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No, image of Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine in front of gay rights banner has been doctored

IN SHORT: Gay rights are controversial in Uganda, where homosexuality is outlawed. An image that seems to show a popular opposition leader in the country supporting LGBTQI rights has been altered.

An image doing the rounds on Facebook shows Ugandan opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, standing in front of a banner that seemingly promotes LGBTQI rights in Africa.

LGBTQI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex.

The banner reads: “#HomosexualRights #with Africa I SUPPORT LGBTQ RIGHTS LGBT.”

It shows a map of Africa and the distinctive colours of the pride flag – as well as the logo of the National Unity Platform (NUP), the political party Wine leads

Wine vied for the presidency in 2021 on an NUP party ticket but lost to president Yoweri Museveni. He has repeatedly accused Museveni and the ruling party of violating human rights.

The image’s caption makes several allegations. They include:

  • That Wine and unnamed “Italian gay activists” are behind “escalating homosexuality in Ugandan schools
  • That the opposition leader signed an agreement to promote gay rights globally
  • That Wine accepted an ambassadorial role to promote gay rights  
  • That he had received “huge funding” to target vulnerable teenagers. In the claim, this was attributed to “a source close to Bobi Wine who preferred anonymity”. 

In Uganda, it’s illegal to have sex with people of the same sex. In 2013 the country passed an “anti-homosexuality” law that was later overturned by the constitutional court.

But in 2021, the Ugandan parliament passed the controversial sexual offences bill criminalising same-sex relationships. 

So does the image really show Bobi Wine at an event supporting LGBTQI rights in Africa? We checked.


‘Ignore & treat with contempt!’

In past media interviews, Wine has brushed off questions on LGBTQI issues.

He has been reported as saying that he believes “one has the responsibility of guarding the rights of all citizens of those who are like you and those that are not like you”.

A change in his stance on gay rights would have attracted media coverage. But we found no credible media reports of it.

A Google reverse search of the image led to a video posted on Facebook on 9 February 2022 where Wine is being interviewed by the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European parliament.

There is a banner in the background, but it only shows the map of Africa. There’s no LGBTQI flag or symbols.

On 8 February 2023 Wine posted the image on his verified Twitter account, stamped “FAKE”. 

Next to it is a photo, stamped “ORIGINAL”, in which the banner only shows a map of Africa and the hashtag #withAfrica. 

Wine tweeted

Whenever confronted about its grave human rights record and the great harm it has done to our country, the Museveni criminal regime resorts to blackmail! Paid propagandists spend countless hours faking & spreading such images to drive a known agenda! Ignore & treat with contempt!

No amount of lies or blackmail will deter us in our quest for a better country that guarantees the rule of law, respect for human rights, proper education, better hospitals, good roads, and a prosperous future.

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