Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has vowed to list and shame errant male head teachers and teachers on the floor of Parliament who are sexually abusing young school girls.
“This debate brings something interesting. Last financial year we called upon ministry of finance to tell us the errant accounting officers and the other day I saw a list, I think one day we shall see a list of errant head teachers and teachers listed in this house,” Kadaga said on Thursday.
This was after Anna Adeke Ebaju, the National Female Youth MP tabled a motion seeking a resolution of Parliament to inquire into allegations of sexual violence in schools.
Ebaju said during the development of the National Strategic Plan on Violence Against Children in Schools, it was established that violence against children in schools is widespread and children are subjected to different forms of violence and that sexual harassment especially among girls was on the high with 77.7% of the primary school children and 82% of the secondary school students experiencing sexual harassment while at school, 8% of the girls are subjected to defilement, 24% are spoken to in a sexual way, 18% receive marriage proposals and 25% are fondled/touched in a sexual manner while 29% are made to watch sexual scenes (pornography).
Recently the media reported gross acts of sexual violence in institutions of learning at all levels with the latest being Kibuli Secondary School headmaster Ali Muggaga who has allegedly sexually abused some of his female students.
The other is Dr. Swizen Kyomuhendo, a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration (SWASA) who was recently suspended by the University on allegations of sexual harassment.
Ebaju says access to education is one of the fundamental rights of a person which should be delivered in a conducive and safe learning environment.
In her prayer, Adeke asked Parliament to set up a select committee to investigate allegations of sexual violence in institutions of learning in the country and fast tract the Sexual Offences Bill, 2015.
The Bill seeks to serve the purpose of combating sexual violence and consolidating laws of sexual offences, providing for punishment of perpetrators of sexual offenses, providing for procedural and evidential requirements during trial of sexual offenses and other related matters.
“The student/ lecturer relationship has a professional code of conduct that should govern it. Even if these girls are of age lecturers should not send advances on their way. The bargaining power is not the same, it a dominant relationship between the male and female,” Ebaju said.
Rosemary Seninde, State Minister for Primary Education said that the Education Ministry is aware of such sexual offenses and for the case of Kibuli Head teacher Muggaga, police is already doing its work.
“Since this case of Kibuli Head teacher raises both criminal and professional issues, police is investigating the matter, but ministry of Education has also put up a committee to investigate the same and is already compiling a report so that we can handle this matter in a more comprehensive manner,” Seninde said.
She was opposed to the MPs’ move to put up a select committee saying that her ministry has also constituted one to investigate the matter.
“It would be a duplication of duties because the ministry has also set up a select committee. I suggest that Parliament gives terms of reference to guide the select committee from the ministry because these two institutions are supposed to complement each other,” she added.
However, the House agreed to constitute a parliamentary select committee that will liaise with the ministry’s committee to comprehensively probe the matter.