Kato’s killing ‘not related to gay rights’

Police in Uganda have arrested a man for the murder of activist David Kato, saying the killing was not related to his campaign for gay rights.

Enock Nsubuga was arrested on Wednesday last week in Mukono, outside Kampala, not far from where Kato was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in his home.

A police spokesperson said Nsubuga’s confession proved the killing was unrelated to Kato’s campaign against homophobia in Uganda.

“It wasn’t a robbery and it wasn’t because Kato was an activist,” police spokesperson Vincent Ssetake told Reuters. “It was a personal disagreement, but I can’t say more than that.”

Police initially claimed that the motive was theft, a hasty conclusion that left many of Kato’s friends and colleagues suspicious of a cover-up.

Following the news of Nsubuga’s arrest, a gay activist in Kampala who asked not to be named said he was sceptical about the latest claim.

The murder attracted condemnation around with world, with United States President Barack Obama and the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, among those who have called for a thorough investigation.

Kato was one of the few openly gay men in Uganda and one of the fiercest critics of the anti-homosexuality Bill currently before Parliament.

Inspired by local evangelical preachers, the legislation proposes locking up gay people for life, with repeat offenders sentenced to death.

Kato (46) was a clear target of that animosity.

In October last year his photograph appeared on the cover of the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone, under the sub-headline “hang them”.

In early January Kato and two fellow activists from Sexual Minorities Uganda, where he worked, obtained a permanent injunction stopping the newspaper identifying any more gay people. They also won modest damages. Kato told friends he had received threats since the verdict. — Guardian News & Media 2011

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