4 July 2017

Uganda: 'Weird Hair Styles', Open Shoes Banned From Public Offices

Photo: Abubaker Lubowa/Daily Monitor
A woman wearing open shoes in the office.

The ministry of Public Service has directed all permanent secretaries and Chief Administrative Officers to enforce a strict dress code for all public officers. In a circular signed by Ministry of Public Service permanent secretary Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire, all officers are required to dress decently and in the generally acceptable standards in the Ugandan society.

Female officers, according to the letter, "should avoid wearing sleeves, transparent blouses and dresses at the work place [and] ensure that clothing covers up cleavage, navels, knees and back. Female officers will not be allowed to appear for duty in open flat shoes except on a doctor's recommendation/medical grounds, wear bright coloured hair, in form of natural hair, braids and hair extensions.

Those who choose to wear trousers may do so but the trousers must be in "form of smart lady suits with jackets, long enough to cover the bosom".

The circular directs that male public officers are required to dress in neat trousers, long sleeved shirts, jacket and a tie. Open shoes are not allowed.

According to Ms Adah Muwanga, the ministry's director human resource, this is meant to respond to public outcry over indecency.

"We got complaints that some public officers are indecent. Some female officers are pumping up their breasts, wearing mini-skirts... You are sexually harassing the male counterparts and in Uganda this is not acceptable," Ms Muwanga said yesterday.

"We are mindful of the perception of the public to our officers. Do you feel okay when you have nails several meters long? It is not neat and healthy and we have to care about the health of public officers," she added.

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