By Andrew Visper
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has appointed a woman dominated team of legislators to investigate into the accusations of sexual harassment by Male legislators on their female counterparts and staff.
According to sources inside parliament, Kadaga selected from legislators who have served in more than one House because they are capable of producing a good report based without fear or favor.
Among those selected include; Kasese Woman MP Winnie Kiiza, Minister of Trade and Mawokota legislator Amelia Kyambadde, Former Commissioner of parliament and Dokolo woman legislator Cecilia Ogwal, and Budaka woman MP Pamela Kamugo Nasiyo.
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The group is set to meet Kadaga for a briefing ahead of commencement of duty.
Speaking to Nile Post on the same matter, Winnie Kiiza confirmed the appointment informally, however she said she was not yet aware of what is required of her and so are the rest.
“We have not been briefed of what we’re supposed to do and we don’t know the jurisdictions of our work yet, but you can get back to me after meeting the speaker of parliament,” she said.
Early this month, the matter of sexual harassment was brought to the attention of speaker Rebecca Kadaga by female personal assistants under their umbrella, Uganda Parliamentarians Personal and Research Assistants Association, when they presented a petition to Kadaga in which they strongly accused male legislators of sexually harassing them.
Diana Bakaire, a member of the association, said several ladies employed by the legislators are pressurised into sex by the MPs so as to keep their jobs.
“Madam speaker on behalf of my fellow members, young girls from universities and secondary schools are finding it hard to keep their Jobs at parliament after being sexually exploited but can’t speak out and pleaded the intervention of the speaker,” she said.
However, even before the select committee start its investigations, the temperatures are high within the corridors of parliament as male legislators have been heard in corridors of parliament doubting at the names on the select committee of parliament of sexual harassment especially minister Amelia Kyambadde whom they have said that she rarely attends parliamentary business and doubt if she’ the right person to investigate the sensitive matter.
A report by the Inter-parliamentary Union last year captured voices from 81 female members of parliament and 42 female staff and 40.5 per cent per cent were found to have suffered sexual harassment of which 69.2 per cent was coming from their male colleagues.
50 per cent said they had received comments of sexual nature coming from 61 per cent of their male colleagues. However, only 25 per cent of female MPs had reported the cases while a minor 6 per cent of parliament staff reported the cases.
The president of the Union, Gabriela Cuevas in a news brief on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women revealed that in the male-dominated world of parliamentary politics, sexual harassment and abuse are rife.
“Today, with more women MPs exposing the extent of the problem, the entire parliamentary community needs to step up and end gender-based violence now in our workplace and beyond,” she said.
“As women parliamentarians, we have heard countless stories from female colleagues of violence, abuse and harassment. We are alarmed and shaken by how endemic this behaviour is – even in the most developed democracies,” she added.
‘Parliaments should be places of unity, trust, safety and respect. They represent democracy’s ultimate aspiration of inclusive and participatory politics for every citizen. If the fundamental human rights of women are being constantly violated in parliamentary chambers and workplaces then we, MPs worldwide, have failed our constituents – young and old, and ultimately have made a mockery of the basic tenets of democracy.”