Those who go after gays and sex workers will one day go after teachers and doctors

By Daniel K. Kalinaki  (email the author)
Posted  Thursday, February 16  2012 at  00:00

Last week, after a day long meeting in Entebbe, and as we sat in the hotel lobby bar waiting out the traffic to Kampala over drinks, we noticed an interesting group of young people headed to dinner.

 Someone in our party then pointed out that the group was comprised of gay rights activists who were attending a seminar at the hotel. We paid them no further attention but I remember wondering quietly to myself what would happen if word got round about the meeting.

As it turned out, it did. A few days later Fr. Simon Lokodo, the ethics and integrity minister, turned up at the meeting and broke it up, ordering the police to arrest some of the organisers in the process. The raiding of the meeting came just a few days after a watered down version of David Bahati’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill was reintroduced before Parliament.

Those who love to “bash the gays” were quick to congratulate Bahati, whose Bill has brought him fame and notoriety beyond his wildest dreams, and Lokodo, who many had never heard of outside his Karamoja constituents, until the story broke.

One must pity the Ethics minister; he has to wait around quietly, trying not to be noticed when fellow ministers are being accused of corruption, until an emotive subject such as this springs up to afford him an opportunity to show face and justify his income.

Regardless of one’s views about homosexuality, we must all worry when fundamental freedoms, including the constitutional right to assembly and expression, are violated in this manner. As far as is publicly known the meeting was broken up not because the participants were involved in homosexuality which remains a crime on our books, but because the minister did not like what they were discussing.

It is not the first time. Last year James Nsaba Buturo, who was ethics minister before Lokodo, ordered the closure of a workshop that Akina Mama, a civil society group that works to empower women, had organised at Serena Lake Victoria Hotel to train sex workers in human rights and leadership. Before you fall off your moral high horse it might be useful to note that it is not just the gay-huggers and sex workers who are being hunted down and shut up.

Recently the police cordoned off Bat Valley Primary School and, in the process, stopped a meeting teachers had called to discuss whether they should go on strike again to force government to raise their salaries.

Sources in civil society say organisations working on oil issues have had meetings in Amuru, Kanungu and Buliisa broken up to stop them from teaching locals about their rights and responsibilities over the oil resources.

What is happening is a deliberate erosion of civil liberties and the rights to assemble and express alternative points of view. The banning and violent breaking up of Walk-to-Work demonstrations is the most notable event but it could be argued that the banning of Bimeeza, those outdoor town hall-style radio talk shows has done even more to hamper ordinary citizens from holding officials to account and express their views on topical issues.

The overt and covert attacks on the media are just the icing on a poisoned cake.
To institutionalise this closing off of the public space, the government has proposed a law – the Public Order Management Bill – that not only seeks to reverse a court decision but also makes it very hard for people to meet and discuss the way they are governed.
This country has a history of people settling their differences violently and the road to violence that we are walking down is paved by hundreds of pebbles that have been thrown at our rights and liberties.

We can never expect to agree unanimously on controversial matters such as homosexuality but we must never allow a situation in which we can’t talk about our differences, or one in which only those who say things we like to hear are allowed to speak.

It is easy to thumb one’s nose at the gay rights activists and call for them to be jailed and the keys cast into Lake Victoria but the same people who will arrest the gays will one day return to arrest the teachers and doctors asking for better conditions. We should not let our moral convictions interfere with our legal obligation to respect the rights of all.


US condemns government for human rights violations


The US government has condemned what it called the “deteriorating” human rights situation in Uganda and asked the country’s leaders to respect civil liberties of all citizens, including minority groups.

Department of State’s Spokesperson Victoria Nuland in a statement issued on Wednesday, expressed concern that the government has “failed to respect freedoms of expression, assembly and the media”.

“(The) United States is concerned about Uganda’s deteriorating human rights record,” she noted, adding: “Recently, the Ugandan government has failed to respect freedoms of expression, assembly, and the media, as well as its commitment to protect the human rights of all Ugandans.”

Washington’s public disapproval over human rights abuses in Uganda, its strategic security ally in the fragile Great Lakes region comes a day after London-headquartered rights group, Amnesty International, said in a report that President Museveni is maintaining power through “repression”.

