Outrage After Ugandan Police Strip a Female Opposition Official Naked in Public
A screenshot of YouTube video showing police officers arresting the opposition official.
An official from the leading Ugandan opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)
was arrested and stripped naked in public by police after they had blocked the
party’s leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye, on his way to hold a rally.
Zainab Fatuma, a National Executive Committee member and FDC
secretary for environment,
is seen in footage from the scene struggling
against officers, who restrain her and tear off her clothes.
you undressing me?” she shouts repeatedly in the video.
However, the Uganda police force have denied that the police stripped her,
saying that Fatuma undressed herself.
‘A grave human rights abuse’
Uganda's state security forces have routinely stripped naked women
involved in peaceful protests
against President Yoweri Museveni's
increasingly intolerant approach to dissenting voices.
Reacting to the incident, a coalition of civic organisations in the country released a statement
condemning the degrading treatment of women in active politics in Uganda:
The women’s movement, civic associations and women
leagues of political parties and citizens
who identify with adherence to
the Constitution by all state institutions strongly condemn the use
degrading and dehumanizing acts by the Uganda Police Force which is
mandated to provide
law and order. These acts manifest as both a
political tool to intimidate women’s leadership
but also as a grave
human rights abuse.
The incident and the police spin on it have angered many Ugandan
citizens, prompting some to unite
against police brutality by sending
messages to the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura using
Ugandan lawyer and activist Jacqueline Asiimwe tweeted:
President Yoweri Museveni's rule has been characterized by the enactment of repressive laws,
the militarization of what should ideally be a civilian police force, the unabashed recruitment
and training of militias by the regime, and the ever-present threat of a clampdown on electronic
and print media outlets and suppression of opinions on social media.
When taken together with this most recent incident, it seems that the
30-year-old regime is
digging in and has no intention of advancing political and civilliberties.