By Herbert Ssempogo, Jeff Lule and Matthias Mazinga
Self-confessed former homosexuals yesterday accused a renown Catholic priest, Fr. Anthony Musaala, of being a homosexual.
Paul Kagaba, who says he was a homosexual for eight years, told a press conference in Kampala that Musaala, a gospel music award-winner, regularly holds parties for gays at his residence in Gayaza near Kampala.
He was speaking at the press conference which was held at the anti-gay crusader, Pastor Martin Ssempaâ€™s Redeemed Church at Makerere. In attendance was another self-confessed reformed homosexual, George â€˜Georginaâ€™ Oundo, and Pastor Solomon Male, an anti-gay activist.
Musaala, however, said the reports were intended to damage his image because he was a public figure. â€œWhatever they say, I am not gay and I will never be gay. I am only a minister of the Roman Catholic Church,â€ he said.
â€œYes, I have a private house in Gayaza. It is a beautiful house with gardens and I host there different kinds of parties. Different groups of people, especially those from my church, Old Kampala, also come for prayer and retreats. Basically, I use my house for prayers and retreats,â€ said Musaala. â€œI donâ€™t know why people say these are gay parties.â€ He said he had counselled and helped so many people since 1999 among them gays. â€œMay be it is this pastoral care that people are considering.â€
Musaala said it was unprofessional for anybody to make a public allegation without verification. â€œMany people make such accusations. This is neither the first nor the last.â€
â€œLet them say what they want. I will challenge the accusations as they come.â€
Musaala is renown for his moving sermons and gospel music. In 2007 he was the Pearl of Africa Music Award winner in the gospel category.
In his remarks, Kagaba also named an employee of a Kampala city hospital and a European residing on Entebbe road among the prominent gay promoters in the country.
A delegation of gay activists was expected in the country this month, Kagaba said, to hammer out a programme to finance their colleagues to get elected to Parliament in 2011.
Kagaba said as a homosexual he was a â€˜womanâ€™ and was lured into the practice in 2000 by a primary school head teacher in Masaka district.
Kagaba said he was introduced to Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjoâ€™s Integrity Uganda, an organisation which advocates gay rights. â€œI was given a job of publicity for the organisation.â€
He said his parents saw him on television advocating gay rights and advised him to quit. â€œI realised I was insane in whatever I was doing; I gave up homosexuality in 2008,â€ Kagaba said.
The group said some human rights and faith-based charities were also involved the promotion of homosexuality.
Oundo reaffirmed the statement he made last week that he had recruited students. â€œBut we are starting a campaign to move to those schools where we had recruited children and retract the lies,â€ Oundo said.
As they spoke, a group of self-confessed gays and lesbians, Jackline Kasha, Victor Mukasa and David Kisuule, addressed a press conference at the Metropole Hotel in Kampala.
They disowned Oundo and denied that their umbrella group, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), was recruiting school children into the vice.
â€œWe are responsible and law-abiding citizens. Homosexual Ugandans do not condone recruitment of people into homosexuality. We strongly and fiercely condemn it,â€ Jackline Kasha said reading a statement issued by a group called Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex.
â€œSexual orientation is not changeable. We are homosexuals and cannot change. In the same way, we cannot change heterosexuals into homosexuals,â€ Kasha argued.
Mukasa said the Government should investigate Oundoâ€™s claims and prosecute him since he had confessed to conscripting youngsters into the vice.
Although she admitted receiving funding from various organisations, Mukasa denied the money was for recruitment.