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Pornography according to Lokodo (Part I)

April 8, 2013

I have just read the anti Pornography Bill that is currently before our parliament. This Bill was brought soon after the MPs stifled debate on the Marriage and Divorce Bill, which millions of Ugandans need urgently in place.

Lokodo’s anti-pornography bill however doesn’t just threaten women; it is attacking press freedom too. The media is portraying the Bill as a ‘mini-skirt’ law but if passed it has far reaching consequences on press freedom, freedom of expression, Internet freedom, right to privacy and culture.

According to the Bill

Pornography means any cultural practice, radio or television programme, writing, publication, advertisement, broadcast, upload on internet, display, entertainment, music, dance, picture, audio, video recording, show, exhibition or any combination of the preceeding that depicts (for now I concentrate on the clause) “Sexual parts of a person such as breasts, thighs, buttocks and genetalia.”

I am also angered and saddened by comments of our Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo in this Guardian article . He says:

“Any attire which exposes intimate parts of the human body, especially areas that are of erotic function, are outlawed. Anything above the knee is outlawed. If a woman wears a miniskirt, we will arrest her.” “Men are normally not the object of attraction; they are the ones who are provoked. They can go bare-chested on the beach, but would you allow your daughter to go bare-chested?”

These comments cannot be understood in any other way than being an outright attack on women and their sexuality, their freedom of expression and right to live the way the wish. Lokodo permits attack on women and blames sexual violence on women victims. These comments are part of wide efforts to politicize women’s dressing and obsession with women’s sexuality. In the Bill, Lokodo says “ponography fuels sexual crimes against women and children.”

I am moved to ask why do we have rape even in the most remote corners of our country? Did the Ugandan army watch porn before they raped several women and men during the northern Uganda war? Do all men that defile more than 600 children a year in Uganda watch pornography? Do all the more 500 raped women reporting to police every year wear miniskirts? Do hundreds of uncles and fathers that molest young girls in their families watch pornography? Too many questions on my mind! This is just insulting the dignity of victims of sexual violence

We have more urgent, pressing needs, young Ugandans need jobs, 16 women die everyday in my country due to preventable pregnancy related complications, Lokodo and his fellow ministers everyday dig deeper in our pockets stealing our hard-earned money. Thousands of girls do not complete primary education even with the faulty UPE system in place. But Lokodo and the regime he represents wont tackle all these! What is more immoral than distract our country from important debates on these issues?

It is ironic that this is a bill proposed by a minister who hails from Karamoja, a region where people are free in their nakedness. The pastoralist communities are known to roam looking for pastures wearing as little clothing as possible and they are free in their culture. Such a bill would be an indictment to such ethnic groups in away.

For now I wanted to say, this is pornography according to Lokodo. If Lokodo gets his way around parliament these photos could earn a person who publishes them imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine or both!

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And if you viewed these ‘pornographic’ photos you too could be imprisoned!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2013 2:21 pm

    First of all, I like your pictures. Especially the 2nd one has Echwalu written all over. Like you state, the biggest number of Women who have fallen victims of sexual violence have nothing to do with mini-skirts. The ‘idiots and fools’ are running away from substantial matters and discussing marriage, divorce, sex and mini-skirts. Somebody should add ‘idle’ to the title of ‘idiots and fool’

    • rosebell permalink*
      April 8, 2013 2:24 pm

      haa echwalu written all over!

  2. April 8, 2013 3:03 pm

    He sounds like a clergy from Saudi Arabia, a minister from the “morality squad”. I’d be curious to know how he would deal with the men who actually are the producers of “real” pornography, or how he woudl deal with men who inflict rape and violence on women?? He doesn’t appear to say much about either of those issues. My students are doing group presentations right now, end of the semester type stuff, and one group did their social action presentation on sexual violence and rape towards women in India (the group members were all Indian, all male and all international students). They ened their presentation by essentially saying that if women wanted to avoid getting raped they should dress “descently”. :o I thought, shit, haven’t I taught you guys anythuing in the previous elevent weeks. Needless to say, I had to point out to them the rape and violence towards women has noting to do with clothes, and everything towards violent men, and that their attitudes are troubling because it shifts the onus of responsibiity foor sexual violence onto women, and away from men. They didn’t get it.

  3. April 8, 2013 4:25 pm

    Rosebell, i concur with everything you say. this is a total distraction from the more pressing issues. and even the more important Bills. i hear about the Genetically Modified Organisms bill. someone tells me it is planned to wipe out theAfrican continent, make our soils infertile, and that the seed of GMO cannot be replanted. we shall suffer from poverty and die. Agriculture will be wiped out and so will the people who depend on it. And yet i hear our MPs are almost passing the bill. please do some research on this Bill and inform us.

  4. April 8, 2013 6:52 pm

    NICE PICTURES!!

