone are the days of wild rejoicing and feasting during which lewd songs were sung and irresponsible acts, including free sex, were committed.


In some families, the umbilical cords are not bundled and decorated. Neither does many a Ssalongo find the time to wear the umbilical cords as required by tradition.

Some non-Baganda wives dislike engaging in Kiganda traditional practices pertaining to twins, even although they very much love to be called Nnalongo.

However, some families nowadays combine the traditional and the modern under modified form. In some Christian families, the twin babies are baptised and then a small party for celebrating their birth is held at home.
These days, the tendency in many modern families is to treat twins as normal as any other children. These people do not see any reason to fear twins or regard them as having more power than other people………

Reblogged from http://www.njovu.org/traditions_customs.htm

A special thank you to Sokari Ekine at Black Looks for organising this statement.

“We the undersigned wish to express our deep sadness at the murder of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato on 26th January 2011.  David’s activism began in the 1980s as an Anti-Apartheid campaigner where he first expressed a strong passion and conviction for freedom and justice which continued throughout his life.   David was a founding member of Sexual Minorities Uganda where he first served as Board member and until his death as Litigation and Advocacy Officer and he was also a member of Integrity Uganda, a faith-based advocacy organization.

David was a man of vision and courage. One of his major concerns was the growth of religious fundamentalism in Uganda and across the continent and how this would impact on the rights of ordinary citizens including lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered / Gender Non-Conforming and Intersex  [LGBTIQ] persons.   Years later his concerns were justified when the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill backed by religious fundamentalists was outlined in 2009.  David was also an extremely brave man who had been imprisoned and beaten severely because of his sexual orientation and for speaking publicly against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Many African political and religious leaders in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia, Gambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi and Botswana, have publicly maligned LGBTIQ people and in some cases directly incited violence against them whilst labeling sexual minorities as “unAfrican”.

In October 2010, the Ugandan tabloid, Rolling Stone published the names and photographs of “100 Top homos” including David Kato.   David along with two other LGBTIQ activists successfully sued the magazine on the grounds of “invasion of privacy” and most importantly,  the  judge ruled that the publication would threaten and endanger the lives of LGBTIQ persons.

The court did not only rule that the publication would threaten and endanger the lives of LGBTIQ persons but it issued a permanent injunction against Rolling Stone newspaper never to publish photos of gays in Uganda, and also never to again publish their home addresses.

Justice Kibuuka Musoke ruled that,

“Gays are also entitled to their rights. This court has found that there was infringement of some people’s confidential rights. The court hereby issues an injunction restraining Rolling Stone newspaper from future publishing of identifications of homosexuals.”

Every human being is protected under the African Charter of Peoples and Human Rights and this includes the rights of LGBTIQ persons.   We ask the governments of Uganda and other African countries to stop criminalizing people on the grounds of sexual orientation  and afford LGBTIQ people the same protections, freedoms and dignity, as other citizens on the continent.”

Anengiyefa Alagoa,                           Things I Feel Strongly About

Anthony Hebblethwaite                    African Activist

Barbra Jolie,                                     Me I Think

Ben Amunwa,                                   Remember Ken Saro-Wiwa

Bunmi Oloruntoba,                           A Bombastic Element

Chris Ogunlowo,                              Aloofaa

Eccentric Yoruba,                             Eccentric Yoruba

Exiled Soul                                       ExiledSoul

Francisca Bagulho and Marta Lança,         Buala

Funmilayo Akinosi,                          Finding My Path

Funmi Feyide,                                   Nigerian Curiosity

Gay Uganda,                                     Gay Uganda

Glenna Gordon,                                Scarlett Lion

Godwyns Onwuchekwa,                My Person

Jeremy Weate,                                   Naija Blog

Kayode Ogundamisi                         Canary Bird

Kadija Patel                                          Thoughtleader

Keguro Macharia,                             Gukira

Kenne Mwikya,                                 Kenne’s Blog

Kinsi Abdullah                                  Kudu Arts

Laura Seay,                                       Texas in Africa

Llanor Alleyne                                  Llanor Alleyne

Mark Jordahl,                                   Wild Thoughts from Uganda

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Not in our name…….

