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We need to be worried. This month alone, at least three cases of murder of university girls have been reported in the different parts of the country.

There is something peculiar about these deaths. The victims have been university students, raped before they were killed.

Many theories abound about these murders. Some have it that this is handwork of serial killers. Others attribute these deaths to crimes of passion.

They claim that the victims engage with multiple partners, take different men’s money and yet refuse to meet their side of bargain. In university speak, they are ‘detoothers’ or gold diggers, who take men’s money and refuse to sleep with them.

So, the disappointed men have decided to hire thugs to rape them and then finally kill them. Police has not confirmed any of these theories. But at one time, in the early 2000s, there was a serial killer who specialized in killing young women whom he would pick from bus stops or around universities.

However, as we are reeling from those worrying and shocking events of murder, an equally distasteful trend has emerged. An apparently long arm of moral police has been unofficially unleashed on the streets of Kampala – just like we were once surprised by the abrupt emergence of the infamous kiboko squad.

When government decided to bring the Anti-Pornography Bill, people labelled it miniskirt bill. And this because it originally had clauses which prohibited a person from wearing certain clothes which didn’t match up to certain lengths.

After deriding the clauses and a spirited fight from women activists, it appears the minister for Ethics and Integrity,  Fr Simon Lokodo, abandoned the offending clauses. The newly-signed Ant-Pornography Act has nothing to do with mini skirts. In fact the law defines, creates and prohibits the offence of pornography and in the offence, there is nothing like a prohibition of the wearing of miniskirts.

Despite absence of an elaborate law on miniskirts, a gang of zealots, especially boda boda men, street boys in downtown Kampala, together with the touts in the different taxi parks, have arrogated to themselves a duty to undress  girls or women they think have dressed inappropriately, or offend the  anti-pornography law.

When the Kabaka of Buganda visited Kayunga, a gang of young people nearly undressed a woman who, in their estimation, had inappropriately dressed as to offend the Buganda culture and presence of the king.  For them a proper dress code for such an occasion was a busuuti. Fortunately, some sober members of the crowd that had turned up to receive the Kabaka rescued her.

What is even more worrying about these disgusting acts of these  ‘puritans’ is the subtle support of the police officers. The recent case was that of a girl who was attacked by a gang of boda boda riders and other idle street boys at Mabirizi plaza. They tore her clothes, including her under  garments.

While all these were happening the police was looking on idly! They didn’t come to the rescue of the girl. The attackers claim that mini clothes offend the law (which law, I wonder) and their culture. Ironically, most of the cultures I know of this country emphasize respect for women. I am not aware of any culture, which recommends stripping a woman in the streets.

I would like to assume that since they did it in Kampala, then those whose culture was offended were Baganda. But the Baganda I know are so cultured and very respectful of women, in that if they felt offended, they would have given her another garment to cover the offending parts instead of stripping her.

So, I don’t believe that those ridiculous acts were representative of the Ganda culture. If anything, the culture of dressing from head to toe is foreign. In Uganda we have communities that only cover their private parts or nothing at all.

And that is their culture and when you visit their territories, they don’t force you to undress and look like them. One would have thought, then, that appearing in those areas fully dressed would offend such cultures but it is not the case. So, whose culture here is being offended?

You could also argue that since skimpy clothes offend these zealots’ ‘culture’, then the sight of a naked woman is even worse. But these so-called cultural puritans prefer to look at the naked woman than one with some short clothes on!

This logic beats me. The police is usually eager to rescue petty street thieves from the mob but clearly lazy to rescue a woman from gangs of men. I was worried by what I heard some women say they would use as a defence strategy. They say that since police has failed to protect them, they may arm themselves with portable knives in their bags.

When attacked, they would rather draw a knife into one of them than look on hopelessly.  But seriously, police and the state need to protect the citizens from such acts. First, the minister for Ethics needs to make it clear that there is no forbidding the wearing of miniskirts!

Two, the police should be on the lookout for such people who undress women. Kampala cannot be known for undressing women. That is not a good attribute especially knowing that there are very few good things to write about Kampala. We may think that  these are cultural puritans, when, actually, they are a bunch of perverts!

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Twitter: @piuskm

The author is the finance director, The Observer Media Ltd.

Comments

 
+2 #1 Betty Long Cap 2014-02-23 20:03
Good conclusion, Pius Muteekani Katunzi: those are not Puritans; they are perverts.

Everyone should know life on the street is dangerous. There is such a thing as asking for trouble.
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+9 #2 4ABetterUganda 2014-02-23 22:59
Uganda is going down a dangerous path. All good people had better come out to stop our further slide down this slippery slope.

An injustice is an injustice, it does not matter who it is committed against. Those men who see other stupid men, undressing innocent women, and either support it, or stay silent, because of whatever selfish reasons, or beliefs they may have, will come to regret it one day.

Our government should also stop putting us to shame. People should feel that when crooked moralist mobs attack them, our government will come to their rescue, not join the mobs. That is what makes people proud of their governments and engenders patriotism.

The police leadership should style up.
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+3 #3 Betty Long Cap 2014-02-24 00:14
Mistaken identity for a prostitute is very dangerous universally. Serial killers wrongly think they are ridding society of an undesirable and no one will care.
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0 #4 Kikaziki 2014-02-24 04:05
When bad things happen in Kampala the culprits may not necessarily be Baganda.

