Kim Mukisa Shares his Experience in Prison where he was Remanded on Charges of Homosexuality

KMKim Mukisa and Mukasa Jackson were arrested on 29th January 2014 and detained at Old Kampala police station for one week before being arraigned before the chief magistrate of Buganda Road court on 6th March. The two were presented with charges of carnal knowledge against the order of nature in line with section 145 of the Penal code Act.

After almost five months without trial, Jackson Mukasa, commonly known as Rihanna in the Ugandan LGBTI community, received bail on Wednesday 7th May 2014. Her co-defendant, Kim Mukisa, was later released on12th May 2014 after struggling to get sureties and fulfilling the set conditions for his release.

Kuchu Times caught up with to Kim to find out how life has been since his release from prison and how he managed to get through the seven months in jail.

As a young man, Kim felt he had feelings for fellow males. While his friends were flirting with girls, Kim found himself with a strong attraction to other boys.  He however could not approach any because his religion and culture consider same sex relations evil. In 2013, he met Rihanna and discovered that he was not the only one attracted to his sex because she introduced him to other LGBTI people.

Kim was born in 1990 in Mulago national referral hospital to Basoga parents hailing from Kamuli district. Kim was raised a Moslem. He has six sisters and two brothers but on 11th September 2011, he lost a total of 7 siblings in an accident in Mabira forest; five of his sisters and his two brothers all perished on their way back home.

This news affected him and many of his family members, his dad developed high blood pressure and died the following year. Kim was left with only one sister and a mum.

On the fateful day of 27th January 2014, Kim faced yet another life changing incident. As a closeted gay man and a person who loved fashion, Kim was living a lavish lifestyle since he was self-employed- he had a stall in St. Balikuddembe where he sold designer outfits hence affording to finance his way of life.

On that particular Sunday, Kim who had hosted a gay friend ended up regretting why he had been kind to this ‘friend’ as he turned out to be a blackmailer. Though raised a Muslim, Kim earlier converted to Pentecostal form of worship. He had been a part of  the praise and worship team for True Worship Centre in Mengo for a long time.

On the fateful day, Kim woke up like he always did on Sunday; he prepared himself and left for the service but left the guest behind. He was therefore shocked when upon return, an empty house awaited him. He inquired from his neighbors what had taken place only to be ignored, something that made him think they had had a hand in the robbery.

Kim and Rihanna jubilate after their case was dismissed
Kim and Rihanna jubilate after their case was dismissed

The following morning while pondering his next move, Kim’s thoughts were interrupted by a hard knock at his door. His drunk and staggering landlord told him that he should be prepared for the worst. Not comprehending what the landlord meant, he locked his door only to be awakened by another bang thirty minutes later. The chairman of the area asked him to pack whatever was left of his belongings and leave their village because they couldn’t accept people like Kim.

The locals then stormed the compound with clubs and stones. They chanted, “Musiyazi gwe genda offe” meaning “you gay man go and die”, “tubakooye kukyalo kyaffe, mujakwonona abaana baffe” meaning “we are tired of you, you are going to ruin our children”.

Kim, and Rihanna who had spent the night, were severely beaten and fortunately, Kim managed to escape. After a series of connivances between the police and the locals, the two were arrested and taken to Old Kampala police station on 29th January 2014. Kim and Rihanna had gone to report the theft and assault that had befallen them a few days earlier.

The outside of Kim's home
The outside of Kim’s home

Kim narrates that they passed through a whole lot at the station since the officers themselves were torturing them and warned the inmates to be cautious lest they get sodomised.

They were also not allowed to see their lawyers or get medication for the injuries they sustained from the beatings.  They were then taken to a certain clinic in Kampala where they were forced to do anal examinations to confirm f they were engaging in same sex relations. All this was done by the police minus their consent. They were further forcefully paraded before the media and this was the beginning of Kim’s suffering; his business would never recover and he quickly lost his savings in an attempt to get out of jail.

These were finally remanded to Luzira prisons on 6th February 2014. Kim narrated to Kuchu Times that while in Luzira, the two were treated as aliens, they were fed in dirty and broken bowls,  were not allowed to talk to each other despite being on the same case file, had to bathe last and were denied visitations from their loved ones. Unfortunately, Kim who was very close to his only surviving sister had to face the world alone as she abandoned him and wanted nothing to  do with a homosexual.

Finally after staying close to five months in Luzira prison, Kim and Rihanna were released marking the beginning of their turbulent lives outside of the prison walls. Kim came back to begin life all over again, he had no home, business or even friends. Kim says that he once slept in old wrecked vehicles in parking yards since he had nowhere to go.

Rihanna and Kim during the trial
Rihanna and Kim during the trial

Later with help from a community organization, he managed to rent a very small room in one of the slums in Kampala and that is where lives up to this day.  Kim still faces many challenges in the area since those who saw him in the newspapers have started pointing fingers at him. He however still has hope to get back to where he was. He is currently saving up to start his clothes selling business.

Kim also told Kuchu Times that having had his face was plastered all over the news, his place of worship also turned him away when he tried to go back.