Uganda has a Ministry of Ethics and Integrity, headed by a defrocked Catholic priest called Simon Lokodo. He was defrocked by the Catholic Church because he joined active politics against express orders not to do so.
There are, however, two odd elements to this ministry. The first and most obvious one is that the location of its offices seems to be a secret. The Ministry of Health’s headquarters are in Nakasero, near Mulago Hospital, the country’s leading referral medical facility. The Ministry of Finance and that of Foreign Affairs sit next to each other, across the street from the Houses of Parliament. The Ministry of Agriculture is embroiled in a corruption scandal, but we know it is in Nakasero and is about to be re-located back to its old home in Entebbe because they have run out of money to pay the exorbitant rents they signed up to.
The Ministry of Ethics and Integrity has no offices that you can walk into and ask questions. If you try to get access to their location, you are directed to call, make an appointment etc. so that they tell you where you can find them.
Secondly, you will not find, if you look for them, the terms of reference for Uganda’s Ministry of Ethics and Integrity. That means that the minister of Integrity can, more or less, do as he pleases.
And that is exactly what the ministers who have led this ministry have essentially been doing. They have acted as investigator, the police, judge, jury, executioner, seemingly with total impunity.
That makes a ministry without an office, without a staff that anyone can name (apart from the minister, of course) something akin to a Gestapo intelligence unit; accountable to no one, capable of launching forays into any establishment and accusing occupants of anything it wants, holding press conferences and claiming to have all sorts of evidence (adduced by itself of course) about anti-state activities … and getting away with it because no one really knows what it should be doing, how it operates, who it reports to, and there seems to be no avenue to question it.
Like his predecessor, James Hornsleth Nsaba-Buturo, Simon Lokodo can basically do as he pleases, just like a Gestapo official.
And doing as he pleases he is.
Check him out driving 30 miles to a public hotel and forcibly shutting down a human rights meeting - on just his personal whim. A few days ago, he did it again, this time shutting down an LGBT meeting organized in a Kampala suburb – because it was “engaged in illegal activity.” At no point, however, has Minister Lokodo attempted to explain what illegal activity was taking place. He has glibly mentioned “promotion of homosexuality.” Even if that was what the meeting was about, which it wasn’t, there is no specific law (yet) in Uganda against “promotion of homosexuality.”
You will not see Lokodo called to Parliament to explain his actions. Yes, homosexual sex is illegal in Uganda but isn’t it curious to any parliamentarian that Lokodo is now behaving as though being homosexual and/or discussion of gay issues is also illegal?
Even David Bahati‘s Nazi anti-gay bill that seeks to turn parents, teachers, counselors and doctors into gay informers, has not yet been passed into law. On what basis, then, is Lokodo personally breaking up LGBTI meetings with brute force, and manhandling participants out of their hotel rooms?
- Uganda to ban 38 groups that promote gay rights (76crimes.com)
- Ugandan pro-gay groups face ban (bbc.co.uk)
- Uganda bans 38 organisations accused of ‘promoting homosexuality’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Uganda president: I’ll block ‘Kill the Gays’ bill (76crimes.com)