This post was written by Godiva M. Akullo, a student of the law.
Ronald Kibuule, the State Minister for Youth and Children’s Affairs recently gained fame for a statement he made with regard to rape and the treatment of rape victims by the Police. He is quoted in the Daily Monitor of September 24th saying that if a womyn is raped, police should consider her dress code, and if she is dressed indecently, no arrest should be made. Her rapist gets to walk free. Indecent dressing, according to Kibuule, includes, “tight jeans, mini skirts and bikinis” and such dressing is “an open invite to rapists.”
Now the fact that this statement was made by a person designated as the Minister for Youth is in itself very disturbing. It displays not only ignorance of the law, but also an unabashed disregard for the welfare of the majority of the constituency whose affairs he is supposed to cater for as a minister.
The offense of Rape is provided for under s.123 of Uganda’s Penal Code Act which states that “any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a womyn or girl without her consent, or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats et cetera, commits a felony termed rape.” And that “a person convicted of rape is liable to suffer death.”
That is the letter of the law! Nowhere in this definition is reference made to the victim’s appearance or clothing.
Many people have spoken and written about the problem of victim blaming in rape cases and the humiliation womyn and girls who report rape cases have to face at the hands of ignorant police officers, family members, medical examiners among others; and how this makes it difficult for such womyn and girls to access justice. Kibuule’s statement was the epitome of victim blaming and in my opinion went beyond just that. His statements, in my opinion, amounted to incitement to rape, and incitement to commit an unlawful act is an offense under our Penal Code Act.
S.21(1) of the Penal Code Act provides that “when a person incites any other person to commit an offence punishable with death, whether or not any offense is committed in consequence of the incitement, he or she is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.”
The thing about the offence of incitement is that it does not matter whether or not anybody acts on the person’s incitement, provided it can be proved that you made a statement that encourages people to commit an offense (in this case rape) which is punishable by death, you are liable.
The Oxford dictionary definition of incite is “to encourage or stir up violent or unlawful behavior.” It is my assertion that in calling upon the police to release anyone charged with rape, if the victim was indecently dressed, and stating publicly that indecently dressed womyn are inviting rape, Kibuule is encouraging rapists to go out and rape ‘indecently dressed’ womyn.
It’s important to note that this is not the first time he has made such a statement, and even when called upon by the Speaker of Parliament to explain himself, he did neither denied nor apologised. Also, there is now an audio recording of what he said, so his denial would be pointless.
So while we call upon this man to resign (which clearly he does not plan on doing) we should also consider the possibility of a criminal prosecution. Rape is a terrible thing and for anyone to walk around encouraging it, whether he be a minister or not, is a problem. This is not about politics, this is about the safety of womyn and girls in Uganda, our mothers, our daughter, sisters and friends. This is also about violation of Uganda’s laws. Kibuule must not only go, he should be prosecuted for inciting sexual violence against womyn in Uganda.
*To access the cited Uganda’s Penal Code Act, go here: http://www.opm.go.ug/assets/media/resources/290/PENAL%20CODE%20ACT.pdf
*The use of the word “womyn” instead of “woman” is intentional.