David Kato, the advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda, was bludgeoned to death in Mukono, Kampala, yesterday afternoon. Witnesses saw a man fleeing the scene in a car, and police are investigating.
Along with other Ugandan gay activists, Kato had reported increased harassment since 3 January, when a high court judge granted a permanent injunction against the Rolling Stone tabloid newspaper, preventing it from identifying homosexuals in its pages.
Late last year, Kato had been pictured on the front page of an issue carrying the headline “Hang Them”. He was one of the three complainants in the court case.
“Since the ruling, David said people had been harassing him, and warning they would ‘deal with him,’” Julian Pepe Onziema, a close friend and fellow gay rights activist, said.
“We were due to meet yesterday [Wednesday] to discuss security arrangements, but he said he did not have money to get to town. A few hours after we spoke, his phone was off.”
Human Rights Watch said it was too early to speculate why Kato had been killed, but added that there were serious concerns about the level of protection of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Kampala.
Another stark example of right-wing terrorism.