In just the last two months, three LGBT+ identifying individuals have lost their lives under unclear circumstances- Brian Wasswa a gay man from Lugazi is the latest victim after he was clobbered to death in his house over the weekend.
The deceased has been an active member of the community and at the time of his death, he was serving as the Manager of Children of the Sun Foundation (COSF) Jinja. He was also an active member of Kuchu Shiners.
WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED?
According to a friend who might have been the last to see Brian alive, he (Brian) was in perfect health when they talked. This witness who preferred anonymity for security reasons had spoken to Brian earlier and taken the deceased’s phone for charging. However, he noted that Brian had a guest whom he did not recognize. On returning the phone, the guest came to the door and said Brian had gone to a nearby mobile money stall to withdraw money and had left strict instructions that barred anyone from entering his house. The unidentified guest offered to take the phone but the witness, although not suspecting foul play at this point, declined to hand it over and returned to work.
A few hours later, he was informed that his friend Brian had been hurt; he rushed to the scene only to find it completely bloodied. Brian had been rushed to the hospital where he spent the night. It was later established from Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) that an ambulance had been dispatched the following day to rush Brian to Kampala for better medical intervention only for him to succumb to the injuries during transportation.
The community members in and around Jinja showed overwhelming support as they came from far and near to attend the funeral. However, most had to leave before Brian was laid to rest as the village people were quickly and angrily inciting violence against them.
What is happening now is a repeat of 2014 after the passing of the AHB into law- which saw an increase in the number of attacks and violations against LGBT identifying individuals, loss of jobs, evictions from homes as well as an influx in the number of Ugandan LGBT persons that fled to Kenya in search of a safe haven.
It should also be remembered that in 2011, gay activist, David Kato, was found bludgeoned to death (in a very similar fashion as Brian) at his home in Mukono. David Kato's photograph had been published in the tabloid, The Rolling Stone under a headline that called for hanging of gay persons.
With the Anti-Homosexuality Bill being brought back to the floor of Parliament at any point now, members of the LGBT community are cautioned to be vigilant and pay more attention their safety.
With this latest incident, we once again ask, how many of us must die before we are protected by the laws of our own land? When will the mainstream media pay attention to these senseless killings- they do not shy away from outing people, why do they look away when we are being killed?