rainbow-coloured tower was removed from a children’s playground in Uganda after parents complained about its supposed pro-LGBTQ+ symbolism.
Fabrice Brad Rulinda, mayor of Entebbe, said the climbing frame had been painted as part of ‘a bid to refurbish the children’s park […] and create a safe environment for our children’.
He went on: ‘For years, the children of Uganda have only understood the rainbow as a beautiful arch of colours and biblically it reflects the majesty of God.
‘It is unfortunate that certain movements have decided to use the rainbow to represent and reflect certain acts that go against the norms of the people of Uganda.
“We recognise the challenging times in which we need to curb any vices that would corrupt the minds of our children and it is with that background that the concerns raised by the public were heeded to and the rainbow painting was removed from the children’s park.’
He added: ‘We appreciate the vigilance and the patriotism in protecting our heritage and the future of our country by protecting the children of the land.’
Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, a highly conservative, Christian-majority country, and punishable by up to seven years in prison.
MPs in 2013 attempted to pass a law that would have increased the potential sentence for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ to life imprisonment.
The bill was later struck down by the courts following widespread international outrage, with some countries threatening to withdraw aid to Uganda.
There have been no prosecutions for same-sex relationships in recent years, but the country’s government recently launched an initiative to investigate the alleged promotion of LGBTQ+ rights in Ugandan schools.
The move followed after the regional government in Kasese, Western Uganda, attracted national ire for supposed plans to introduce legislation that would recognise the rights of sexual minorities.
Last year, authorities shut down Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a leading rights group in the country, over spurious claims the organisation was acting illegally.
SMUG had been active for almost fifteen years, with some of its notable successes including a court order obtained against a national newspaper in 2010 to prevent editors from publishing the names of gay Ugandan men under the headline ‘Hang Them.’
Responding to the recent decision by Entebbe authorities to remove the tower from the children’s playground, Emmanuel Mugabe, a representative of the National Parents’ Association of Uganda, told AFP: ‘We are happy the rainbow painting has been removed before we removed it ourselves.’
He further described the climbing frame’s colour-scheme as ‘satanic’ and warned that it signalled the ‘invasion of homosexuality through manipulation of children’s minds.’