At Makerere Law School, I was one of the few male students in the gender and the law course unit class, then headed by Prof. Sylvia Tamale.
That is partly because I was brought up by a grandmother with majority of girls, which made me appreciate the role of women. I opposed the “Miss Curvy” contest launched by Minister Godfrey Kiwanda a few months ago because protection of the dignity of women is far beneficial than the money that may come from presenting the nature of their bodies as a tourist attraction, which in turn degrades and reduces them to objects intended to make men happy. Women are beyond that.
My prayers were answered when the final contest did not attract the organizers’ expected turnout. Last week, I was shocked when I viewed Pastor Aloysius Bugingo’s video, straight from the church altar, narrating how he sustained his wife’s haemorrhage ailment for 10 years, and how he used to buy cartons of cotton because pads could not work in stopping the bleeding.
That he topped up this patience with spending money on treatment and how his wife was not able to be in bed with him at least 100 times during their 29-year marriage. These created doubts in my mind about the pastoral credentials of a man who recently obtained a diploma in theology.
The divorce papers he filed in court reveal that he is a dishonest man because among the children, he lists a son of four years. He needs to explain how that son of four years came up yet he claims that the haemorrhage was for the past 10 years.
Bugingo’s statements are totally unconstitutional, awaiting a court case. Every Ugandan citizen, which I think pastor Bugingo is, is duty-bound under Article 17(1)(c) of the Constitution “to protect…vulnerable persons against any form of abuse, harassment or ill-treatment;”
Article 33 provides that “Women shall be accorded full and equal dignity of the person with men…Women shall have the right to equal treatment with men and that right shall include equal opportunities in political, economic and social activities…women shall have the right to affirmative action for the purpose of redressing the imbalances created by history, tradition or custom.”
Article 32(2) provides that “Laws, cultures, customs and traditions which are against the dignity, welfare or interest of women…or which undermine their status, are prohibited by this Constitution.”
Article 31 provides that “A man and a woman are entitled to marry ….and are entitled...to found a family; and to equal rights at and in marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution…It is the right and duty of parents to care for and bring up their children.”
Bugingo has infringed all the above provisions and has exposed his children and in-laws to ridicule. As a country, he has degraded our own foundation which is based on women who bring us up through birth, breastfeeding and the related.
Article 50(1) of the Constitution empowers every Ugandan to check this conduct by providing that “Any person who claims that a fundamental or other right or freedom guaranteed under this Constitution has been infringed or threatened, is entitled to apply to a competent court for redress which may include compensation.”
Pastor Bugingo, by uttering reckless words about any medical or sexual life of any woman, you are degrading your own mother, grandmother and even your new-found ‘wife’. What will happen if your new ‘wife’ suffers from a graver ailment than that of the old one?
A Luganda proverb states that “Bwozingamira enkadde, n’ejozimba ekulema” translated as “If you neglect your old house, you also fail to complete the one under construction.” By degrading your old wife, you will equally fail to find a new one because they are all women who deserve respect and protection of their secrets, so that they can do the same to you.
If you would not be happy for your wife to expose your bathing, eating or sleeping habits, your HIV/Aids status or your manhood strengths, why do you think that you are at liberty to disclose her health history (which I believe is false)? You are duty-bound to take care of your wife and you must preach that to your followers.
Preachers are bound by our hard-earned Constitution, hence Pastor Bugingo should be suspended from preaching because what he preaches is unconstitutional and intended to destroy our children and family fabric.
The writer studied Gender and The Law at Makerere University.