Muslim students in Kyambogo University want the administration to deploy female Muslim security officers at checkpoints. This comes days after a male police officer forced female Muslim students to remove their veils before allowing them into the examination hall at Central Lecture Block (CLB) on Tuesday.
The action of the police officer didn’t go down with female Muslim students in particular and the Muslim community in general. Sheikh Bakhit Cucu, the Education Secretary at Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-UMSC described the action of the officer as a breach of the freedom of religion enshrined in the constitution of Uganda.
“To us (Muslims), the nakedness of a woman starts from the head up to the toe. So, the moment you unveil her you have undressed her. It is degenerating her dignity,” he told URN in an interview on Wednesday. Prior to the incident on Tuesday, a similar incident had earlier on occurred at the same university where a female student, Aisha Nanfuma was denied entry into the university because of declining to remove her veil.
Sumayah Nakawesi, a third-year student pursuing a bachelor of accounting and finance recounts incidents, where metal detectors were passed over her head at the university checkpoints yet those with caps and scarfs, are never treated the same way.
Shadia Nankabirwa, a first-year Bachelor of Archaeology and heritage management, said that while the first incident seemed like an accident but that of Tuesday proved that they are intended.
Halima Namuddu, another victim, says that they have to live with such humiliation which affects their concentration in the examination room.
Safina Musenero, a first-year student of Bachelor of Arts in Education regretted that she has to do her first examinations at the university under unfair circumstances. “Sometimes you settle and think the community is inclusive enough until such things come up. The university should help us,” she said.
Naswiba Nasanga, who captured the video highlighting the plight of female students at the university has since gone silent because of reprisal from some of her lecturers. The University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eli Katunguka has since issued a statement condemning the incident and promised to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“…we do not agree with the manner in which the police officer did it.”
Despite this Bashir Lule, the Chairperson of Kyambogo University Muslim Student’s Association accuses the administration of neglecting complaints from Muslim students.
According to Lule, there is a need for the administration to take practical steps such as deploying female Muslim security officers to address the recent crisis beyond issuing an apology.