In the new trove of photos that captivated the public and drew a loud outcry weeks ago, two schoolgirls looked happy as they coupled up for their end-of-year dance at Vienna College. They are seen smiling ear-to-ear as they stood intimately side by side.
In another, two boys, arms intertwined, were in good spirits, as they readied themselves for the school dance. The photos stirred a fierce public debate about homosexuality in schools and loud calls for swift action.
The responses were swift from parents, parliament, the Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu), cultural leaders, and the Church of Uganda. Deputy speaker of parliament Thomas Tayebwa told parliament on January 25 that the country had to fight homosexuality to save humanity.
A parent used social media to describe in detail how a teacher at Kings College Buddo sodomized her son for four years.
The viral social media post said, “The teacher of Kings College Budo has been sodomizing my son for four years now. My son has problems going to the toilet. I took him to Mulago Hospital because I have a relative there. They found him with STIs commonly found in gay men. (...) My son said, ‘Mummy you remember when Mr Isa used to call you (and say) that I am no longer good; that I have become a bad boy; I was refusing to be with him’. What? I asked. ‘He wakes up and sleeps on us (sic).”
Rev. Nathan Mulondo, the secretary in charge of education at Namirembe Diocese, said the diocese, which is the founding body of Budo, had launched an investigation into the parent’s allegations.
“We have the information, and we’re trying to see how we go about it, first with the administrators and later with the committee of education. We have started the investigation. That is the practical thing we’re doing now,” Mulondo said.
Vienna College Namugongo also came under fire for letting a couple of same sex students walk hand in hand during the prom party. During the January 25 parliamentary plenary session, Tayebwa reported that he had received several accounts of homosexuality in Ugandan schools. Tayebwa said Ugandan schools had been infiltrated and had become recruitment centers.
He said, “...The education committee was assigned to study the issue of homosexuality in schools. Colleagues, I am getting painful, gruelling stories. When you talk to doctors, you know how deep it is. Many people are dying in silence. It seems our schools have been penetrated completely. Not only schools, but it also seems like recruitment centers are very open. It is extremely painful. We are extremely not in charge.”
“I talked to one student. He told me he could not move alone in the school compound. He is at a prominent male school in this country. He said he feared being grabbed and sodomized. Some of your children are dying in silence, and some of their parents are also dying in silence. The education committee—this is a matter you must give urgent priority. It is an issue that we must tackle head-on without fearing anyone. This is all that we have,” he said, adding, “The moment you finish our children, then we no longer have anything. I hope it can be quick so that we have enough space on the order paper. Members come in and we see how best we can support the government: whether to put more funding in patrolling these institutions, to retool or do whatever we can to ensure that we save humanity and our country.”
Sarah Opendi, the Tororo district woman MP, said stopping homosexuality in schools would need a united effort from MPs.
“Although the NGO board suspended activities of the Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), we now have another one that calls itself a consortium of these NGOs dealing with the same activity. The Ministry of Gender has been following up on these matters. There’s a matter in court regarding SMUG. Even courts are being threatened. The case cannot progress,” she said.
“This parliament must provide leadership. I want to invite colleagues not to shy away. It is a shame. I shared a video yesterday where schools in the UK are now supposed to teach children about homosexuality, and we have international schools in this country. The children that go to these international schools are our children. Isn’t this international curriculum indirectly introducing relationships education into our country?I want to request that a motion that is before you, Mr. speaker, be brought to us for debate. For humanity to go on, we can’t afford to have sinful children (sic). The police and the judiciary should come together, Mr. speaker. We even have sympathizers of these people (homosexuals) in this parliament,” Opendi added.
In the UK, the Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019, made under sections 34 and 35 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, make Relationships Education compulsory for all pupils receiving primary education and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory for all pupils receiving secondary education.
Section 31 of the statutory guidance for governing bodies, proprietors, head teachers, principals, senior leadership teams, and teachers released by the UK’s department for education as approved by the Secretary of State for Education recommends that “schools should be alive to issues such as everyday sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and gender stereotypes and take positive action to build a culture where these are not tolerated, and any occurrences are identified and tackled. Staff have an important role to play in modeling positive behaviours. School pastoral and behaviour policies should support all pupils,” the regulations read in part.
Commenting on the Budo incident, Dr Denis Mugimba, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Education and Sports, said the ministry is waiting for the police report.
“Since the headteacher of Kings College Budo reported the matter to police, investigations are underway. We are waiting for the outcome of the investigations,” he said.
On whether the Cambridge International School curriculum deployed in Uganda could have homosexual content, Mugimba said, “The UK curriculum is not the same as the Cambridge curriculum. Before any curriculum is deployed in Uganda, the national curriculum development centre (NCDC) must approve it. In the event that such content is in the curriculum, the NCDC would pull it out. However, if parents notice that this content is in the material that their children use for studying, let them report it to the authorities.