Read the latest statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on the case of Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo and 43 other Zimbabweans who have been charged with treason:

Gwisai bemoans torture as Muchadehama challenges placement of activists on remand

Detained social justice activist Munyaradzi Gwisai on Thursday 24 February 2011 lamented the torture sessions to which suspects are subjected by state security agents as tragic and inexpressible.

Gwisai, who testified before Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi during an application for refusal of placement on remand for the 45 human rights activists filed by defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama disclosed in court that he, together with other activists, were subjected to torture sessions during their detention by the police at Harare Central Police Station.

Gwisai said the torture sessions were aimed at securing confessions from the activists which would implicate them in the commission of treason, a charge which they are facing in court.

In narrating his ordeal, Gwisai said he was tortured together with five other detainees in a room in the basement at Harare Central Police Station by nine state security agents who included some police officers who had arrested them.

During the torture sessions, which were recorded on video, the detainees were asked to recount what had transpired during their meeting which was held on Saturday 19 February 2011 in central Harare.

Gwisai said each of the six detainees received a series of lashes which were administered while they lay down on their stomachs. He added that he received between 15 and 20 lashes as the police and his tormentors sought to obtain confessions from him and the other detainees.

Gwisai said the pain which he endured and suffered as a result of the torture sessions was “indescribable, sadistic and a tragedy for Zimbabwe”.

The University of Zimbabwe labour law lecturer said it was extremely difficult for him to sit and walk because of the torture sessions he underwent together with other detainees.

Gwisai said the meeting held on Saturday was held to discuss ISO business and issues of democracy and constitutionalism and not to plot the toppling of the government as alleged by the police and prosecutors. He added that the meeting which was attended by HIV/AIDS activists was also meant to commemorate the life of a deceased HIV and AIDS activist, Navigator Mungoni.

Earlier on Muchadehama outlined the detainees’ complaints against the police.

The detainees’ lawyer said the arrest of his clients was unlawful as they were not advised of the reason/s for their arrest. He also advised that they were over-detained in filthy and stinking police cells. He said the detainees only knew of the treason charge when they finally appeared in court on Wednesday 23 February 2011 and no warned and cautioned statements were recorded in relation to the treason charge.

Muchadehama told the court that the police extensively subjected his clients to severe interrogation sessions where they attempted to coax some of the detainees to turn against their colleagues and be considered State witnesses.

He said some of the detainees were assaulted, brutalised and tortured while in police custody. The defence lawyer said the torture sessions were administered through assaults all over the detainees’ bodies, under their feet and buttocks through the use of broomsticks, metal rods, pieces of timber, open palms and some blunt objects.

In his application for refusal of remand Muchadehama argued that the facts as outlined by the State did not constitute the commission of an offence.

The matter continues on Monday 28 February 2011 when prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba, who applied for the placement of the detainees on remand, cross examines Gwisai. In the meantime, all 45 will remain incarcerated in remand prison in Harare and at Chikurubi Women’s Prison for the women detainees.

Source:  http://www.kubatanablogs.net/kubatana/

[ Reposted with overflowing love, respekt en in solidarity with our freedom fighters, healers, peacemakers and youth coming into their right destinies…..In a ‘blog/post-a-day’/series exploring quests of self-en-collective discovery of the powah! of harvesting the intersections of our diversity….

Our basic inquiry: What do we benefit from (wholly) pursuing the vision(s) of ‘a’ United States of Afrika?  And what is it about revolushuns and the urgencies of injustice in ripple effects?

In how many countries not only in North Africa and the Middle East, but all ova di world, will it take protests of indigenus massives not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities of darkness to spread the spirit of hope, positivity, truth, justice and love in abundance and institute democracies? ]