It noted that the regime had become intolerant to dissent and narrowed the space for democratic expression by introducing draconian legislation and harassing, intimidating as well as slapping criminal charges on opposition political leaders, civil society activists and journalists.

Uganda’s reputation has been soiled internationally by its security forces’ violent crackdown on walk-to-work demonstrators in April and May that resulted in the death, from bullet wounds, of about a dozen people, the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS) said in a separate report on Wednesday.

“More than anything, Besigye could have said or done,” the Centre notes, “the images capturing the government’s heavy-handed response badly damaged the legitimacy of Museveni regime, both domestically and internationally.”

The ACSS, located at the National Defence University in Washington D.C., undertakes research and analysis to inform decisions of US policy makers as well as foster open dialogue on Washington’s strategic priorities, among them African security matters.

In its latest report titled; Africa and the Arab Spring: A New Era of Democratic Expectations, the Centre lumps Uganda together with Zimbabwe among 10 African countries it says have “semi-authoritarian” political regimes. The leaderships are ranked as consolidating democracies, democratisers, semi-authoritarian and autocracies. In East Africa, Rwanda falls in the worst category.

Ms Nuland also raised the red flag over the house arrest of FDC party leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, using the colonial-era ‘preventive arrest’ legislation whenever he attempts to walk to work. She criticised government’s recent introduction of a draconian Public Order Management Bill that she said targets government critics and aims to suffocate political activism.

Yesterday, Information Minister Mary Karooro Okurut said the government is being criticised unfairly. “It’s only those who engage in unlawful acts that are handled by police and that cannot amount to violation of human rights,” she said.

Makerere University Political Science Professor Aaron Mukwaya, however, said public agitation over a gloomy economy and political mistreatment of regime opponents shows Mr Museveni’s February landslide re-election was “theoretical”. He cautioned government not to wish away the problems without fixing the economy and democratising politics. He blamed the government of not punishing the corrupt and said the current economic meltdown is as a result of the thieves in government.

Uganda lags in life expectancy in EAC – report

By BENON HERBERT OLUKA  (email the author)

A new report assessing the state of world population indicates that a child born in Uganda today is expected to live for an average of 54 years for males and 55 for females.

The new life expectancy, while representing just a one-year increase from that of 2010, is lower than that of children born at a similar time in Kenya and Tanzania by at least four years. It is also several years lower than the life expectancy in several developed countries.

According to the State of the World Population Report 2011, Tanzania tops the East African region with a life expectancy of 58 years for males and 60 for females, while Kenya comes second with 57 and 59 for males and females, respectively. The life expectancy in the other East African countries is 54 for men and 57 for women in Rwanda, and 50 for men and 53 for women in Burundi.

With the life expectancy of Ugandans rising from an average of 48 years in 1990 to the 54.5 (for both men and women), it means Uganda has not made major strides.

The report, which comes days before the world population hits the seven billion mark on Monday, says the world population trends over the last 60 years has leapt from a global average of 48 years in early 1950s to about 68 in the first decade of the new century.

Uganda currently has one of the world’s most youthful populations (69 per cent of the 34 million people).

During the joint launch of the State of Uganda Population Report and its global equivalent, several officials said while the youthful population represents a challenge in the short term, it could also provide Uganda with an opportunity for growth if the youths are educated and empowered to be productive.

Uganda’s population to hit 100m in 2050

By BENON HERBERT OLUKA  (email the author)


Posted  Thursday, October 27  2011 at  00:00

Uganda, with its high fertility ratio of about seven children per family, is likely to see its population rise to 103.2 million by 2050, latest projections indicate.

Government released the projections yesterday while launching a report that assesses the state of the country’s population, with a pledge that it is keeping a keener eye on the implications of Uganda’s high growth rate. The announcement coincides with the timing of a global report, which shows that the world population will hit the seven billion mark on Monday.

The State of Uganda Population Report 2011, launched in Kampala yesterday alongside the State of the World Population Report 2011, paints a picture of a country whose rapidly rising population could have “negative impacts” for its per capita economic growth.

