The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has criticised the alleged assault of a female traffic police officer, Esther Namaganda by Uganda’s Ambassador to Burundi, Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza.
The Speaker said that the act was very unacceptable especially for a leader to descend on someone performing their duty.
“This lady was doing her job as a police officer and she should be applauded and promoted for doing her job despite the pressure being applied on her,” she added.
According to reports in the media, Namaganda attempted to stop the vehicle in which Maj Gen Kyaligonza was travelling after it made a U-turn in the middle of the road in breach of the traffic rules at a junction in Seeta, Mukono District.
The Speaker commended the move taken by the Military Police to arrest the two bodyguards who participated in the assault and prompted the Inspector General of Police to promote Namaganda for her resolve in doing her job.
Kadaga said this while receiving a petition from women activists protesting the assault on Namaganda and on a statement made by the Minister of State for Tourism, Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda referring to women as tourist attractions.
The Executive Director, Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), Rita Achiro said the Minister made statements which are a reversal in the strides made towards women’s rights and gender equality in Uganda.
“Such highly placed individuals should be at the front of promoting women rights instead of acting to the contrary and taking us backwards,” she said.
Achiro said that it was also disheartening to see another respectable member of society manhandling a female police officer on the streets.
“We want to see Parliament put its foot down and fight such derogatory language and acts of violence against women in the public sphere,” she said.
The leader of Women of Uganda, Angela Asiimwe added that they would like to call Hon. Kiwanda to order for the derogatory remarks on women.
“We condemn Hon. Kiwanda for saying that our naturally endowed and attractive women should be used as a strategy to promote our tourism industry,” Asiimwe said adding that it was a direct attack on women’s dignity.
She noted that the statement emphasizes long held patriarchal beliefs that women are commodities that can be bought and sold. Asiimwe said these statements advance gender based violence.
“We pray that you call upon Hon. Kiwanda to retract his derogatory remarks and he apologises to the women of Uganda and government of Uganda,” she said.
The Speaker said that anything pointing Uganda to sex tourism is unacceptable.
“You cannot attract people to come see the big buttocks of Ugandan women,” she added.
She noted that the leaders need to be constantly reminded of the obligations we have under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and promised to conduct an induction for the MPs.