The Ugandan government and human rights groups have expressed concern that people are deceiving Western countries by pretending to be gay in order to seek asylum.
Albert Were, a criminal investigator, said at least ten Ugandan men had returned home with their wives and children in the past six months. Everyone had taken refuge in the West a decade ago, claiming to be gay.
Human rights activist Maurice Kiwalaga described the trend as disruptive, saying it was unfortunate and could affect the prospects for real homosexuals. Foreign Minister Gen. Jeje Odongo said that it has come to the government’s knowledge that many people who have sought asylum in many Western countries in recent years under the pretext of being gay have married and had children.
“These Ugandans who went out under the pretext of being gay. Now their lies will catch up with them, because when they settle, they ask to bring their wives and children,” he said. “It is unfortunate that some people who are not gay pretend to be gay so that they can get citizenship in countries that sympathize with them. Such people will make developed countries lose the trust of all Africans,” Kiwalaga said.
In a statement to the Anadolu Agency (AA), Ugandan pastor Solomon Male said that a large number of those who sought asylum under the pretext of being gay were false.
“All of these are economic homosexuals. Homosexuality is a business for most Ugandans who claim to be homosexual. It’s all about getting money. Some people earn by calling themselves homosexuals or working with organizations that deal with them,” he said.
Lawyers make money
Male claimed that some prominent lawyers made a lot of money by preparing false documents for these people. He said that it has become the easiest way to get a visa for any European country, by claiming to be gay.
“When I wanted to get a visa to Sweden 10 years ago, I told them I was gay. They gave me the visa. But now they are a little strict. They have learned that people fake fake homosexuals,” said a Ugandan, on condition of anonymity. He lived in Sweden, got married and has several children. “I now want to return and take the family to Uganda,” he said.
But Frank Mugisha, head of the Sexual Minorities Uganda, the country’s most prominent LGBT rights group, said there was nothing surprising about homosexuals marrying and having children.
“Someone can be sexually straight today and then the next day he can be gay and vice versa,” he said. “Because they are leaving Uganda as gay after being persecuted by (the state) and Ugandans, they want to come back as different people who are no longer gay. The fact that the laws against homosexuals still exist makes them come back with wives and children for to live freely, he says.
Asked about the number of people who may have fled the country, he said at one point that 800 homosexuals left the country and were rehabilitated at the Kakuma camp in Kenya from where they went to other countries.
Stanley Waibale, a prominent gay activist in eastern Uganda, said that in his region, at least 15 people migrate to the United States and Europe each year.
Thomas Baliluno, the leading National Resistance Movement leader, said that although there is a law against homosexuality in the country, where if a convict can be sentenced to life imprisonment, there is no law that prevents them from marrying and having children.
“So if they go out as homosexuals and return with wives and children, we should welcome them because it indicates that they are no longer practicing vice,” he said.
A car mechanic in Uganda’s capital Kampala, while defending people who use tricks to go to the west for better opportunities, said they have to do so because there are no jobs in the country. Shiek Karim Nkwanga, an imam from the Kitida mosque in the Iganga district, called on the government to create jobs so that people are not forced to resort to such tricks to get out of the country.