PRESS STATEMENT; INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2023
08th March is internationally recognized as International Women’s Day; a day aimed at appreciating the steps taken towards gender equality and to bring all fighters back to the drawing board to restrategize. This year’s theme, “Embrace equity,” speaks loudly especially across the African continent as there has been a wide spread rise of homophobia and sexism.
Just yesterday, Uganda was set to have the Anti-Homosexuality Bill presented to parliament for the first time but this was not possible off a technicality. The speaker of Parliament, Anita Annet Among voiced her disappointed in the August House’s failure to over look the technicality and read the bill because according to her the situation is dire. The bill in question criminalizes the mere existence of homosexuals; where is the equity? Legislators in Kenya have been debating the same issue since last month and their position is not far from that of their Ugandan counterparts. In neighborhood Zambia, an organized peaceful demonstration by feminists against rape was halted by police and organizers arrested. The police claimed it was because the march was illegal and allegedly promoting homosexuality.
Where then is the equity that duty bearers are meant to uphold? Equity by definition is the quality of being fair and impartial. Is there fairness in criminalizing a part of the population simply for existing? Is there fairness to Ugandans as legislators spend tax payer funds policing what two consenting adults do in the discretion of their bedrooms? What happens to all those child molestation cases that go unsolved; where is equity for the victims?
If you are on the fence about this and wonder where you fall, if not for justice; refuse this bill because like the kids say these days, it will be catching strays! Landlords , medical workers, journalists, are to be affected under this new law. If you still assume this has nothing to do with you, think of how many people will actually weaponize this law for selfish gain and wonder if you can be certain that you will not fall victim to this.
Contrary to what the antigay propagandists and its proponents are peddling, no one is after children! What human rights defenders are fighting for is simply that, human rights! All rights provided for as an entitlement of all Ugandans as clearly stated in Chapter 4 of the constitution. This is what embracing equity means; treating all parts of the population with fairness and impartiality. As we celebrate Women’s day 2023, it is important for us to reflect on the gaps to equity and the role each of us can play to bridge these gaps.