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Your mail: Govt should tax sex work

With all honesty, no war against sex worker shall ever be won. Canon law defined a sex worker as a promiscuous woman or a whore who was available for the lust of many men.

But lately, even men are available to be bought by rich women for sexual pleasure. In Uganda, most women and men who engage in the sex work do so because they are looking for survival and a way to afford a decent living.

It is wrong to think that only those whores who stand under lampposts in Kabalagala and on Speke Road do sex work. There are also many married, working class people who engage in quid- pro quo sex.

Sex work has existed as an occupation since time immemorial. The outbreak of gonorrhea, Aids and other life-threatening sexually transmitted diseases hasn’t stopped sex work.

Not even the current laws have stopped it and that is why websites like Exotic Escorts Kampala exist and unemployed youths are busy earning untaxed income.

Government should decriminalize sex work, after all the Uganda Revenue Authority is hungry for taxes and this could be a great opportunity to collect taxes from brothels.

By failing to decriminalize sex work and taxing them, the government is losing huge revenue mobilization just like they have ignored colonial shrines as pastors collect huge offertory.

Just like Human Rights Watch recently pronounced, criminalizing adult, voluntary and consensual sex - including the commercial exchange of sexual services – is incompatible with the human right to personal autonomy and privacy.

A government should not be telling consenting adults who they can have sexual relations with and on what terms.

Kakwenza Rukirabashaija,
Iganga

Bail should not be handled lightly

The scrapping of the judge’s power to award bail in a country like Uganda where individuals are arrested and charged without irrebuttable admissible evidence is a matter of concern.

Uganda’s court system never expedites trials. The accused is presented in court, charges are mentioned to the accused and then the accused is remanded in prison for a lengthy time. It takes several months for a trial to kick off.

Everyday, persons are arrested and presented to the court on trumped-up charges. I am a living example. I was going to be put on trial on trumped-up charges simply because the accusers were after taking my land. Eventually l bowed to their money demands and gave them the money to save myself from being presented to court.

It is so easy in Uganda to prefer fabricated allegations against an individual. Despite the police’s noticing contradiction in the accuser’s statements, the police can still be bribed to give a biased opinion.

Caxton Kasozi-Batende,
caxton26@yahoo.co.uk

Prioritize health care budget

The potential of community involvement in the Covid-19 response has not been fully exploited. Strengthening community structures such as the role of community leaders in mobilising and engaging community members to effectively respond to Covid-19 is invaluable.

The Covid-19 pandemic has strained health systems and disrupted essential health services. Countries are working to restore and strengthen key services to better withstand shocks and ensure quality care.

Access to medication has been a major problem for patients with chronic conditions who rely on drugs for their survival and improved quality of life, as they were unable to get their refills while others could not afford medication due to lack of income.

In Uganda, patients who had been newly diagnosed with cancer were not able to be initiated into treatment while others missed their three-month refills for hormonal treatment.

These delayed initiations and interruption of treatment cycles resulted in increased stress, anxiety, disease progression, recurrence and premature death.

It is, therefore, important to prioritize healthcare by increasing health sector budgets and reducing reliance on foreign funding. Governments also need to fast-track universal health coverage through national health insurance schemes to ensure that vulnerable people access safe and quality health care.

Ambrose Byamugisha,
ambrosoli.consult@gmail.com
 
Let’s all fight sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is one of the widespread vices we face in society today. According to ReachOut.com, sexual harassment is any form of unwelcome sexual behavior that’s offensive, humiliating or intimidating, and it’s against the law.

It can be written, verbal or physical, and can happen in person or online. Anybody can experience sexual harassment regardless of their gender. This vice can happen at work, school or universities and may amount to a form of discrimination.

Sexual harassment is common in Uganda because people in society have not been sensitized about its forms and where to report it.

Sexual harassment can include indecent touching, sexual comments, asking you for sexual favours, grabbing or making other physical contact with the offended person without his/her consent, among other offences.

All these and many more need to be addressed in different communities so that people are able to know their rights and be aware of sexual harassment.

According to one survey, more than 55 per cent of female students and staff had experienced at least one form of sexual harassment, and prominently year-one students at Makerere University.

As a student, I, therefore, believe that students and staff need a confidential platform to address the issue of sexual harassment because it can lead to the sensitization of the university community and create effectiveness in the investigations in case any sexual harassment cases are reported.

I urge the government of Uganda as well as the media to carry out massive campaigns against sexual harassment so as to create general awareness within society.

Cynthia Ruth Abalo,
Makerere University.

NMS should stop discrimination

The management of National Medical Stores (NMS) reportedly banned all staff and visitors who are not vaccinated from accessing NMS premises without providing exemption to Covid-19 survivors, as per their recent press release.

The management of NMS did not even publicize a reasonable notice period of at least one month, as bare minimum of respect that ought to be extended to all stakeholders.

This wanton abuse of power is deplorable to say the least, and runs contrary to science, which provides that Covid-19 survivors have acquired immunity and most Covid-19 patients recover from illness.

The management of NMS should be sensitized that herd immunity is the sum of persons who are vaccinated and survivors who recovered from natural infections.

There are many health workers who contracted Covid-19 in Uganda and recovered, and should not be discriminated against for lack of vaccination cards if there is proof that they survived Covid-19 or blood tests indicate that they have antibodies.

Why discriminate against Covid-19 survivors unless concerned officials are scheming for cheap publicity and unmerited favour from their superiors?

Also, holding children at ransom without education because adults refuse to be vaccinated is selfish. Reasonable degrees of personal liberties must be sacrificed for a common good whenever society finds itself at the crossroads, and major religions do not condone selfish adults.

Hence, people should follow SOPs and guidance from the ministry of Health, whereas the arbitrary decision issued by NMS should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

Ronald Eporu
eporuronald@gmail.com

letters@observer.ug

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