  5. April 9, 2013 2:30 pm

    Hola! my Ugandan feminist sister! Good point, as always. Hon Simon Lokodo is an ideal patriarchy agent. One of the ways patriarchy sustains itself is by playing ‘blaming the victim’ card. ‘You are raped because you expose yourself ’, an ideology that assert men are unable to control their feelings and mind, and thus it is women’s responsibility not to provoke. so stereotypical! Funny how Mr Lokodo thinks us (Women) are not going to be attracted by that “bare-chasted” man. Not sure what comes to his mind when he think of this man, he must have seen too many unattractive naked men that made him disregard how a “bare-chasted” man can look sexy. Poor him! However when I think of that man, what comes to my mind is the one with a brown skin, with a 6 pack one plus a killing smile. (Take it easy girls, it is just a picture). But he definitely will not provoke me to GBV, rather to such a nice positive feeling.
    Just a suggestion to Mr Lokodo, Why don’t they first come up with a bill that will put a ceiling on abusive pictures in newspapers like ‘Onion’ and ‘Red Paper’/‘Red pepper’? (Which one is right I forget?) I am not sure they still do that but I remember in 2011 they used to put a naked picture of a rape survivor giving it a bold big title ‘A 14 year old girl ganged by two’. What the hell? How will this affect that girl? What message will it send to girls? Being raped and Exposed in a national newspaper. What will this teach for Ugandans youth and children? I remember the women organizations network did a lot of unsuccessful advocacies, but couldn’t accomplish due to reasons like corruption and the ‘people in power’ were not getting how that is contributing to the Gender inequality.
    Well, same goes in my country, just today in the morning I heard a news about a Guy throwing his young mistress from a 3rd floor apartment when the wife come back from work unexpectedly and guess what the police commander said to the journalist when he was asked about the incident? “There are people who want to take the mores they do while living in a ground house to an apartment life that is not going to work.” that is it! The concern is ‘you should transform your cheating tack ticks with time’ he didn’t say anything about how it is illegal to have a sexual relationship with another person that is not your wife, nor throwing the mistress from the 3rd floor window. This just clearly tells us how our ‘people in power’ are perfect agents for patriarchy.
    Lastly, love your first ‘photographic’ picture. I can see an Ethiopian touch in it. And please tell Mr Lokodo, African traditional closes have been ‘photographic’ for ages, and people used to live with respect and harmony. And also highlight him with the fact that Yemen, with a strict dress code is known for a high rate of Gender base violence, including rape that made her the 134th country in the Gender Gap Index.
    Adious!

  6. Rita permalink
    April 13, 2013 3:44 pm

    I’m disappointed! very soon we shall see “Eating bill” in the parliament. How funny Ugandan parliament is!

  7. Closerthanclose permalink
    April 23, 2013 2:44 am

    First of all, sorry for my english that might be sometimes hard to understand (I’m a “francophone”).

    I’d like to give here a different opinion on this really interesting and important topic. Obviously I will not doubt the fact there is a lot of demagogy and stupidity in what the politicians you’re talking about say. Some of them blame the victims of rapes for having been raped, some others will try to make women respect a sutpid dress code chosen by themselves but…

    …Trust me, being african first, and for having lived for many years in different european and one american countries, I think we as african need to have a clear legislation against everything promoting pornography or more precisely hardcore pornography (wikipedia : ” explicit depictions of sexual acts” or like written in the bill you quoted: “Sexual parts of a person such as breasts, thighs, buttocks and genetalia.”). That is absolutely important because too many people do not realize that pornography corrupts everything, and it’s actually impressive the ravage of that pornography here in Europe where everybody is really exposed to it, and where you can notice the consequences everyday, everywhere (everybody talking sex or watching sextapes everywhere, even kids !!). Obviously some people would talk privacy and say that people do have the right to do what they want to do, but I would say it’s really difficult to respect wives (your mother, your sister, your daughter etc.) when you often watch sextapes, the way they are treated in. And being tolerant to pornography is being quickly tolerant to all behaviours related to it, mature women/men openly chasing young boys/girls(I precised openly because I know it exists, but people tend to have less shame when they see some media encouraging it), young girls selling their virgnity, kids exposed to sex too early etc.

    I’m not saying that african are pure people, people who don’t insult, beat, rape their wives, but I assume we are currently far from some really bad sexual behaviours that you will find in the western world, and this is ironically due to our lack of communication infrastructure (low internet speed, lack of computers, electricity not everywhere). One example about this, can you imagine what is one of the favourite occupation of young people in cybercafés in MANY french speaking african countires ? Visiting pornographic websites (more sadly for some young girls, making sextapes they send to people they don’t know so they can get a husband…). Today let’s take advantage of the fact that Internet is not everywere yet so that we can put limits to it, we shall forbid everything promoting hardcore pornography.

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