While Uganda has had special seats for women since 1989 National Resistance Council elections, the women legislators have mostly shared the space with their male counterparts. This was the first time that the House was occupied by just women for the very first National Women’s Parliament.
It was organised by the Uganda Women Parliamentarian Association (UWOPA) and the women used the platform to several issues: laws passed that directly affect women, land issues and cultural practices like polygamy.
But someone still needs to explain to me why Tuesday’s New Vision had a picture of Kagezi with her children. Aren’t some of these children witnesses!? I have enough crime TV to even ask, shouldn’t they be under state protection- in safe houses with armed guards- until it is determined that there is no threat to their lives as well?
We have Mexico to thank for the existence of a Ministry whose job (in part) is to prioritise women’s issues in the country. While there were always fora like the Uganda Council of Women and the Young Christian Women’s Association pre-Mexico, women’s issues could not be filed under “Community Development” after the very first global meeting on the status of women. This was in Mexico, 1975. And while the global conversation has now moved to “HeForShe” and men engagement, it is mostly celebrity men speaking on women’s issues. Not men being appointed as Ministers of Gender.
Seriously, without ministering gender, how shall we identify those who have a God-given right to walk around bare-chested from those who must be stripped naked at the mere show of their knees? Those who play with toy cars from those who must only be interested in playing with dolls? The ones of high heels from those of flat, firmly grounded footwear? How shall we know who must be respected by default and who can only earn respect, if ever, by being passive and subordinate and beholden in their place, however oppressive? Most importantly, how can society continue to exist if we can’t tell the baby in pink from the one in blue?
In more recent news, we now have Patience Rubagumya taking the office of URA Commissioner Legal Services that was left vacant after Akol succeeded Kagina.
I want to be fair to all genders… but I must admit, I kind of like this URA succession.
Yes, I am working currently on a novel called Nnambi. I suspect that the title might change because while it plays with Nnambi the mythical figure, this is not her story and it is not in dialogue with the first novel but due to the oral traditions (as the first man and woman) there is a kind of conversation between the novels. The new novel is set between 1965 and 1983 without dealing with the history of the time. It is a feminist novel with capital F!
According to health workers here, matters are complicated by the fact that the kitchen-turned-maternity ward which handles up to 90 deliveries per month has neither doors nor windows and even then, it is too small and ill equipped to handle the numbers that turn up there.