13 March 2018

Uganda: MP in Trouble Over Women Beating Comments

Parliament — What started as a mere comment on women's rights has is turning into trouble for Bugangaizi MP, Mr Onesmus Twinamatsiko.

The lawmaker, in a televised response to comments by President Museveni against men who batter their wives, on March 8 in Mityana District during celebrations to mark the International Women's Day, Mr Twinamatsiko disagreed saying; if not beaten, women do not feel loved.

"Long ago, if a husband beat up a woman, she wouldn't know that the man loves, but you can also beat her into order," Mr Twinamatsiko said.

"If you leave her unpunished, she may become an indiscipline wife... . and this [practice of not beating them] has actually made them stubborn."

Mr Twinamatsiko's comments have attracted criticism from several activists and some of his colleagues in Parliament, who are have demanded tough actions against him.

On the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, Ms Dorothy Nshaija (NRM-Kamwenge) raised the issue as a matter of urgent national importance.

Her argument is that as a public figure and leader, Mr Twinamatsiko's position is likely to mislead members of the public especially those with similar beliefs and attitudes towards women.

Several women legislators attempted to push the Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah to instruct Mr Twinamatsiko to explain his position but failed.

Mr Oulanyah asked the MPs to wait until tomorrow to get a clear explanation because the embattled legislator indicated that he was not ready.

Although the MP says that he was quoted out of context, video clips making rounds on social media are proving otherwise.

Mr Twinamatsko also quotes the Holy Bible, saying God clearly ordained a husband to be superior to his wife.

Meanwhile, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has instructed the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline to take up the matter and report to her as soon as possible.

Whereas the Committee Chairman, Mr Obote Ongalo was not available for a comment, Mr Chris Obore, Parliament's Director of Communications and Public Affairs said the Speaker is interested in the matter.

"The Speaker has said that the Committee will inquire into the video clip circulating and quoting MP Onesmus Twinamatsiko," he said.

He said Ms Kadaga is attending the 62nd United Nations Session on the Status of Women in New York.

Meanwhile, the Uganda Women Network, a group of women activists want Mr Twinamatsiko to make a public apology.

Ms Ritah Aciro, the Executive Director of Uganda Women's Network (Uwonet) told Daily Monitor that the lawmaker's statements are sad.

"That man is not fit to be an MP. Is he defying the President that men who beat their wives are stupid? Is he speaking from experience? What value is he adding to Parliament if he cannot defend what the Constitution provides for?"

Ms Aciro said:"Is he representing his people's views? It is just sad and unfortunate that we still have such leaders in 2018."

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