By Patrick Jaramogi
WOMEN activists have demanded that bride price be outlawed. The rights campaigners under their umbrella organisation, the Uganda Womenâ€™s Network (UWONET), said the practice was a leading cause of violence against women.
â€œThe case of Jenipher Alupot, who was forced by her husband, Nathan Amoloi, to breastfeed puppies, is just a tip of a complex issue. We have discovered that violence against women is due to bride price. Should a man beat a woman as he wishes because he paid some cows to her parents?â€ asked Harriet Gimbo, the head of human rights advocacy at Action Aid.
â€œActionAid worked on the petition with the Mifumi project of Tororo district and handed it to the Constitutional Court. We want the court to declare bride price illegal. We will use examples like Alupotâ€™s case to gather support to help millions of cases that have not been reported,â€ Gimbo told journalists in Kampala yesterday.
She said the women had collected affidavits from Pallisa, Nebbi, Karamoja and Mubende districts.
â€œWe demand that the Police expeditiously handles Alupotâ€™s case and that her husband be produced in court. We are also heading to Pallisa to carry out independent investigations and we are demanding that Parliament immediately passes the Domestic Relations Bill and the Sexual Offences Bill,â€ said UWONET coordinator Rita Achiro.
She added: â€œWhy should a poor woman, who reports a case to the Police be declared insane? We shall not sit until Alupot gets justice. We are not ending with this press conference. We will hold a massive demonstration tomorrow.â€
Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba, however, said they had not yet got request for the demonstration.
She said the Police were investigating Alupotâ€™s case.
â€œWhat we have on record is a case of child neglect reported by Alupot. A team of investigators have talked to her neighbours and found out that there are no dogs at her home.â€
Nabakooba added the Police had been informed that Alupotâ€™s medical report does not show traces of dog bites.
She also disclosed that AMoloi was re-arrested on Monday and released on bond after recording a statement.
Achiro, however, said they would not accept a medical report from the Police.
â€œSince when did Police officers start carrying out mental examinations on people? We are taking our own doctors to do that,â€ she said.