By Fortunate Ahimbisibwe
THE Media Council yesterday set a stiff condition for the organisers of The Vagina Monologues, demanding that some parts be struck from the script before it goes on stage.
The council said in a ruling that alongside issues of violence and abuse of women, the play â€œprominently promotes and glorifies acts of unnatural sex, masturbation, lesbianism or homosexuality.â€
â€œTo the extent that the play promotes illegal, unnatural sexual acts, homosexuality and prostitution, it should be and is hereby banned. This will not be the case if the organisers expunge all the offending parts to the satisfaction of the council,â€ the ruling said.
It said the play offends and corrupts public morals and should be restricted to adults.
â€œThey must inform the public that the play contains scenes and language of a graphic nature that may be offensive to sections of the public. The organisers should make prominent advertisements in the media, on the tickets as well as the venue that there are age restrictions,â€ it said.
The play, which was to be at Ndere Centre in Kampala on Saturday, became the first to receive a blow from the Media Council in many years.
However, sources said the organisers said on Tuesday that â€œthe title, content, as well as the dates on which the play is to be staged are non-negotiable.â€
â€œThe Council was informed by the organisers that the title could not be changed due to restrictions of intellectual property rights dictated by the author of the play, Eve Ensler,â€ the sources said.
â€œThe council finds that the play addresses several cases of violence against women. It describes unimaginable and unacceptable forms of mutilation, violence and pain suffered across the world. The council is unequivocal on the urgent need to address these cases with a view to stop the inhumane, degrading, abusive and cruel treatment of women,â€ it said.
Ethics and integrity state minister Tim Lwanga yesterday told Parliament, â€œThe Vagina Monologues is not going to be shown.â€
Council chief Fr. John Mary Waliggo said yesterday that the fate of the play lay with the council.
Kefa Ssempangi (Ntenjeru South), who raised the issue in the house, said â€œThe Play is obscene and pornographic although it was under the guise of women liberation.â€ He called for an injunction.
By press time, the organisers were still locked in a meeting, plotting their next move.
Meanwhile, Steven Candia reports that churches and civil society organisations yesterday backed the council to block the play.
Eighteen church leaders and the Coalition for Morality, Ethics and Integrity-Uganda petitioned the Presidency to stop the play, which they said touched on morals.
They said the play was a smokescreen for graphic lesbian pornography and it demeaned women.
They said the play was viciously anti-male and it was obscene.
They said the title of the play was likely to â€œopen a can of wormsâ€ and it reduced women to their sexual organs. The Church of Uganda, Seventh Day Adventist, the Orthodox Church and Kampala Pentecostal Church signed the memorandum.
They accused the author of being â€œobsessed and fixated with the female sexual organ to the extent that the word â€œvaginaâ€ is repeated more than 100 times in the play.â€
They said the play contains graphic descriptions of masturbation, rape, and genital mutilation in manner that is â€œabhorrent, outrageous and disgusting.â€