By Jude Kafuuma
Father Anthony Musaala, the Catholic priest implicated in homosexuality, has been defended by his parish priest who described him as a â€œholy man of God.â€
Father Francis Ssemuddu, the head of St. Matia Mulumba parish in Old Kampala, said the accusations â€œwere untrueâ€.
Ssemuddu said the church was clear about aberrant sexual practices and how to guide offenders get out of â€œthe abnormal behaviourâ€.
Musaala, the charismatic preacher and gospel music award winner, was on Tuesday accused by a self-confessed former homosexual of eight years of promoting the illegal practice. Paul Kagaba said the priest had often held parties for the gays at his residence in Gayaza near Kampala.
But the parish priest said the house was not Musaalaâ€™s residence. â€œHe only inherited his parentsâ€™ property, renovated the home and constructed a small house where he rests when he visits his relatives,â€ said Ssemuddu.
He added that the youth hold parties at Musaalaâ€™s home which has a bigger compound than that of the parish at Old Kampala. â€œI know the home. I have been there several times,â€ the priest said.
He said Musaalaâ€™s parents were buried there and that Musaala was taking care of the place. â€œThere is nothing wrong with that,â€ he argued.
Musaala said the house is situated in Luteete, 7km on Gayaza Road, but he had never held gay parties there. He said the house has beautiful gardens for parties, retreats and other functions.
â€œI prepared this place for people who want to have retreats in a quiet environment but I have never held any gay parties,â€ said Musaala.
Asked to comment, Monsignor John Wynand Katende, the spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Kampala, said the newspaper had taken the right decision to get Musaalaâ€™s views before publishing the story. The New Vision broke the story yesterday.
Musaala argued that as a church minister, he had given spiritual guidance to homosexuals, lesbians and prostitutes since 1999, but he was not gay himself. â€œBut ethically, I cannot name them,â€ he said.
Explaining why people take to homosexuality, the dancing priest, as he is sometimes called, blamed the desire for money and â€œinherent feelings that drive themâ€.
His involvement, he said, was limited to helping the gay abandon the practice some of whom â€œwant to commit suicideâ€.
â€œI want to show them the true path to salvation,â€ he said. â€œThis is a journey that requires someone to walk with as a guide.â€
â€œThese people are stigmatised and I am totally against this because they need our help,â€ said Musaala.
Quoting the Catholic Church rules, Musaala described homosexuality as a â€œdisorderâ€ and â€œa trialâ€ for those involved. â€œThey must be accepted with respect, compassion and responsibility,â€ he quoted the rules. â€œEvery sign of their discrimination should be avoided.â€
He said he was simply implementing the text â€œbut the problem is that in doing so, the public understands me differentlyâ€.
At Parliament, MPs criticised the Government for allowing self-confessed homosexuals to address a press conference and promote their activities. The conference took place at the Metropole Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday.
Latif Sebaggala (DP) said the Government was tolerant because donors had threatened to cut funding if homosexuals were stopped. â€œWe are worried about our children. If the Government is silent, it means it is silent approval,â€ he said.
Henry Banyenzaki (NRM) blamed poor enforcement of laws which he said had escalated homosexuality, rape, defilement and child sacrifice. In reply, Daudi Migereko, the Government chief whip, argued that anybody was free to hold a press conference without permission from the Government.
However, he said, by doing so, the gays had exposed themselves and the Government would go after them.â€œHomosexuality is illegal. The Minister of Ethics, Dr. Nsaba Buturo, has been clear on the matter. Those involved will face the long arm of the law,â€ he said.
Henry Kajura, the second deputy Prime Minister, said the Government would not compromise on moral and cultural values because of donor pressure.
â€œThe Government will soon show its teeth,â€ he warned. â€œOur society abhors homosexuality.â€