The World

In Uganda, Rioters Strip Women Wearing Trousers

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rioters attacked and stripped about 20 Ugandan women who were wearing trousers last week during deadly riots in Kampala. The humiliations were part of a major confrontation between a traditional kingdom and President Yoweri Museveni's government.

Page 2 of 2

Mob Begins Harassment

After begging for the release of her driver and herself, the soldier let her go. But then Busulwa said she was stopped by a mob that had formed in another section of the city, which began harassing her. She said she only got away by giving the rioters money.

"I was almost killed," Busulwa said. "My son came home at midnight when the riots almost reached his university, too afraid to stay in his hostel."

She waited until Sunday before entering town again.

The government called on the police, military and the Presidential Guard, raising hope that the violence would be curbed. But gunfire began in Kampala early on Friday, September 11. Public transport was paralyzed and rioters began humiliating women and attacking Indian merchants. Many Indian business owners closed their stores on that day to prevent attacks, and some Indian families took refuge at police stations.

Although the riots subsided somewhat on Saturday, gunshots were still audible throughout the city.

The crisis could be one of the biggest tests of Museveni's career.

The president, an ethnic Ankole from southwestern Uganda, took power in 1986 and is up for re-election in 2011.

Although praised initially for his regime's efforts to both empower women and reinstate the cultural kingdoms, his government has clashed with Buganda officials in recent years over land issues in Kampala, positioned at the heart of the traditional kingdom.

Museveni said he has tried to communicate with the Kabaka for the past two years, but the cultural leader refused to take his phone calls.

"Whenever any controversy came up, I would telephone His Highness, the Kabaka, but he would not answer my telephone as usual," said Museveni, who took a hard line against rioters harassing and humiliating civilians, in a press statement. "The ring leaders are being hunted down and some have been arrested. Looters will be shot on sight, as will those who attack other civilians."

Subscribe

Would you like to Comment but not sure how? Visit our help page at http://www.womensenews.org/help-making-comments-womens-enews-stories.

Rebecca Harshbarger is a journalist based in Kampala, Uganda. You can visit her Web site at http://www.ugandabeat.wordpress.com.

0 COMMENTS | Login or Sign Up to post comments

RELATED STORIES

Health

Uganda Embraces Low-Tech Test for Cervical Cancer

The World

Repatriation Roils Rwandan Refugees in Uganda

HIV/AIDS

War's Legacy Fuels HIV Spread in Northern Uganda

Reproductive Health

U.S. Students Design Ultrasound for Ugandan Midwives

Clinton

Clinton Leaves Her Mark on Congo's Rape Zone

Equality/Women’s Rights

Rights Treaty in Uganda Snags on 'African Values'

The World

Strait-Laced Hem in Straight Talk for Uganda Teens

Women's enews events

Visit Our YouTube Channel

Visit Our Bookshelf