President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday utilized the International Women’s Day celebrations to call for increased sensitization of men to stop perpetrating Gender Based Violence.
Museveni, while speaking at the national celebrations held in Mbale district, described men who beat their women as cowards.
“I think that we should sensitize men that beating women is cowardly. Why do you beat a woman who is weaker than you? If you want to fight, look for men and fight,” he said.
“I have been with Hon. Janet for 47 years; I have never even pushed her. It is a big weakness to for anybody to beat to woman; even a child. I don’t believe in beating children.”
President Museveni also called for action to be taken against authorities who do not respond appropriately to reported cases of domestic violence.
He was responding to a concern raised by Gender and Labor Minister Hon Frank Tumwebaze, about police officers who dismiss cases of violence and “domestic matters.”
“We have to strength case management,” Minister Tumwebaze urged.
“The tendency of enforcement agencies turning away girls and women who report cases of gender based violence under the pretext of culture; insisting that GBV is a private and domestic issue which should addressed by family members, should stop.”
On this matter, President Museveni advised victims to always report such authorities so that they can be penalized.
“The women should be sensitized; if the police don’t take up you case, contact your political leaders, such as your Woman MP or constituency MP or councilor. If you report them, we shall act on them.
Museveni on the other hand, suggested increased women economic empowerment as the only way of addressing gender based violence and violence against women.
Economically independent women, he said, are less likely to be “held hostage” by their husbands.
“The real problem is economic dependency and the way to solve it is by showing the example that women can be economically independent. That way, the woman will have her own way of living and won’t have to depend on her abusive husband,” Museveni advised.
“With economic emancipation, what they call love will also come in. The husband must work hard to keep the love of the wife and vice versa. Hostage taking will no longer exist.
On his part, Minister Tumwebaze called for joint efforts in the fight to end domestic violence.
“I call upon the police, the RDCs, DPCs, DISOs, Probation Officers councilors and LCs to support our efforts to fight GBV and Violence against women. We can partner with the UN and everybody, but if you the community gatekeepers don’t join the crusade and mitigate where the vice takes place, our efforts are in vail.”
The national celebrations were held under the theme; “Celebrating 25 Years of the 1995 Constitution: Milestones in Promoting Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Uganda.”