4th September 2017 marked the discovery of yet another woman following a string of horrific women murders according to the government list. Having engaged with police, local leaders and MPs without satisfactory intervention, civil society today decided to wage war in a press statement concerning the murders.
The press conference which was held at Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA) offices in Bukoto gathered Sexual and Gender Based Activists from various civil society organizations such as AMwA, CEDOVIP, FOWODE etc. choosing to stand against the laxity of the government in responding to the deaths. The fact that it took almost 10 murders for the Minister of National Security and the Inspector General of Police to reach out to the affected areas yet terror attacks are addressed immediately is an indicator that women are not a priority in Uganda.
Today, women have lost faith in the government yet continue to be at risk and now live in fear of their lives. Some have even neglected their Income Generating Activities hence rendering them unable to cater for their needs. The fact that no efforts have been made by the government to support the families of the victims and also provide a clear security plan continues to agitate activists. Worse still, the president of the country, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, has not come out to say anything about these gruesome murders. In his report, Minister Jeje Odongo pinned the murders on illuminati which is an immense shame and further shows that there was no co-ordination between the police and the government.
As civil society, we stand with FIDA Uganda in demanding that government;
a) Declares a national day of mourning for the mothers and sisters who have been victims of these murders in addition to compensating families of the victims and offering supreme protection.
b) Publishes photos of the unclaimed bodies so their families can have them and accord them decent burials.
c) Provides adequate financial resources for Gender Based Violence interventions and provide a combined believable report as well as a clear security plan for the citizens of Uganda, more so the vulnerable women.
Failure to protect women will lead to public interest litigation. The government ought to use the same measure in protecting lives of Ugandans as it would to advocate for other issues of national importance.
This week starting Monday 18th-22nd September 2017 has been declared a week of mourning. There will be a vigil at the Uganda Museum on Thursday at 3pm in memory of our beloved mothers of the nation. We call on everyone to stand in solidarity with our beloved sisters as we collectively demand for greater accountability and respect for human rights of women in Uganda.