In Memory of Rev. Patrick Leuben Mukajanga

The SERENE team is terribly saddened by the unexpected news that our partner and dear friend, Rev. Patrick Leuben Mukajanga, known by many as Mleuben Maccarthy, has suddenly and prematurely passed away.

On the morning of Saturday 1st August the news started to circulate across colleagues, organisations and activists who work for LGBT rights and affirmative religion in East Africa. They were all deeply distressed by the shocking news that Patrick has been victim of a motorcycle accident the night before. While he was riding home from Kampala to Ibanda town, his home town, he collided with another motorcycle. The night-time curfew imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda meant that help arrived too late. The vigil to commemorate Patrick took place on Saturday night and the funeral on Sunday morning, both in Ibanda town, Western Uganda.

It is incredibly hard to believe that such a creative and energetic human being is no longer amongst us. Patrick’s life had such an impact on so many people. He was a poet, an LGBT activist, the minister of an affirming Pentecostal church, he ran an orphanage school in Kamwenge district, and through the organisation that he founded and led, St. Paul’s Voice Centre (SPAVOC), he collaborated and partnered with many national and international organisations and individuals.

He fought boldly and bravely for justice and human rights without letting intimidation and violence stop him – for example in 2013 when he was harassed and arrested by the police, or in 2016 when he was attacked by a mob for his activism for LGBT rights in Uganda. His answer to these negatives was always more action and kindness.

I will terribly miss his kind and loving text messages as well as the missed opportunities of working together towards our projects, including SERENE. But his example will keep guiding and motivating us to ‘fight for a better world’ as he often would say.

In saying farewell to their loved ones, the Romans used to say: Sit tibi terra levis. May the earth rest lightly on you, dear Patrick.

Barbara Bompani

Rev. Patrick Mukajanga and Dr Barbara Bompani, at a meeting in Kampala in 2019.