After a male Minister and Member of Parliament punched a female journalist on her lower abdomen, Isis-WICCE joined women’s organizations and the media in Uganda to submit a petition to the Deputy Speaker of Parliament. The incident, filmed on camera, happened at the Anti-Corruption Court where the minister is being tried for corruption. The journalist has since settled out of court and received an apology from the minister. However, the women’s movement in Uganda is looking at the bigger picture. ‘For us this action is an attack on the sexuality of a woman. If the female journalist who was boxed was pregnant, what would have happened? This is violence against women,’ said Margaret Sentamu, the Director of Uganda Media Women Association.
The petitioning group also questioned the safety and security of journalists while on duty. This follows several cases of journalists on duty facing harassment and intimidation especially from the security . “We don’t want to stop at personal apology because this was an attack on media freedom and an attack on young women who would want to become journalists” Sentamu added.
The petitioning group called upon the deputy speaker of Parliament to make sure that he is disciplined and makes a public apology to the women and the general public.Deputy Speaker Hon Jacob Oulanya acknowledged that the incident is regrettable and described the apology as an admission of guilt and the beginning of taking full responsibility for the action.
As a remedy, he proposed that the Minister/Member of Parliament makes a personal statement and apology to the parliament and general public. The deputy speaker reiterated that this is violence against women and an attack on their sexuality. He committed to ensure a fair conclusion of the matter in a manner that will bring peace to the aggrieved journalist and the public.