BY OUR REPORTER
A man suspected to be a homosexual has gone into hiding following reports that security authorities in Mbarara are hunting for him to arrest him.
In what seems to be a case of “double jeopardy” some of the relatives and his former associates are reportedly baying for the blood of the now ‘fugitive’ discreetly referred to as LMK whom they accuse of indulging in what they call an abominable sin(read homosexuality).
A female adult (other names withheld for security reasons) who interestingly claims to be an official church-wed wife of the missing man, one Leonard discreetly known as LMK is worried about the fate and whereabouts of her 41-year husband.
She told our reporter that when she last saw him on October 16th 2016, he (her husband) looked worried and reportedly revealed that he feared for his life following reported incidents of harassment by security officials. The situation would according to the wife later get worse with increased threats from the community after it emerged that the reportedly hitherto introvert Leonard had turned into a bum driller (having sex with fellow men).
She further said that efforts to either talk to him on his known mobile phone contacts have not yielded any fruits as they are reportedly switched off for more than two weeks now.
It has also been established that the missing man who according to his wife has been living a ‘double life’ (engaged in both homosexual and heterosexual relationships) could not be traced from his other residential home in Kakoba suburb of Mbarara town.
The missing man was reportedly operations manager of a business in Mbarara town since 2013 where he used to spend most of his time and would occasionally visit his village home in Rwampara (about 15 miles away) where his family permanently lived.
Talking about her ordeal, the wife who looked shaken and held back tears as she narrated her story said that her husband has for a long time been denying being a gay until in July this year when I discovered that he is in a secret relationship with a gay man who lives in Kampala.
It was only when he started living a discreet life and spending many days in Mbarara and Kampala without coming home that I started getting worried until one day when I eavesdropped a conversation between a relative that worked and lived with him in Mbarara talking about his strange behaviour. The wife admitted that although it was painful and heartbreaking after she confirmed her man’s strange sexual orientation, she had to accept her fate after failing to dissuade her husband’s from what she thought was a “bizzare” and unfaithful relationship contrary to had for many years seemed to be a happy marriage.
“Some years, I became suspicious about his being involved in gay (homosexuality) activities when I found a romantic message in his phone from someone called John. When I asked him he denied but when he continued behaving strange and I also got some information from one of his workers at the shop in Mbarara, I informed his family and some of his friends”. She explained that when he was confronted by some family members about the allegations, he vehemently denied before he even vowed that he was going to wed me in church to prove his commitment.
“He indeed went ahead and wed me in church although it later turned out to be only a formality. He thereafter continued with his acts and became more detached from me. But I decided to remain strong as I prayed to God (in vain) for Devine intervention. He never changed at all except that he never abandoned our four children and he used to provide everything although he rarely slept at home unless on big occasions or when we had important visitors.”
Asked whether she had reported to Mbarara police or any other local authority about her missing husband, she said that she thought it would not help since he (her man) had even become an outcast both in the family and community who had at one time threatened to harm him because of become a disgrace.
She however could not reveal having witnessed any incident of the alleged harassment of her man by the government agents although she said that a few months before his disappearance, Lonard was living a sort of ‘fugitive’ life as he used to arrive at any of his different friend’s homes in Mbarara unannounced and spend days indoors without moving to work in town.
According to his wife, a relative who used to work and live with her husband in Mbarara once revealed to her that he was ‘too deeply’ involved with a middle–aged man whom he used to travel from Kampala to visit their Mbarara home every weekend and would share a bedroom with his boss (LMK).
In an attempt to verify the story, our writer rung the Mbarara district criminal intelligence officer TabanKiriga who said he was not aware of any case or arrest of any person involved in homosexual activities.
“I have just been away and I need time to check about these allegations of the reported harassment and detention (if any) of someone involved in homosexuality. All I can say for now is that the only case we have heard and got interested in was about some Secondary school male students in one of the government-aided high schools here in town where it was alleged some boys were involved in such activities. But even then, our primary investigations revealed that it could have been sheer malice and rivalry among the students.
He added that “ It should however be noted that The Ugandan Penal Code criminalizes same sex relationships and if proven may call for heavy and serious court action”
On her part, the Uganda Human Rights Commission official when asked whether they would be willing to handle such a complaint related to harassment due to the missing man’s alleged sexual orientation had this to say after requesting to remain anonymous; “Yes we can register and investigate the complaint but we would of course limit ourselves to what the Ugandan law books say about same sex relationships.
On the other hand, his case is not unique given the fact that a section of Ugandans have previously accused the government agents of harassment, illegal detention or torture. A few years ago, a meeting of a group of Ugandans and their international guests was disbanded by police on the reported orders of a minister in charge of Ethics and Integrity.
Relatedly, a Bill popularly known as “Bahati Bill” which was tabled in the Ugandan parliament about two years ago kicked off a storm and international attention when the majority of Ugandan law makers started warming up to push it through with intentions of criminalizing same sex relationships/acts by spelling out harsh penalties for the offenders.
Although the Bill was later shelved after an alleged “intervention and pressure from international powers” Ugandans who believe and practice same sex relationship have and continue being seen as outcasts and are usually haunted both in their communities and authorities.