First Lady rallies parents, teachers against sexual violence

The First Lady, Janet Kataaha Museveni, who is also the Minister of Education and Sports, has said the duty to fight sexual violence is a collective role that should not be left to the Ministry.

Ms Museveni led a team from the Education Ministry, which included State Minister for Higher Education, John Chrysostom Muyingo, to a select Committee of Parliament investigating sexual violence in education institutions.

“This [sexual violence] is not a problem that is just for Education [Ministry] alone. It is a problem that is affecting children even at home,” said Ms. Museveni.

She added: “We will do what we can do, but you must know that we should all be involved in fighting this evil.”

Led by MP Robinah Gureme Rwakoojo (NRM, Gomba West), the Committee was appointed by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to probe rising cases of sexual assault and violence, mainly in institutions of learning.

Rwakoojo said female students were finding it difficult to complete their studies due to the barriers thrown at them by sexual predators.

“Girls fail to complete their university...they have a problem especially during research; there are allegations about the vice happening,” she said.

MP Mwine Mpaka (NRM, Youth Western) challenged Ministry officials about recycling or transferring head teachers implicated in gross misconduct instead of indicting them.

“Why is it that the Education Service Commission has failed to have Head Teachers involved in sexual violence removed; they are instead transferred,” said Mwiine.

He cited the example of former Kibuli Secondary School head teacher, a one Mugagga, who was interdicted following allegations of sexual harassment against students.

His case is yet to be concluded, a delay Minister Muyingo blamed on ongoing investigations.

In response, Ms Museveni said the Ministry's biggest frustrations stem from collusion between victims' parents and the accused, who strike deals to frustrate justice.

Ms Museveni said ending the vice will have to contend with parents choosing to cover up the accused rather than cooperate with law enforcement agencies in unearthing perpetrators.

Rwakoojo heaped more blame on parents, who she said are neglectful.

“Parents have left children to teachers; we are no longer doing our duty. Parents don’t want to find out what goes on in their children's lives,” she said.

The Committee was asked to ascertain the causes and magnitude of sexual violence in educational institutions and its negative effects on the population; and to study and review laws against sexual violence in Uganda as well as the available policies for the management and control of sexual violence.