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Judge attacks university dons over expulsion of female students

By Sandra Kyalitesa

Added 18th November 2019 01:19 PM

Batema said the boys and men who impregnate female students remain in school untouched yet girls are denied their right to education.

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High court judge, David Batema (File photo)

Batema said the boys and men who impregnate female students remain in school untouched yet girls are denied their right to education.

High court judge, David Batema has criticised university leaders for expelling adult female students who get pregnant instead of considering their unique natural maternal function in society.

Batema said the boys and men who impregnate female students remain in school untouched yet girls are denied their right to education.

“When one is above 18 years, she is an adult and allowed to start a family even at the university according to the law.

The law does not stipulate that it should be after the wedding for one to start a family; I would therefore not expect the university regulation to be above the constitution which allows an adult woman to start a family,” said Batema.

While presenting a Maputo lecture on Thursday at Makerere University, organized by Equality Now, Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) and Solidarity for African Women Rights (SOAWR), Batema asked government to initialise the Maputo protocol stating that a university in Mukono would not have expelled  adult, pregnant students, if the protocol was initialised.

The Maputo Protocol is a treaty instrument that was originally adopted by the Assembly of the African Union in Mozambique and 43 African countries approved it.

The Protocol is a powerful tool for promoting women’s rights and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

Batema said the constitution provides for a commitment to the principles of equality and non-discrimination however, he pondered as to why the interest and welfare of women and girls are outlawed.

“Justice to women is still a problem in Uganda yet the protocol provides that women and men are equal before the law and shall have the right to equal protection and benefits.

The alternatives to imprisonment as punishment are rarely given to women and yet these are caregivers whose absence from home usually kills or breaks the whole family,” Batema said.

Similarly, Primah Kwagala, the Women’s Probono Initiative (WPI) urged women to embarrass their rights by understanding the constitution and the protocol.

Batema requested the citizens to first popularise peace, reconciliation and unity in order to embarrass justice.

He added that access to justice in the courts of law is still a problem because women still face obstacles including the physical location of the courts and the financial resources needed to use the formal legal system, the length of the legal process and the litigation process which makes women give up.

“Some courts have no special arrangements to accommodate breastfeeding mothers and their children and People with Disabilities (PWDs).

The courts and the law, both informal and formal are male in nature,” Batema enlightened.

Batema called upon government to sensitise and train parliament representatives to make gender-responsive legislation based on the core values and human rights principles set out in Maputo Protocol.

Students’ leader's comment:

Julius Katerega, the Guild President Makerere University

I have heard about universities expelling adult female students because they are pregnant but such universities are established on religious backgrounds.

 This is wrong to expel female pregnant students who join universities when they are adults regardless of whether they are married or not.

Bruce Amanya, the Guild President Uganda Christian University Mukono

It never happens expelling adult female pregnant students but the university does not encourage getting pregnant before marriage.

Raymond Gamukama, the Vice Guild President Ndejje University

If you’re pregnant, you have to inform the administration earlier before the semester has started and there’s a form given to fill in to allow the pregnancy.

 

 

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