By Innocent Anguyo
Senior lecturers at Makerere University School of Women and Gender Studies have asked the Parliament to revive the debate on the Domestic Relations Bill and pass the instrument.
The dons opined that the Bill would stem inequality and gender-based violence once passed. They made the call on Friday at the school in a public dialogue to mark 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
The Domestic Relations Bill (Initially called the Marriage and Divorce Bill) was shelved earlier this year after stakeholders across the country failed to agree on a number of its provisions such as tittle, cohabitation, age for marriage, divorce among others.
Dr. Consolata Kabonesa, the dean of the School of Women and Gender Studies noted that there was need to pressure parliament into revisiting the bill saying once passed, it would go a long way in empowering women.
“Gender based violence affects everyone irrespective of their class. The law would not only enlighten the public about their roles in fighting inequality and gender based violence but it would also establish how to deal with the culprits,” said Dr Kabonesa.
Dr. Kabonesa also beseeched parliament to translate all gender related laws into the various local languages spoken across Uganda on grounds that such a move would make the laws comprehensible to the ordinary folk especially those in the rural areas.
She further noted that the failure to eradicate gender violence and inequality from Uganda was informed by ignorance among the larger populace and the elitist nature of anti-gender based violence messages disseminated.
Allaying the fear of Uganda that the situation may remain the same for a while, Kabonesa said: “However, the School of Women and Gender Studies is committed to sensitizing the community on gender issues.”
Veronica Nakijoba, another senior lecturer said the school would soon launch research on Gender based violence in Uganda, noting that the subject seemed to be neglected by researchers.
Meanwhile, Tina Musuya, the Executive Director of Center for Domestic Violence beseeched authorities to study the character of persons applying to hold small arms because they were allegedly fueling homicide.
“All family members should consent to acquiring a small arm because it could later be used against them,” cautioned Musuya.
Helen Kezie-Nwoha, an international expert on gender issues while presenting a paper titled, “Women’s bodies as a battle ground: sexual violence in conflict situations” said small arms were equally a leading cause of homicide across the globe.
“There are over 900 million small arms in the hands of private individuals in the world. This year alone, many soldiers have been reported to have killed their family members,” stated Kezie-Nwoha.