By Florence Kyohagirwe (Kakatshozi)
The EA Scene woke up to news of what seems to be another attack on the Uganda LGBTQI+ community. The story was broken by city journalist Canary Mugume a few minutes past midnight on November 11th. The Uganda police, army officials, and Local Defense Units rounded off everyone at Ram Bar, one of the few existing LGBTQi+ friendly bars in Kampala for suspected involvement in narcotic drug use. The police then took bar revellers to Central Police Station.
Although not yet confirmed whether this arrest is related or one of the many other incidents in the past where police has shut down queer happenings, or related to a more recent incident where 16 LGBTQ+ activists were arrested on suspicion of gay sex, which is punishable by possible life imprisonment in Uganda if one is found guilty, Uganda Police has confirmed that 127 people were taken into custody this morning, 2 of them later released leaving 125 still behind bars and are expected to appear in court later today. According to a source, police claims the arrested were smoking banned substances. The pictures from the arrest show police officials carrying a pot of shisha, what looks to be weed joints and all revelers rounded off.
Controversy is surrounding the manner in which the people in custody were arrested, with some questioning why a whole bar would be rounded up simply because of a few people smoking weed or shisha. One source close to the community said, “They are saying the arrest is about narcotics in an unnamed bar and not mentioning that it’s a queer attack, but in a normal case where the motive of arrest is related to drug use, they arrest individuals that are involved, not sweeping up people and even worse, taking their pictures.”
This is a developing story and we shall keep you updated.