Uganda’s Parliament was Tuesday forced to adjourn unceremoniously after Government failed to explain the rampant killings of women in the country.
It was a bad day for Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah considering the fact that MPs had just returned from the one month recess.
Lira district Woman MP, Joy Atim started the debate when she took to the floor , asking for explanation over killings that have seen over 20 women lose their lives in the last few weeks in Entebbe, Nansana and Kampala.
Atim said: “We aren’t happy as a country, women and families. Twenty one (21) women so far have been murdered and the rampant killing is really so bad. The women are raped and sticks inserted [in their private parts]. Security is not telling us what is happening. We want to know who the perpetrators are, why women specifically. Women are insecure. We need protection, why are we being targeted in this country?”
The recent murders of women follow the same pattern, but no perpetrators have been brought to book so far.
The debate became interesting when the Leader of Opposition, Winfred Kiiza castigated Minister of Security, Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde, Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Jeje Odong , his Deputy Obiga Kania and Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs, Adolf Kasaija Mwesige for skiping the plenary sitting.
“The Ministers aren’t in the House. We are tired of the killings and nobody seems to be in control and seems to care. We are forgetting these are your wives,” Kiiza said.
She also blasted Police boss, Kale Kayihura for attributing the deaths to prostitution.
“When you call them prostitutes, are they prostituting against themselves? They are prostituting amongst men,” she said.
Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante blamed the lack of response from Government side on the infighting between Police Chief Kayihura and Security Minister Tumukunde.
Tom Butime, Minister for Local Government, who said he was representing Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa who is on duty abroad said investigations into the killings are still ongoing.
However, Kiiza called Butime to order, accusing him of trivializing the killings, wondering why Police went on to recruit 11m crime preventers if they aren’t in position to give clues on who the serial killers are.
“I really feel hurt, that when it comes to matter of discussing the security concern of women police is allover and crime preventers are in large numbers and it is sad that we are still being told that investigations are being held. Lashing them as ritual murders is really not enough. Is he in order to continue trivializing these matters?” Kiiza, who is also the Kasese Woman MP said.
After the intervention of Oulanyah, Butime went on to defend the infighting between Tumukunde and Kayihura.
“I have no problem as long as these are matters of security. Even disagreements within security are accepted until the perpetrators are found,” he said.
At this point, controversial Aruu County MP, Odonga Otto took to the floor, presenting a motion seeking adjournment of the House until Government is ready to table a statement to explain the killings. This drew a thunderous applause from fellow MPs.
“… The Speaker has been lenient with the Executive, the Ministers aren’t here and in circumstances, I would like to move a motion seeking adjournment of the House until Government tables a statement (on killings),” Otto said.
After a heated debate, MPs refused to listen to Oulanyah who wanted to continue with business. He was forced to put across a motion before the House, asking MPs to vote on the matter, which motion received overwhelming support.
The move taken by MPs means that there will be no business conducted in Parliament until government tables a statement on the ongoing killings of women in the country.