There was drama at Imperial Resort Hotel in Entebbe on (Monday, August 15, 2016) when state Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo broke up a secret gay rights activists’ conference.
The two-week conference organised by Freedom and Roam Uganda, an association that lobbies for the recognition of same-sex relationships in Uganda ended prematurely when the minister ordered them to disperse.
“I have closed this conference because it’s illegal. We do not accept homosexuality in Uganda. So go back home,” Minister Lokodo told the participants.
The hotel staff had been asked by the organisers not to direct anyone to Elgon hall where the conference was taking place unless the person had been cleared. This would have required a phone call from the organisers.
The Minister said the hotel’s management apologised for hosting the event.
The two weeks residential conference attracted 30 participants and was supposed to close on August 29 16 with an evening barbecue at the hotel’s poolside.
Participants had come in from Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Some were university students mostly from Kyambogo university in Uganda.
At least five staff of the project were detained alongside 12 of the workshop participants while others escaped after being tipped off about the police raid.
One of those who managed to escape, a one Kissiti Rogers said most participants had already arrived, but after learning of the police raid, it was only someone’s legs that could save him/her.
“I had come to attend this meeting, but I was shocked that police came to arrest us, even some of my colleagues (Julius Itungo, Moses Baryeku and David Agaba) whom I came with have been taken, I don’t even know to which police station have been taken,” Kissit said.
According to the anti-homosexuality law in Uganda, anyone who is convicted of being a gay is liable for either life imprisonment or death sentence.