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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Taking the law in your hand is primitive: Anti-pornography law: Police warns against undressing women: The women were reportedly going for church services on Sunday when they were undressed

Anti-pornography law: Police warns against undressing women

Ms Judith Nabakooba, the police
Ms Judith Nabakooba, the police spokesperson, has warned that people who undress skimpily-dressed women will be arrested. Monitor photo  


Posted  Tuesday, February 25  2014 at  02:00
In Summary
No mob justice. Following the recent Anti-Pornography law,police have warned the public against undressing women perceived to be dressed indecently as has been going on lately.Kampala- Police have warned the public against undressing women whom they perceive to be indecently dressed saying the Anti-Pornography law is not operational yet.

In a statement issued by the police spokesperson, Ms Judith Nabakooba, yesterday she warned: “If you suspect that the person is indecently dressed, you report to Police but not take the law into your own hands. If you participate in mob justice of undressing people and are caught, you will be dealt with accordingly.”
In several parts of Kampala especially taxi parks, there have been several incidents of skimpily dressed women being undressed ever since the State minister for Ethics and Integrity, the Rev Simon Lokodo, announced that President Museveni had assented to the bill.

The law prescribes various penalties for publishers, broadcasters, internet café operators who promote pornography.

Ms Nabakooba warned that even when the law is operational; it will not give the public authority to undress indecently dressed people. She said for the law to be implemented, there are procedures and guidelines that have to be fulfilled first.

“There are bodies and committees that have to be put in place before the law becomes effective and they have not been put in place,” she said.

She added: “The law creates a national anti-pornography committee responsible for its implementation by ensuring early detection, collection and destroying of pornographic materials.”

According to Ms Nabakooba, the committee members will be drawn from different stakeholders like the media and entertainment industries, and also create rehabilitation services to victims of pornography.

The Penal Code under section 128 criminalises undressing people as it is tantamount to indecent assaults.
While addressing journalists in Kampala on February 6, Fr Lokodo said, people who dress skimpily may fall prey to the legislation.

“If your miniskirt falls within the ambit of this definition then I am afraid you will be caught up by the law,” the minister said.  

The new law doesn't mention miniskirts even once
Days after signing the Anti-Pornography Act 2014 into law, The Observer has noted a change in the revellers’ dress codes in the city.
 A trip around town on Friday night showed that women’s hemlines had dropped towards the knees. At YMCA, which attracts lots of women for the Friday Night Lights, most women played safe with jeans.
Sandra Mbabazi says she has been putting on short skirts almost all her life, but on this occasion at the Serena, she was wearing a skirt, just above the knees. Her plan was to be cautious during the day but wear her mini at night.

“One can’t put on something long for club. They make you look like a nun. Some people have got good legs, how will they show them off’?” she asked rhetorically, before adding, “I can’t even put on a pair of pants. It has to be a miniskirt.”
For writer Mildred Apenyo, the new law will not change her dress code.

“How I dress, what I watch and read is my business. That will not change until I decide that it changes,” she said.

“We have rape all over the place, molestation is as common as pimples and yet instead of our anti-pornography law putting strict penalties in place against street molesters they are there eyeing hemlines.”
But others were more cautious, especially after the Friday incident, where a woman at Kisekka market was literally stripped naked, for wearing a skirt that the mob considered too exciting. Indeed, finding a miniskirt-clad woman during the day proved a hard task on Saturday.

However, The Observer has established that the new law has nothing to do with the length or shortness of women’s dresses.

Although the initial draft bill sought to restrict women’s dress freedoms, the law that was ultimately passed targets media organisations that show what is deemed to be pornographic material.

And this includes images “of a person engaged in real or [simulated] explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a person for primary sexual excitement.”

The apparent misreading of the law could be blamed on Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo. He suggested on February 18 the law would ultimately help fight indecent dressing.

“If you are dressed in something that irritates the mind and excites other people especially of the opposite sex, you are dressed in wrong attire and please hurry up and change,” Lokodo was quoted as having told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre.