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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 4, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 05
Ugandan activists commemorate David Kato
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Ugandan activists commemorate David Kato

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Human rights activists in Uganda commemorated David Kato on the first anniversary of his murder, January 26.

In the United States, NoMoreDownLow.TV correspondent Mark Noble also observed the occasion with a special program on Kato's murder including interviews with former Secretary of State Colin Powell and TV star Phylicia Rashad.

Kato, a founder of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), was found bludgeoned to death in his home shortly after winning a lawsuit against a local tabloid which published his name and photograph, identifying him as Gay and calling for him to be hanged.

In November 2011 Enoch Nsubuga admitted beating Kato to death with a hammer and received a 30-year jail sentence. Nsubuga claimed that he was defending himself from unwanted sexual advances.

U.S. activist Melanie Nathan told the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News that in spite of the jail sentence, the trial amounted to 'a cover-up of the actual facts and events leading up to Kato's brutal murder.'

Gay rights activists speaking at the event called Kato 'the godfather' of the Ugandan Gay movement and said that his death left a huge void in the life of the country's LGBT community.

'He always looked out for all of us even at times when we thought it was too difficult,' SMUG director Frank Mugisha said at the commemoration, held in Uganda's capital, Kampala.

Kato family members at the event spoke of the support that they had received from activists both in Uganda and the international community following his death.

'It is not easy when a loved one dies but thanks to all the friends inside and outside Uganda who worked with David... when I get down they lift me up and help me,' said Nalongo Kisule, Kato's mother.

International human rights supporters also attended the event, and pledged to help defeat the law pending in Uganda's parliament authorizing the death penalty for Gay people.

'We will not be crushed by the ['Kill the Gays'] bill, we will not be crushed by other people's fears,' John Talton, a pastor from the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries in the U.S., said.

On Noble's TV show, Powell echoed recent statements by current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

'First and foremost, we can give a message to the rest of the world that human rights are important, and human rights everywhere in the world are part of American foreign policy,' he said.

Rashad told Noble she spoke as a mother.

'Mothers need to advocate for the rights of Gay babies,' she said.

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