KAMPALA – Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has tasked Parliament’s Education and Sports Committee to inquire further into allegations of sexual abuse suffered by Makerere University students at the hands of security operatives and report back to Parliament within a fortnight.
The Speaker’s directive followed concerns raised by some MPs like Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo), who rejected findings in the report that there was no evidence that students weren’t sexually harassed by security forces as they staged a peaceful strike against the 15% tuition increment.
Ogwal said, “Women and moreover the youth hardly reveal when they are sexually harassed. The inquiry into sexual harassment during the strike at Makerere is wanting.”
Her reaction was in response to a report tabled by the Chairperson of the Committee on Education and Sports, Jacob Opolot Richards, who presented a report on the just-concluded inquiry on allegations of sexual abuse on Makerere students by men and women in uniforms & University mismanagement.
Opolot told Parliament that the inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse of Makerere University students by uniformed persons, reveals that Makerere has no Authority or competency to investigate security operatives on sexual misconduct & could not confirm allegations that some female students were harassed
He further revealed that students were not willing to come out and declare that they were sexually harassed and thus, there was no substantial evidence that came from students to confirm allegations of sexual abuse by security operatives.
“The Education Committee was informed that Siperia Saasirabo who was earlier reported to have suffered sexual assault by security operatives, underwent medical examination and a medical report revealed that she wasn’t sexually abused,” said Opolot.
The Committee also stated that the demonstration led by the 85 Female was legitimate in nature and didn’t merit the brutal conduct of the University administration and security operatives.
The Committee defended the strike arguing that students issued a notice of a peaceful demonstration to the commandant, Kampala Metropolitan Police in a letter dated 22nd October 2019, but there was no evidence of feedback from Police on the course of action.
The Education Committee also faulted the Security personnel that handled demonstrations acted in a manner that is not professional and ethical to the extent of breaking into students’ rooms and beating whoever they came across.