Mon Weekly Brief: Apenyo on Al Jazeera, cabinet, and Lokodo on sex work

Welcome to this week’s edition of our weekly round-up of the main happenings in the Ugandan women’s world!

It has been a great week. Leading up to Women’s Day, there has been incredible coverage of women’s contribution to the country and to the world. We started with the International Writers Week where we unashamedly stalked everything on the hashtag #AWTConference2015. The women writers were amazing.

Nobert Mao went on record endorsing Stella Namulindwa for the office of Makerere University Guild Presidency. “Vote her and she will represent you effectively,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

President Yoweri Museveni announced a new cabinet. Remember the one where a woman was at the head of each of the major ministries: Trade, Energy, Finance, Health? It was not like that. Hon. Karooro Okurut was moved to Ministry of Security and the new Minister of Gender, after Parliament approval, will be Muruli Mukasa. He is the second man to lead the ministry. Ronald Kibuule left the Ministry, but not the cabinet. His position will have Evelyn Anite.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja declared their wealth. After thinking that pictures of Speaker Kadaga with ICC Prosecutor Bensouda were a favorite, we decided Kadaga and Mulyagonja was it.

Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Father Simon Lokodo, has started a war on sex work. Speaking at the Uganda Media Center, Fr. Lokodo said he was looking into suspending shows like NTV Uganda’s “Be My Date” and Bukedde’s “Abanoonya”, calling them forms of sex work.

Four things elsewhere that made our internets smile

Mildred Apenyo featured in Al Jazeera’s What Women Want. The recent Al Jazeera magazine asked women around the world what they wanted. Ugandan photojournalist Edward Echwalu spoke to Mildred Apenyo of FitClique Africa about street harassment and women’s body ownership. It’s a digital magazine, get it.

Women in Public Service Institute. We spoke to Prossy Kawala about WPS Institute, and women in media before the institute began at Entusi in Kabale on Friday. And since then, they have filled the internets with wonderful quotes from the events there. Be sure to follow them on @wpsuganda or the livestream.

Women of Uganda Network’s #ICT4Women. WOUGNET with Unwanted Witness, organized a Twitterthon on #ICT4Women. They talked about what ICT meant to women in Uganda; access, education, advocacy, privacy and legalities.

Behind Her Smile blogs. Martha Kagimba of Martha Kay Photography has consistently interviewed and blogged about women, in a series she called “Behind Her Smile”. This week, she posted her seventh where she interviewed Becky Nantale of Power FM.

Stories we are keeping an eye on

Muruli Mukasa appointed Minister of Gender. The Ministry of Gender is more than just Gender. It is the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development but it has almost always been headed by a woman. This appointment will see the second man (after Tarsis Kabwengyere) to lead the minister.

Fr. Lokodo’s crackdown on sex work. Fr. Lokodo is very hard to ignore because he is part of the government and his views have an actual impact on how we live our lives. The sex workers’ organisation has spoken out. With the prisons overcrowded and the judiciary dealing with a backlog, we shall be watching what all the arrests will mean. (Aside: Audio on sex slavery in Uganda.)

A national strategy on GBV? On Tuesday, Minister of Gender Hon. Karooro Okurut wrote an Op-Ed in the New Vision where she spoke strongly against Gender-Based Violence and called for a National Strategy. She wrote, “A well-coordinated national strategy to address GBV is a must. There must be ways of enhancing the legal, medical and social services to cope with the already acknowledged high prevalence of GBV.” If there be a way, a Minister (a.k.a the Government) shall find it as long as they feel this strongly about it.

Happy Women’s Day! Please send any news, comments and suggestions to 256woman@gmail.com You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the week.

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