Throughout most of that time, the majority of Uganda’s population is likely to be young – leaving a perpetually huge weight of dependence on a small number of productive Ugandans. Currently, according to the 120-page report, some 69 per cent of Uganda’s population is under 24 years of age.

However, in a speech read by Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi noted that the “government regards population as a crucial resource that can be harnessed for national development.

Estimates published in the report, whose focus this year was on reproductive health, show that if Uganda succeeded in reducing its population growth rate from the current 3.2 per cent to 2.4 per cent in the medium term, the country’s annual growth of per capita GDP could rise by between 0.5- 0.6 per cent.

“If we additionally consider the impact of the population dynamics such a reduction would entail, per capita economic growth could increase by between 1.4 and 3.0 percentage points per annum as long as Uganda would be in the phase of the ‘demographic gift’ with falling population growth but still substantial labour force growth,” it adds.

The report also adds that Uganda has an unusually large discrepancy in fertility between the highly educated (3.9) and the women with low education (7.8), which it says makes Uganda’s poor prone to being caught in a poverty trap which keeps poverty high, widens inequality and reduces economic growth.

In its analysis of the impact of population growth on resources, the report says more than 80 per cent of Ugandans rely directly upon land, agriculture, and fishing for their livelihoods, but environmental indicators reveal trends of degrading agricultural lands, soil erosion, deforestation, drainage of wetlands, loss of bio-diversity, reduced range land capacity, and increased pollution.

The report also indicates that the growth of urban populations throughout Uganda is placing particular stress on municipalities that already lack the infrastructure to meet current water and sanitation needs.

“In these urban areas, flooding, poorly constructed latrines, and the resultant run-off of solid waste contaminate water ways and further exacerbate diarrheal disease outbreaks. As such if the trend persists, there shall be several challenges to future growth and structural transformation unless serious measures are taken to convert it into a population dividend,” explains the report, which adds that even in densely populated Kampala, 85 per cent of households rely on pit latrines.

Comparing Uganda’s socio economic indicators with those of other countries in Africa and Asia that have lower population growth rates, the report says Uganda’s high population growth rate exacerbates poverty and constrains the household’s and the government’s efforts to provide quality social services such as education and health.

“The problem with a fast-growing population is not the growth itself, but “rapid, unplanned growth,” concludes the report. “It is conceded that growth is a natural process that guarantees continuity of existence of living things. However, the process of growth is determined by important variables, which include; age structure, sex and distribution. The decisions and policies we make today, and the options available to young people, will ultimately determine the quality of the population in 2050.”

In his statement, however, Mr Mbabazi said the government is now closely monitoring the country’s population trends, “not only in numbers but also in terms of what implications such numbers mean to the provision of services such as health, education, housing, food, [and] employment.”

Life expectancy for Kenyans now 58 years, says report

File | NATION The minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, Mr Wycliffe Oparanya, during the launch of the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census results at the KICC in Nairobi on August 31, 2010. With him is assistant minister Peter Kenneth.

File | NATION The minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, Mr Wycliffe Oparanya, during the launch of the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census results at the KICC in Nairobi on August 31, 2010. With him is assistant minister Peter Kenneth.

 Babies born today have more years to live than many of their parents if current demographic indicators remain constant.

A United Nations Population Fund report released on Wednesday shows that the number of years Kenyans born at the same time can expect to live, or life expectancy at birth, has gone up by three years.

The State of World Population 2011 Report: People and Possibilities in a World of 7 billion shows that the average life expectancy of both males and females currently stands at 58 years.

It is an increase of three years from the 55.5 years where the demographic indicator stood as per the 2010 report.

But it was more good news for female Kenyans, whose life expectancy has gone up from 56 years to 59.

They are better off compared to their male counterparts, who can expect to live for 57 years.

The 2010 report indicated a life expectancy of 55 years for men.

The rise in life expectancy is a big improvement from the 2008 level, when it stood at 54 years for both men and women, according to World Health Organisation and World Bank statistics.

Life expectancy is the average number of years lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remained constant.

The life expectancy has also gone up for some of the neighbouring countries.

Female Tanzanians still enjoy the highest life expectancy in the region.

