Is Ushs 300,000 worth a life? Story of a woman in Pader, northern Uganda

In August while conducting a research in northern Uganda on the inclusion or exclusion of women in the implementation of the Peace Recovery and Development Plan, I came a across Barbra Otuku, a very brilliant, hard-working young lady in Pader. She has a university degree and she could work in a better place but she’s passionate about her work  working with women in post conflict areas. Pader district was one of the last places that Lord’s Resistance Army rebels stayed before they forced into Sudan and DRC. In terms of development Pader is still far and most of the the areas are hard to reach. Otuku rides a bike and traverses Pader district documenting problems and concerns of women in resettled areas most of which have no hospitals, no roads, schools and water sources. She sent me this story which I just did a few edits. Pader has high rate of domestic violence and many women have lost their lives. The police is very ill-equipped. The last I visited the district didn’t have a functional vehicle so the police have to walk for miles to investigate cases. For many women in Pader, the Recovery plan is yet to address their issues and with such insecurity one can conclude we are far from implementing UNSCR 1325.

By Barbra Otuku.

Grace Akidi, a market vendor in Pader was brutally murdered by her husband Nyeko on the 22/10/2010 Friday night. David, Omony the Land lord of the deceased last saw her before she went to her the market where she worked.

Her husband Nyeko appeared at Akdi’s kiosk at 9:30 pm and walked with Akidi. Akidi’s body was later found. She had been stabbed twice in the stomach. Akidi first husband died and she was inherited by a brother-inlaw before she married Nyeko but the marriage was not going well. Grace could not persevere all the pain and burden the husband had put on her.  According to her fellow market vendors, she hoped to return back to her second husband, but when Nyeko got to know, he became very aggressive and began demanding his 350,000 shillings which he used for opening the business for her. However, Grace did not have that sum of money which might have led to her death.

Women market vendors demonstrate in Pader against the murder. Photo by Barbara Otuku

“Grace is just one of the hundreds of women in northern Uganda who lost their lives as a result of misunderstanding with spouses” says Doreen, a market vender

Despite the existence of the laws in Uganda, the death toll of murder among women is increasingly becoming very common in Pader district. This week alone, two people were murdered not on very clear reasons. This is alarming especially for women who are so much scared of their lives, they believe any time their spouses can kill them at the least quarrel and no justice served. The murderer many times walk free.

When Barbra Otuku, social worker from WORUDET interviewed the women who are vendors in Pader market about the death of their colleague said.

“The women demand that the murderer be prosecuted.”

“They demand that the market should be fenced and guards should be put in place to patrol the market area in the night. They stated that wrong dowers used the market as their hiding place in the night.”

“They strongly stated that murderers should not walk freely from prison unpunished. Justice must be done in a fair manner.” The women also want domestic violence addressed.

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