INTER PARTY COOPERATION
"WOMEN FOR PEACE”
"WOMEN FOR PEACE”
ON THE OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
March 8, 2010
Fellow Ugandans; women of the world.
Members of the press who are our most valued allies in our struggle for true democracy.
We, women belonging to the Inter Party Cooperation, belonging to the four cooperating parties: Conservative Party (CP), Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Justice Forum (JEEMA) and Uganda People’s Congress UPC) gather here today to mark the International Women’s Day.
We should be celebrating. But we are not. There is no reason to celebrate this day this year. This is because the government has failed to bring those changes that the women were promised 24 years ago, but instead resorted to lying to the women, hoodwinking them and exploiting them.
They appointed some few women as ministers, created special seats for women in parliament. But they did this to deceive the women that they are now empowered. They have not done anything for us the local women who toil and suffer in villages and slums. The real women who have lost their husbands, their sons, their sisters… and have to look after the orphans. The real women who sell their radios, beds and chairs to educate their children. And even after their children they graduate, they cannot get jobs because they don’t know anyone in government.
We cannot celebrate women’s day in Uganda because our husbands, brothers, sons and sisters were murdered by the army and the police in Kampala last September(2009) when the government decided to stop the Kabaka of Buganda from visiting Kayunga, another part of Uganda and Buganda. They were shot with live bullets and killed. Some were dragged out of their houses. They were not armed. There has not been any government apology, no arrests of the police officers and army officers who killed our children have been made. NO compensation has been made to the families of the victims. We know the names of those who killed our children and husbands. We shall not rest until they are punished.
Let all stand up for a minute of silence to remember these, our children, who were murdered by the government trigger happy army and police officers.
May the almighty God rest their souls in eternal peace and determine what to do to those who ordered their killing, and those who accepted the orders to kill.
We are not celebrating International women’s day today because thousands of women die of over bleeding in hospitals during labor in government hospitals where there is no blood for transfusion. Others deliver babies on bare floors in government hospitals. Hundreds of thousands of our children die in infancy, before their first birthday, because of preventable diseases. There are no drugs in government hospitals.
All the money that should help women and their children is stolen by government officials. They stole money for AIDS treatment. Money for Malaria treatment. Money for Tuberclosis treatment. Money for immunization. They don’t steal only health sector money. They stole NSSF money- we all remember Temangalo. They stole CHOGM money. They have stolen NAADS money. They have stolen money meant for the roads, Kampala roads look like village paths. They are buying new aeroplanes. They fly their daughters to Europe to deliver babies. They are still stealing and each time we come up to express ourselves on these matters, they bring riot police and other security forces to intimidate us. The job of the police is to catch thieves, but not to intimidate those who report and fight thieves like us.
We are not celebrating today because the women have been impoverished and have not been assisted by the government to keep the prices of essential goods like salt, sugar, soap and kerosene affordable. No pro-people government does not step in to keep the prices of essential commodities down. They argue that this is a free market economy. Liars! Government, even in a free market economy can subsidise essential commodities to help its poor people. But government officials who would do it are the importers of these commodities. Some are business partners in the some local industries. The higher the prices of commodities, the more they benefit. The fuel prices cannot go down because most petrol stations are owned by the same corrupt government officials. We shall soon publish a list of petrol station owners in Uganda.
We are not celebrating this year because in spite of the official propaganda that government supports girl child education, no girl schools have been established for women in the past 24 years. Instead the existing ones have deteriorated. UPE has become a disaster. Very little money is allocated to education and that little is stolen by corrupt government officials. Children don’t get food at school because the money is stolen. If there was no corruption, the school environment, where a child would get proper lunch and sit in a proper classroom would make the children look forward to going to school. Instead, because of these unacceptable conditions in our schools, girls are dropping out of school at an alarming rate. Other reasons cause girl child drop out. But they are essentially poverty related. There is poverty in Uganda, an otherwise rich country, because of corruption. To fight poverty, you must fight corruption. The “bonna bagaggawale” lie is clear to everyone now. It is another way to steal our money, just like CHOGM and NAADS.
We are not celebrating International Women’s day this year because we are worried of the violence that will occur in Uganda if a free and fair election is not held. The re-appointment of an incompetent and clearly partisan Electoral Commission is an indication that the election has already been rigged before it is held. A disputed election is a recipe for violence. We saw what happened in Kenya, our sister state. A bad electoral commission caused the death of over 1500 people in Kenya and the destructions of property worth billions.
Government officials have been bragging to us that “Uganda is not Kenya, there cannot be violence here”. They had said the same before September 2009 riots in Buganda. Can they say it again? Violence is not a reserve of one country. It is not a monopoly of any body. It is the inevitable consequence of injustice. We demand that the present Electoral Commission be disbanded and replaced by an acceptable one. This is because when there is violence, it is us, the women, who suffer most. We lose our husbands, children, breadwinners, our sisters. We are raped and killed. Our little girls are defiled. This is why we shall not rest until the corrupt electoral commission is disbanded and replaced with an independent one.
Today, we will not go to dance and praise the president and government officials as our fellow women have died, and lost hundreds of their children in Buduuda because the government had no equipment to rescue our people except hand-held hoes and guns! You saw on TV and newspapers what equipment the president carried to Buduuda. A gun. Shame! Shame! Shame! Just because the money to buy rescue equipment was used to probably buy the president’s new plane.
Let us stand up again for a moment of silence to remember the Buduuda landslide victims.
May their souls rest in peace.
We shall instead walk in a procession to Mulago Hospital to meet our fellow mothers in the labour ward and hand over to them the little we have collected for their temporary relief.
We invite you the members of the press to come with us to Mulago Hospital and record the impressions of the suffering women in Uganda’s biggest hospital under the NRM government of 24 years.
FOR GOD AND COUNTRY
Asia Nassuuna Kamulali - Conservative Party ________________________________
Ingrid Turiniwe - Forum for Democratic Change ________________________________
Ogwal Diana - Justice Forum (JEEMA) ________________________________
Jane Mworobe - Uganda Peoples Congress ________________________________
WOMEN FOR PEACE, INTER PARTY COOPERATION