#I6Days: No justice as Uganda female journalist commits suicide after gangrape

It is that time of the year when we dedicate 16 days to remind the world of the endless need to eliminate violence against women.
November 25 is the International Day for the elimination of violence against women. In Uganda various organisations have done a good job using different media to pass the message that ought to be the everyday message to the population.

Tweetups, SMS campaigns, radio talkshows are all on to get Ugandans to understand that violence against a woman is violence against humanity too! That you can judge a society by the way it treats its women.

A week before November 25th, I read a thread on Facebook group that I am part of. It was about a female journalist from Bukedde who had died during childbirth.

We didn’t discuss much. It was just condolence messages although I felt this was time for us to reflect how close issues we cover are to our own lives. In Uganda everyday 16 mothers die due to childbirth. This is due to complications that could be prevented. In many ways maternal health is a social justice issue.

Just as this news was sinking in, another disturbing post came up. A female journalist had committed suicide. Moreen Ndagire, whom I didn’t know personally, was a Sub-editor at a Red Pepper, a leading tabloid in Uganda. At the age of 24, she had achieved quite a lot that not many youth can do in this country with a high unemployment rate.

Moreen Ndagire at her graduation in last year. Photo from Observer.

The report said that Ndagire had committed suicide after she was gangraped. The rape took place in August, there’s not much detail of where but this devastation had sent Ndagire to immediately turn to attempt to take her life.

As Observer reports Ndagire was saved by relatives and then later came back to work. What was disturbing in this report is that a colleague at work even joked about the rape to Ndagire. When I tweeted about this story some people were quick to say that the use of ‘Kulika agasajja’ by a male colleague to Ndagire shouldn’t be taken as an abuse, that it wasn’t said in bad faith. However I wonder what sort of human finds it fitting to publically, in a newsroom, congratulate a girl for a surviving a rape. To me, this is unacceptable and horrific that even at work places women have no support and protection.

Ndagire walked out of her office and she returned and tried to work again the next day. According to the Observer report the Human Resource manager at Red Pepper doesn’t seem to concern herself with what an employee had faced. To her she seemed to work fine and she says they know little about her death.

Ndagire’s story is not just one; it is that of very many women who have faced rape, are abandoned by loved ones and have no fall back place much among their peers.
Rape victims in Uganda find another harrowing process trying to get an offender prosecuted. In fact most rapes in Uganda go unreported.

Even in the press report, it is not clear if there was an investigation to find the perpetrators of this crime that robbed Ndagire of her dignity and life.

After a few tweets I wondered what could be done for we shouldn’t let this young soul die in vain.

I contacted a friend, a lawyer and these were the suggestions.

“I think the matter can be followed up from Police side to see if we can see what police has done, any arrests and investigations. If nothing has been done (like I highly suspect), we can see how to raise this as a case of negligence and call police to act. Am surprised and shocked that it is not featuring anywhere in the 16 days of activism and am close to pointing fingers on why? Where is Fida, Uwonet and the numerous women organizations in this country? What are they doing about it? Can they do anything about it? Can they hire private investigators to get evidence?

For now if you are on twitter you can help send the message that a rape of a woman should not go without justice sought.

Send a tweet to @FIDAUganda, Police, @Ugandaupf , Women’s Media organization @UMWAandMamaFM , Uganda Women’s Network @uwonet

16 thoughts on “#I6Days: No justice as Uganda female journalist commits suicide after gangrape

  1. This is a case that should be set as an example of galvanising us towards justice and get visibility by all caring media .

  2. @ Rose thank you so much, I happen to live around the same place (Namanve) where the deceased was leaving. Its such a disappointing situation when you cant help but i thank you once again for using your skills to expose this. I am going to re tweet, re post your work.

  3. Oh my God, Women are the marginalized group of the marginalized humans, Men are responsible for any Rape case against women. Regardless of a woman’s behavior, it takes a man’s heart to act, they must be brought to justice.
    Mark Ijjo, Women Activist in South Sudan.

  4. I can’t blv it either!! may her soul rest in eternal peace but the corrupt police are in Kamuli intimidating Basoga to vote NRM” in the LC 5 by-elections…They won’t help except when we do an online campaign against it and ask for answers from our government officials starting from the presidents twitter address???

  5. Sorry about that story and i am that you are using your talent and passion to bring these injustices to light. I want to encourage every one concerned, that as we work hard to end this monster, let not neglect the boy child as well because at the end of it all they will one day relate with the ladies and due to poor grooming, they will end up like that heartless employee of red paper. That’s why at my place of work Fox web site design and hosting Uganda, http://fox.co.ug, there is clear work policies against vice that women face.

  6. May God have mercy on her soul. It is said that, “nothing goes unseen by God”. Whoever was involved in this terrible act, will be answerable to God during that time when their own number is called. You may run but, for sure you cannot hide from the site of God. You should be worried more about the one who casts both body and soul in hell. One day, your number will be up.

  7. This article is so heartbreaking. I am so saddened to hear that a woman with such a bright future had such a horrible ending to her life. I believe the future of this country can be great but the violence absolutely has to stop. I work for a non-profit in Africa that gives support to former child soldiers, men who have abandoned the violence and are turning their lives around. It is hard to look at this from the other side but if boys in this country were given opportunities like education and a way out of the violence terrible incidences like this wouldn’t happen. These boys are enlisted in these groups at such a young age. It is so important to get them off the streets and away from the violence. I am so sad to hear about this woman and pray that things like this don’t continue to happen.

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