The Uganda Police Force, in the wee hours of Sunday 10th November 2019, raided an LGBT+ friendly bar along Hannington Road where they arrested 125 people, most of whom are community members.
The arrested were paraded before the media and have been charged with possession and use of narcotics although it is evident that this is a white wash lie and the raid was a direct on the LGBT+ community. The bar which sells Shisha, a common recreational vaporized mixture of tobacco often mixed with other flavors and ingredients, is a well-known hangout for many sexual and gender minorities- in fact it is the only openly gay friendly hangout within Kampala.
With several bars in and around Kampala selling Shisha, one can only wonder why Ram a bar that was most certainly going to be filled to capacity with LGBT+ identifying individuals was singled out for this operation. In the past, when such operations have been carried out, a number of bars within the city are raided but last night’s operation clearly targeted one venue.
The arrested spent the night at Central Police Station where they were having statements taken this afternoon. According to our source at CPS, the arrested are to appear in court before close of business today or in the next couple of days.
It should be noted that the witch hunt for LGBT persons has drastically increased in the last couple of months with a number of community members being attacked and some losing their lives due to homophobic assaults.
Activists and allies of the community have strongly condemned this operation that is being disguised as a narcotics crackdown.
“That narcotics and drug excuse is being stage managed. Homophobia is exercised in many ways that are used to justify hate, violence, oppression, exclusion and persecution. In Uganda we have seen homophobia justified by morality then religion then culture then recruitment in schools then pedophilia then HIV/AIDS then terrorism and now drugs and narcotics,” Solome Nakaweesi a strong ally of the community shared.
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, a vocal LGBT activist also spoke up against the sham charges. “As you may have heard 125 LGBT plus friends were arrested last night at the gay friendly bar we have used for the last 7 years for community events. Thy were arrested on drug charges. This we know they did coz they are now aware that it’s difficult to prosecute anyone for being LGBT as the past has shown. These tramped up charges are very hard and so it’s going to be a tougher battle,” she wrote on her Facebook timeline.
We will keep you updated as the story develops.