KAMPALA — Mr. Alex Okello, the Permanent Secretary, Directorate of Ethics and Integrity on Thursday revealed to Members of Parliament that whereas acts of pornography are increasing in schools across Uganda, the growth hasn’t been matched with funding requirement, that has left the Anti-Pornography Committee incapacitated.
Mr. Okello told the committee that Directorate of Ethics and integrity is under facilitated to deal with pornography acts something that has crippled the activities of the controversial Anti-Pornography Committee.
The information has since excited a section of the populace — with critics lebeling the campaign against online pornography as a diversion from deeper problems of graft, unemployment and crumbling social services facing government.
The campaign is the latest salvo in a culture war between conservatives fighting what they see as foreign moral influences promoting criminality and a more liberal, often younger population.
“This is an invasion, its Western culture,” said Simon Lokodo, Catholic priest who serves as minister of ethics and integrity.
“Overconsumption of pornography … the consequences are very dire,” he told the media recently.
The government had released UGX 2 billion to his office to combat pornography.
Some money would go to pornography-blocking software, he said as the youths with VPN technology laughed it off.
Some Ugandans expressed anger at the cost of the ban, saying it served only to divert public attention from government failures.
Andrew Karamagi, a rights activist and lawyer in Kampala, said he could not understand government obsession with “what people watch, who sleeps with whom, how and when”, while it struggled to fund social services such as hospitals and schools.
Another person who preferred not be named fired slavo at government, saying that
fighting pornography, a largely internet driven multi billion business is somewhat a fallacy.
“Online porn sector is worth 15bn dollars (2016 estimates). Can UGX2bn (which Lokodo and his group received during the pornography early stages counter the above?” he wondered.
The source said that whereas pornography has its own negatives but should not be used to justify unwanted spendings with an assumption that there will be change for the better for all.
“I think the Anti porn act, the formation of the committee (now in shambles) was rushed. We continue seeing more and more porn being unleashed to our citizens, I realise that we have amateur porn products from our own citizens disguised as leaked nudes,” the source noted.
For now, the source also advised that the committee should think of playing advisory role for already existing institutions like schools and not assuming autonomy in the fight against viscous vices.
In July, this year, a source at the ministry of Ethics told this website that PS Okello and minister Lokodo were plotting to disband the PCC.
At the time, minister Lokodo distanced self from the issue and said that the committee was doing a better job in arresting moral decays.
Commenting on the same, a source who preferred not be named said: “I am forced to think that issues to do with kick backs led to the suspension of funding for the said committee.”
The fellows in the directorate of ethics, that existed before the APC [Anti Pornography Committee] will not allow APC to take off easily and smoothly,” the speculated, advising the PCC to lobby from the powers that be for it to gain funding.
“That comes with its own political jigsaw puzzles that will affect the positive intentions of the possessed anti porn crew,” the source noted.
According to rankings by Alexa, an American web traffic analysis company based in San Francisco, pornographic materials and information in Uganda have never been more consumed than now.
Fr. Lokodo a month ago, attributed the high rate of pornographic consumption to moral degenerations.
“Our youth’s morals today have badly degenerated. I blame this on their parents and their local leaders,” he said.
“Consumption of porn materials and information has serious social, physical and psychological side effects. It has led to family and marriage breakages in some cases,” Mr. Lokodo said.