By Enyichukwu Enemanna
The Ugandan Government has announced the suspension of the operations of a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) which advocates for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) accusing it of operating illegally, a senior official says.
SMUG has for years championed the rights of LGBT people in Uganda, where homosexuality remains illegal and gay people face arrest, ostracism and violence.
SMUG’s operations have been suspended because “they were operating illegally,” Stephen Okello, who heads a government agency that regulates NGOs, said in a statement on Saturday.
“SMUG continues to operate without…a valid NGO permit,” he said, adding that the group’s operations had been suspended with immediate effect.
Uganda is a conservative and religious society where LGBT people face general hostility.
The country’s parliament once passed an anti-gay law that handed out life sentences for some categories of homosexual offences.
It was however struck down by a court which said it had been adopted without a parliamentary quorum.
President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power since 1986, had previously described homosexuality in Uganda as emblematic of the West’s “social imperialism” in Africa.