Interviewed for this story, Pastor Martin Sempa, the founder of Makerere Community Church, said homosexuality cases in schools were on the rise because most schools are businesses instead of custodians of people’s children. Sempa said several schools had decided to cover up homosexuality even when cases are reported.
“Several schools have become homosexual recruitment centers for young people. In most cases, the young lady or boy with so much money in school is linked to gay activities. There are several NGOs in Uganda like SMUG that have large sums of money dedicated towards these homosexual activities,” he said.
According to Sempa, four different mechanisms have been deployed to promote homosexuality in Uganda.
“They start with decriminalization and the removal of state funding and power from law enforcement agencies like the police and the judiciary from dealing with homosexuals. Tolerance and non-discrimination are encouraged. To further confuse people, homosexuality is then cloaked in the cause of equal opportunities. After all, this has been done, and it is then promoted in the form of affirmative action,” Sempa said.
He accused the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and the Uganda Media Council of abandoning their work.
“Since Hollywood movies have been weaponized, with most of them featuring gay scenes, UCC has not swung into action to limit this content. Instead, we have heard of protestations from broadcasters over UCC’s new regulations, which require broadcasters to commit to employing homosexuals in their places of work and not discriminate against them,” he said.
He emphasized that the 2014 annulment of Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law had opened a can of worms for the fight against homosexuality.
“Although the law was annulled due to pressure from the international community, the reasons for the establishment of the law were never addressed. Since then, there has been an underwave of guerrilla means to propagate and impose the sodomy culture in Uganda. When we made the first cry, several Ugandans pretended nothing was happening. The cultural kingdoms like the Buganda Kingdom, which have always been our rallying point, are silent on this moral issue. Whoever raises the subject in Mengo is silenced. Culture in Uganda is now used as a vehicle for promoting homosexuality. Cultural events like Nyege-Nyege, female deejays, prominent music artists, and fashionistas are used as icons of sodomy. Uganda lacks a fully-fledged state agency like a cabinet ministry in charge of marriage and the family. The family is reduced to a little-known department in the ministry of gender, yet the family is the major glue of society,” he added.
Sempa said most politicians and leaders do not have the backbone to stand up against the promoters of homosexuality.
“Most politicians live in fear and are afraid of speaking out against homosexuality. I have been vilified and called names for speaking out against homosexuality. I have also been bankrupted by several suits lodged against me by sodomy-linked NGOs for discriminating against homosexuals. I am not even allowed to travel to some countries because of my views against homosexuality in Uganda. We have not gotten any form of support from the government,” he said, adding that “The government of Uganda has failed to create a backbone to support any anti-homosexual endeavors. The government has failed to respond to the issue of donor-funded academics at universities like Makerere promoting homosexuality under the guise of gender studies. Universities are now used as indoctrination centres so that when young lawyers graduate, they are brainwashed into becoming advocates of homosexuality. These academics have now pushed to embed sodomy
within the women’s rights movement.”
Dr. Frank Mugisha, the executive director of SMUG, dismissed claims that he is bankrolling the recruitment of young people into homosexual activities. Mugisha said local politicians are using the homosexuality debate to garner political capital.
“They always pick homosexuality to stir anger within the population. This shall also end. I don’t have the money necessary for the recruitment of students into homosexual activities. Ugandans should be proud of me. I have improved the image of the country. I have made the international community appreciate that the country isn’t as homophobic as most people paint it to be”.
However, Pastor Solomon Male, the head of Arising for Christ Ministries, attributed the rise in homosexual tendencies in Uganda to factors within the environment.
“People are born either male or female. In some cases, however, individuals are born with gender abnormalities, and they turn out as intersex/hermaphroditic. No one is born gay. Several environmental factors push them to become gay. Some people are born and brought up in abusive families and relationships. When young people notice their father or mother is very violent at home, they hate anything to do with the opposite sex. To find peace, they decide to become homosexuals,” he said.
“I have always advised parents to never be brutal to their children. They could end up being pushed into being gay to avoid the recurrence of their childhood experiences. There are also bad experiences that have come out of heterosexual activities, most of which have pushed people into homosexual tendencies. In most cases, when a child is raped by someone of the opposite sex, they completely hate anything to do with the opposite sex. “There’s a presumption that they’ll find peace with people of the same gender,” Male explained.
Male noted that since some young people were sodomized as minors, they decided to become vengeful to push the pain forward. “This person sodomizing young boys is suffering from untreated trauma arising from sexual abuse. Most minors are sodomized by the people they trust. Most people I have helped attribute their homosexual tendencies to “the pain of being taken advantage of.”
