Hundreds of activists took part in today's 'One Million March' to protest against a spate of kidnaps and killings of women in the country.
The march started from Centenary Park to Railway grounds under the protection of the police today morning. Several activists who included women and men held placards reading 'Stop killing us, women's lives matter, her body her future and Ugandan lives matter'.
The activists were joined by America Ambassador Deborah Malac and French Ambassador Stephanie Rivoal. Initially, police had blocked the march, but on Thursday Internal Affairs minister Jeje Odongo granted the activists permission to demonstrate.
Dr Stella Nyanzi, the chief organizer of march said as part of the activities, they plan to visit areas and families of the 42 murdered women and talk to members of the community, meet members of parliament of parliament and media as they highlight the plights facing women in the country.
"In terms of the things we’re yet to do, there is a public media engagement which was frustrated because the permission letter came late from police. Secondly, there’s a parliamentary engagement particularly with female MPs in Uganda. The third area which plan on working; is to visit the orphans, widowers and communities where these women were murdered..."
The protest comes on the backdrop of several killings of women in the country over the last year. Records show that 42 women have been murdered in the last one year.
The women activists are also demanding investigations into the killings. Ambassador Rivoal said when women are killed, they don't attract as much attention as men. She says that she joined the march to make a statement that women's lives matter. She applauded the police for permitting the protest. Rivoal, however, condemned the unnecessary use of force by security agencies.
"I would like to thank the Ugandan police for allowing that march. It shows that they also care about the women being murdered and am sure they are doing their best to find the culprits and the murders. Of course we condemn the use of violence which is not necessary, we’ll do it here, we’ll do it anywhere including in our own countries. The police are here to protect the people, they’re to be respected, they’re role models for society and as such they have the responsibility to behave in the very best possible way. We condemn violence anywhere including in my own country." she said.
Ambassador Malac said women should be provided security and given confidence that the killings will stop.
"Women deserve confidence as they walk around streets doing their businesses. We are really happy to be here with all these young and wonderful women and hopefully we will continue to do more to push for an end to violence against women," Malac said.
Richard Ssewakiryanga, the executive director Uganda NGO Forum, said the march was significant because it brought to the fore, the issue of violence against women.