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Gays decry marginalization

06 February 2015, 09:51 Godfrey Olukya

Kampala - The gays community in Uganda who also subscribe to Key Affected Population (KAPs) groups in Uganda on Thursday lashed the unfortunate move by Uganda Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) to block sexual and gender minorities from representation in the CCM.

The activists meeting Thursday morning in Kampala observed that the Global Fund in Uganda had exhibited “unacceptable hypocrisy and prejudice” by insisting on imposing representatives on KAPs, despite an earlier arrangement to have functional direct representation.

The activists have written to the CCM secretariat expressing their dissatisfaction with the biased and unrepresentative manner in which the elections were arranged.

“We have chosen not to participate in today’s CCM KAP representatives elections because it has been stage managed and we cannot henceforth be part of a process that continuously seeks to undermine and intimidate us,” Pepe Julian Onziema, the Programmes and Advocacy Director at Sex Minorities Uganda (SMUG).

She noted that it was inconceivable that the CCM chairperson, Professor Nantulya who is a highly respected and liberal minded person 'should go against the principles agreed upon and demand we participate in another sham and flawed election'.

Activists accused the Uganda CCM for imposing MARPS Network Secretariat to forcefully represent them despite an overwhelming conflict of interest.

Moses Kimbugwe, the Programmes Manager at Spectrum Uganda added: “The December 2014 elections were nullified due to complaints of conflict of interest on the side of MARPS network. We agreed with CCM in a meeting whose minutes can be availed that a neutral party, say CCM who have no direct benefit from the results of the election convene and supervise the election.”

“We could not participate in a flawed election. Conflict of interest and integrity issues have come up often concerning MARPS network. However, Uganda CCM insists on imposing an institution we cannot trust,.” Kimbugwe said.

Beyonce Karungi, a nominee to the CCM electoral college remarked: "Even the deaf and blind can use sign language. CCM Uganda cannot continue to undermine us as gender and sexual minorities. To say we are not of age to understand HIV related policy issues is an insult," she added.

Dr. Frank Mugisha, the Executive Director of SMUG said, “Uganda cannot get to zero new infections with a fixed mindset that alienates some part of the population based on who they are."

He noted that although an electoral college had been agreed upon a composition of 40 delegates, CCM Uganda did not honor the due process by conducting the elections.

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