Gunnar Wesslen a Swedish journalist working for the Daily Etcetera, spent a whole week (31st Aug- 4th Sept 2015) in Uganda trying to analyze the current situation of the rights of sexual minorities in the country.
He was also analyzing the current developments, economic and security situation of the East African Community. During his field tour, he talked to leaders from different governmental departments including the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, the State Minister for Economic Planning Hon. David Bahati, the EAC Minister Shem Bagaine, Hon. Lady Justice Mary Stellah Arach Amoko of the Supreme Court of Uganda, religious as well as activists from the Ugandan LGBTI movement.
Gunnar was able to get a detailed analysis of the current environment as regards LGBTI issues in Uganda; he was also able to get views from evangelical pastors towards gay people in Uganda. One of the issues that stood out for him was the fact that while most people believe that homosexuality is unacceptable, they do not agree with the introduction of harsh laws to punish homosexuals.
Another outstanding revelation was made by Justice Stellah Arach who believes that LGBTI people are like any other Ugandans who deserve a right of protection, privacy and equal treatment. She retorted that Ugandans need to understand that people are different and respect those differences.
Hon. Lady Justice Mary Stellah Arach Amoko cited a case where she was presented with two young people who were tortured in Kireka for enaging in same sex acts. Justice Arach said that when the case was presented before her, she followed up all the events clearly and later found out that the manner in which police raided and arrested the two without enough evidence was unlawful.
However, legislator Shem Bagaine totally disagrees with the notion that homosexuality is normal; he says homosexuals don’t deserve a place in Uganda and further affirmed that Uganda will not bow down to such vices from the West.
The Swedish journal also spoke to LGBTI activists who shared their daily life experiences and what developments have been going on since the bill was struck down by the Constitutional Court and what the future holds for the Ugandan gay community.
In a nutshell Gunnar’s one week stay was an expedition that revealed that the movement is on its way to greatness and achieving all it set out to. Attitudes are changing, policy makers are becoming more open minded and the general public is becoming less homophobic.