“Every individual has aspirations that, if unfulfilled, lead them to be misled into homosexuality. Such kinds of people join to reap the ‘huge sums of money’ and free visas to travel across the world. It is absurd that they never see these visas and money when they join. Some leaders of civil society leaders have turned themselves into gay businessmen. They write proposals to reap from it under the pretext that they are advocates for gay people in Uganda. The unfortunate bit is that these civil society leaders are heterosexuals,” he said.
“Also, cases of monogamy and celibacy have contributed to the gay scourge. We have registered several cases of homosexuality among married people in monogamous marriages. When a woman is on her period or pregnant, the man still wishes to have sex with her. The man opts to have anal sex. This offends the dignity of the woman. To address this, one man should freely have more than one wife. Some religious people who live celibate lives are the major perpetrators of homosexuality. These priests take advantage of the vulnerable young boys that they look after to sodomize them,” he said.
“The membership of UNATU in Education International is to blame for these challenges in schools. Education International advocates for equity in society by advancing social justice and challenging all forms of discrimination, which includes homosexuality. I have raised these concerns to the Ministry of Education, but nothing has changed,” he said.
Education International is a global union federation of approximately 384 member organizations operating in 178 countries and territories across the globe. It represents over 32 million teachers and education support personnel staff from preschool through university. On its website, Education International lists equity and inclusion among its key priorities.
“We are fully committed to combating all forms of racism and bias or discrimination due to age, disability, ethnicity or indigeneity, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation; language; marital status; migratory status; political activism; religion; socio-economic status; trade union affiliation, among others. We are committed to addressing these forms of discrimination through an intersectional lens, which enables a deeper understanding of the complexities of lived experiences.”
Unatu’s secretary general, Filbert Baguma, stated that while the union is affiliated with Education International, it is not part of any homosexuality propagation agenda.
“It is true we are affiliated with Education International. It doesn’t mean we implement everything they do and believe in. Unatu respects our African and Christian values. We cannot be part of such hopelessness. When we are invited to Education International conferences to discuss such matters (homosexuality), we do not attend because we do not believe in them. Any teachers found propagating such very bad vices in our schools should be dealt with accordingly. We condemn all forms of homosexuality in our schools,” Baguma said.
In December 2022, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, threatened that the Church of Uganda would cut ties with the Church of England. Mugalu’s threat arose from the appointment of Dr. David Monteith, a person living in a same-sex partnership, as the dean of Canterbury Cathedral.
“We are soon disconnecting our- selves from The Church of England, which recently announced a gay per- son would become the dean of the cathedral in Canterbury, the mother of all cathedrals. That means that they have gone astray. We are soon disconnecting ourselves from them,” he said.
On February 9, 2023, the Church of England announced that its priests would be permitted to bless civil marriages of same-sex couples. The announcement followed a historic vote by its governing body. During the general synod for the Church of England, 250 people were in favour of the motion to bless same sex civil marriages, while 181 were against it.
Although the motion was intended to end years of painful divisions and disagreement over sexuality, the church could be getting further divided. In his February 10, 2023, homily, Archbishop Mugalu said the Church of England had departed from the Anglican faith.
He added, “If they want to take their whole church into the belly of a whale, they are free to do that; we are, after all, autonomous Anglican provinces. We think it’s a bad idea, but they are free to do it.”
Mugalu added that a 200-man delegation from Uganda would be heading to Kigali, Rwanda, in April 2023 for the fourth Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (Gafcon). Gafcon is a global network of conservative Anglican churches that was formed in 2008 in response to an ongoing theological crisis in the worldwide Angli- can Communion.
“We shall pray, and sit together, and discern the mind of Christ for the way forward. I ask your prayers for wisdom, for, indeed, we need the wisdom of Solomon to know how to faithfully respond to the crisis at hand,” he said.
He used the opportunity to remind teachers, students, and youth to beware of the well-funded gay organizations that are recruiting children into homosexuality. These organizations, he said, are not only operating in Kampala but across Uganda.
“They target our poverty and promise our youth money. To our youth – if someone invites you to a function and offers you a big transportation refund, those are probably bad people. Say “No” to it. If you have already been exploited/abused by such groups, please go to your bishop for prayer, support, and guidance. You will be received with love and compassion.”
“To our Head Teachers: If an organization is bringing money and resources to your school, or inviting your students to a function, do your research. Make sure you know who they are. My fellow Ugandans – we cannot serve God and money. Do not lose your soul because you think you will gain the whole world through the money, they offer you. Do not think you can take the money, but do not fall into their trap. “It’s a lie; you’re being exploited with that money,” Mugalu said in part of his speech.