Image: AP/BBC News

Ugandan LGBTI activist David Kato killed

Published: Thursday 27 January, 2011

We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of David Kato, a courageous activist at the forefront of the LGBTI campaign in Uganda, and contributor to Henrietta Moore’s Modern Lives research project.

David was brutally murdered in his own home yesterday, Thursday 26th January. Although the motive for his killing is currently unclear, his death comes shortly after a Ugandan Supreme Court ruling upholding LGBTI rights to privacy and respect in Uganda. The case was brought after a Kampalan tabloid published the identities of “top homos” in Uganda, next to a headline calling for them to be hanged. David was one of those listed, and he and two other activists brought the case, which they won at the beginning of this month.

David had been receiving death threats since his name, photograph and address were published in the list in October last year. David was a leading figure in Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), one of the major activist groups in the country. Speaking about what this means in the fight for LGBTI equality, SMUG’s executive director, Frank Mugisha, made this statement: “No form of intimidation will stop our cause. The death of David will only be honored when the struggle for justice and equality is won.” For more information, visit the SMUG website:

David made an important contribution to the Modern Lives research on contemporary life in urban East Africa. One strand of the research works with LGBTI activists in Kampala, particularly in relation to the Ugandan ‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’ tabled in 2008. Modern Lives research coordinator Connie Smith says “David was a warm and generous man, who enthusiastically gave up his time to share with us his knowledge of and passion for LGBTI rights in Uganda as well as to assist the project in many practical ways. He will be greatly missed.” It was an honour to work with such a brave and committed campaigner for human dignity and respect. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Share this article:

Recent Posts

Time for a new prosperity, rooted in a symbiotic relationship with nature


The independent review on The Economics of Biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has now been delivered to the government. The report underlines our failure to grasp that our economies are “embedded within Nature, and not external to it.” We rely on nature to “provide us with food, water and shelter; regulate our climate and disease; maintain nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and provide us with spiritual fulfilment and opportunities for recreation and recuperation which can enhance our health and well-being.”

Read More

Co-designing solutions to Lebanon’s energy crisis


On 4 August 2020, a massive explosion at Beirut’s port killed at least 200 people and caused up to $15bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure – including the destruction of the public electricity company building. It was the latest blow for a country battling a 30-year energy crisis and facing chronic shortages as a result of an ageing infrastructure based around fossil fuels.

Read More

Reinvigorating local economies through Universal Basic Services, not income


In 1945, the UK’s welfare state was set up to address the want, need and misery caused by unemployment. Seventy-five years later, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had almost full employment in the UK – and yet we still have massive levels of poverty and precarity experienced by people in work.

Read More