Imagine being unable to move around at liberty because you are afraid of being attacked or kidnapped, or murdered! Imagine not having the peace of mind to carry out your daily activities because you are thinking about the grief that will strike your relatives when they discover your body with sticks inserted in your vagina. Gruesome! For over a year, at least 42 Ugandan women had been found dead, strangled, with sticks in their vaginas, if not raped. Women had been reduced to market items with kidnappings for ransom being the order of the day in and around Kampala and no affirmative response from security agencies. The pleas for the state to offer women more security as they are seen as the easier targets fell on deaf ears and the perpetrators remain at large.
A citizen collective, the Women’s Protest Working Group, comprised of members of the Uganda Women’s Movement came together to organize a protest march in disapproval of the unresolved murders of women in the country. Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) in partnership with the Working Group organized a press conference on 29th June to raise awareness about the march and amplify demand for accountability from the State and call upon the government to stop trivializing the lives of Ugandan women and respect and protect their lives. The conference which was attended by activists and members from women’s rights organizations garnered coverage by both local and international media houses. Women in Uganda demanded the police set up a dedicated team to investigate the murders and kidnappings, and in a timely manner reports progress to the victims’ families and the general public to whom they are accountable; desist from blaming the victims or making excuses for their murders and deliver on its promise to set up a fully-fledged directorate to prioritize, prevent and deliver justice on gender based violence.
History was later made on 30th June when Ugandan women and their allies took to the streets of Kampala in a peaceful protest to demand action and accountability for the rampant kidnapping, brutalising and murder of women in the country. Hundreds stood on the right side of history as they added their voices to the cry for justice. The Uganda Women’s March started at Centenary Park and ended at the Railway Yard on Kampala Road.