Last Word: Caught in the Act

This play was originally printed in The Africa Report’s February-March 2010 edition

SCENE: Courtroom in Kampala, September 2010

Defendants: Ten university students: six men, four women. One business owner, a middle-aged woman

Prosecutor: May it please the Court.

Defendants are charged under Section 195 of Uganda’s Penal Code with:

  • conspiracy to engage in homosexuality;
  • promoting homosexuality;
  • operating a brothel for homosexuality;
  • failure to disclose homosexuality;
  • aidingandabettinghomosexuality;
  • terrorism; sedition;
  • the eating of swine;
  • the shaving of beards;
  • wearing cloth of two fabrics – all abominations unto the Lord.

I beg your pardon, Your Honour. Yes, I understand. The laws of Uganda, not the laws of Leviticus. I withdraw the last three charges.

Defendant Eleven, Your Honour? She is the owner and operator of the brothel, which fronts as Cybersweet Café. Acting on information from a concerned citizen, Pastor Gideon Musoke, police raided Cybersweet Café on 2 April 2010. They found the
defendants in the act.

No, Your Honour, not actually doing … the thing. But printing pornographic materials promoting it. Exhibits A, B, and C. I draw Your Honour’s attention to the titles of these pamphlets. All code language for homosexual acts:

  • ‘Electoral Reform – 2011 Too Late’,
  • ‘Soldiers Belong In Barracks – Not At Ballots’
  • and ‘Yes She Can – Put Women In Parliament!’

I further present Exhibits D, E, F, found in defendants’ bags. Books promoting homosexuality by William Shakespeare, Wole Soyinka, Dennis Brutus.

Exhibit G: Found on Defendant Seven’s person. A copy of the Holy Bible which falls open instantly to I Samuel 20:41: “David bowed before Jonathan … they kissed each other … until David became great.”

Finally Your Honour, an affidavit from our informant, Pastor Gideon Musoke. The defendants corrupted his two-year-old son, playing with him at Cybersweet Café. Since that assault, the boy has become gay. He cries like a girl. He plays with his mother’s bracelets.

No, Your Honour, I did not know Pastor Musoke appeared before this court last year. Defiling a 12-year-old girl? The daughter of Defendant Eleven? The burden of the Lord’s work takes its toll. I will pray for him.

Your Honour, the case is clear cut. Not all dissidents are gay. But all gays are dissidents.

All sodomites are criminals. But not all criminals are sodomites. Not all terrorists are homosexuals. But all homosexuals are terrorists.

They cannot live among us as homosexuals. They cannot live among us. They cannot live.


Shailja Patel is a Kenyan poet, writer and activist

Copyright Shailja Patel, 2010. All rights reserved.

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