The country’s female population would likely live for 60 years, an increase from 57.7 years as per last year’s report.

Income levels

On average, Tanzanians would live for 59 years, up from 56.9 years as per the 2010 report.

Men in the country have two years less to live compared to women.

Uganda has the lowest life expectancy at 54.5 years, an increase of less than a year.

The country had an average life expectancy of 54.1 years last year.

It means that each woman would prefer to have an average of five children.

The report, to be officially launched in Kenya on Monday, also shows that 22 in every 100 Kenyans live in urban areas.

It notes that many people are living longer and healthier lives, and couples are choosing to have smaller families.

But 215 million women in developing countries who would like to plan and space their children lack access to effective contraception.

“In some of the poorest countries, high fertility rates hamper development and perpetuate poverty,” the report said.

Usually, the number of years people can live is influenced by many factors, including the quality of life that is directly or indirectly determined by income levels, education, health expenditure and access to safe water.

Rwandan men and women have a life expectancy of 54 years and 57 years for men and women respectively.

Japanese women, at 87 years, still have the highest life expectancy in the world. The current figure represents an increase from 86.6 years as per the 2010 report. It is expected that the population of the world will reach seven billion on Monday.

The report shows that the number of women in Kenya is now the same as that of men.

The news either means that more girls were born over the last two years or that more men may have died over the same period.

According to the report, there are 20.8 million women and the same number of men.

There were over 200,000 more women than men according to the 2009 Kenya National Population and Housing Census.

The UN report shows that there are 41.6 million people in Kenya, nearly a million more than the 40.9 million last year.

The 2009 census results put the population at 38.6 million.

The report shows that the population of Kenya is rising faster than it did a few years ago.

Reproductive period

It says the growth rate is currently 2.7, nearly half the economic growth rate.

Despite this, the total fertility rate, or the average number of children each woman would prefer to have throughout the reproductive period, still remains at 4.6.

Call for materials on David Kato’s life, work and legacy‏

From: Stella Nyanzi
Makerere University

Call for materials on David Kato
This is a call for materials for a biographical book on the life, work and
legacy of David Kisule Kato the deceased Ugandan human rights defender
for sexual (and other) minorities. The biography is being developed and
written by researchers in the Law, Gender and Sexuality Research Project
of the Faculty of Law at Makerere University  Kampala. We are interested in a range of materials including essays, fiction,
poetry, web blogs, art, crafts, photographs, film, documentaries,
speeches, diaries, letters and other correspondence, music, academic
publications, etc. that reflect any aspect of the life and work of David
Kato. We invite materials from family, friends, lovers, partners,
colleagues, allies, students, other human rights defenders and advocates,
social justice activists, sexual minorities, academics, clerics,
parliamentarians, journalists and anyone else with something (whether
positive or negative) to say about David Kato�s life, work and legacy.
Materials about the different commemoration activities and memorial events
held after David�s death are also welcome.
The materials will be collected alongside interviews and focus group
discussions conducted in rural and urban Uganda among those who knew David
Kato. Although the main language of the biography will be English,
relevant materials written in Luganda, Kiswahili, French, Portugese,
Spanish and any other African tongue will be translated for inclusion. The
deadline for submission is 16th December 2011. All received materials will
be duly acknowledged.
Please send material to:
Stella Nyanzi,
Law, Gender and Sexuality Research Project,
Faculty of Law,
P. O. Box 7062, Kampala � Uganda.
Email: or

Please circulate as widely as possible among your circles.

Stella Nyanzi (BA, MA, Msc., PhD),
Medical Anthropologist/ Senior Researcher,
Law, Gender and Sexuality Research Project,
Faculty of Law,
Makerere University,
P. O. Box 7062,
Kampala - Uganda.
Alternative email:
Cell: (+256) 775 301 767
skype: snyanzi

Visa vya watoto Kusafirishwa Kutoka Tanzania

Posted on October 13, 2010 by The Counter Human Trafficking Blog in Tanzania

Je watoto wetu wanapotelea wapi?

Na huyu mtoto alipatikana Uganda akiwa ametekwa Nyara. Walitaka ransom ya Dola $500.

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