The authors is drawing a wrong conclusion. Kampala is full of people from different parts of Uganda, not only Buganda. Author, a little education will lead to that conclusion.
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+8 #5 Nkongih lll 2014-02-24 11:27
Personally, I don't give a damn whether these girls played men or not .. that is not an excuse to killing anybody. I would argue that there is more to this than meets eye.

Let us face it, what we are witnessing here is a statistics reminder of a country that doesn't care and as far as I am concerned, the blame lies squarely on the police. Excuse me please if I am missing something somewhere but I thought that Uganda's chief of police was an army general and lawyer while the minister of internal affairs is also an army general.

For bloody Christ's sake, if the two army giants cannot combat the wanton killing of our university girls, then something is very seriously wrong in our country.
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+4 #6 Bönabana 2014-02-24 12:32
Thank you Pius you tackle every problem facing,the country and people.

What Ihave observed is lack of love to each other.
Lack of word of God.jealous,envy agai
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-14 #7 Deno 2014-02-24 12:50
All Ugandans (men and women alike should learn to be respectful. Why dress indescently in teh first place and yet ther is an option of descency??

To put on a miniskirt is like telling hooligans in the street that I don't value clothes and even if you strip me, am confortable.

WOMEN PARTICULARLY MST LEARN TO BE DESCENT, RESPECT THEMSELVES AND MEN-THIS IS THE DICTATE OF UGANDAN CULTURE, Short of this, they will always be raped, undressed et
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0 #8 asingwire derrick 2014-02-24 15:13
i think this is very good however we ought to act elite an respect our selves "lady why not dress well?" then u guy why act wired to a poorly dressed woman?
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+6 #9 Birungi 2014-02-24 15:25
Deno, reading your comment made me sick, you must be such a disgusting person, sorry to say!!!
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+2 #10 Phalanch 2014-02-25 03:27
It starts out with a serial killer at large claiming lives of young girls,then a bunch of thugs undressing women in broad daylight on streets of Kampala in the name of anti- porn law under police watch, Welcome to society breakdown , this is the number one reason why Uganda needs serious political reforms real democracy which will give way to an intellectual freedom ,in this case , these citizens on steroids , knowing that something is wrong doesn't give any one of us a right to act as we wish, and for the police , till then they will understand the true meaning of keeping law and order.

So we can trust them again It's a long time coming.
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+2 #11 I.E.sseruyange 2014-02-25 11:41
B4 we get into the deeper bits of the law I wld like to know who gives them the mandate to do what they do?

If the matter at hand is fiighting immorals then what there doing is more immoral more dangerous but then again what are the authorities doing at about it all goes back to the same square. Ugandan police so daft
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0 #12 Akot 2014-02-25 20:02
Phalanch,
you are so right! Uganda skipped all stages of development & find itself with developed countries crimes! Yet the country has not even started on the way to democracy-good governance!

USA-EU laied down good rule-good social services for all, even guaranteeing monthly minimum allowance for those without income!
Acceptance of immoralities in the name of freedom gives more courage to the most daring!

While developed countries have good policing, Uganda that is adopting Western cultures is not prepared to handly crimes of this magnitude!

USA-EU have interpolice understanding in dealing with crimes like this; they even have modern science helping police intelligence! Even then, liberty of expression-living has created so many criminals that overwhelms security services!
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+1 #13 njabulo 2014-02-26 11:06
Quoting Deno:
WOMEN PARTICULARLY MST LEARN TO BE DESCENT, RESPECT THEMSELVES AND MEN-THIS IS THE DICTATE OF UGANDAN CULTURE, Short of this, they will always be raped, undressed et


Here we go. First homos, now women and girls, next all children, thereafter anyone I don't like, doesn't look like me, doesn't sound like me or dares to disagree with me. All this whilst I am jigger infested and starving.

Uganda Male = tribalistic, homophobic, misogynistic, misopedic, child sacrificing ignoramus
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+2 #14 njabulo 2014-02-26 11:16
Pius, I assume the minister for ethics is a catholic priest. If one was to type cast him, he is likely to be a gay misogynist with strong peadophile tendencies towards choir boys.

He is by virtue of his position in that institution the very type that we should be first in investigating and using as deterrent to others.
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0 #15 Kanyerezi 2014-02-26 11:58
The gov't is all to blame, for enacting a law without sensitizing the mass but exciting them just. The anti-pornography law doesn't in any way regulate the female dress code and there's no direct reference to a mini-skirt.

This commotion was ushered in by the minister (Lokodo)himself when he addressed the nation without reading the provision of the law.He thought that it was still as it was (intact) was it was presented to parliament yet those provision where later dropped.i don't blame the wanainchi for wrong interpretation of the law b'se even the minister never addressed his mind on the law.

Women should be left to be.Men should instead restrain their feelings when the see a lady dressed in a way she choices.I SIGN OUT
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0 #16 kabayekka 2014-02-26 18:59
My friend Katunzi it is true of little brains is a dangerous mishap. Okutambula kuyiga kudda wamwe kunyumya. Ensi yaleeta. Bonna bantu baggwanga.
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