News / Africa

New Law Bans Miniskirts in Uganda

FILE - A woman wearing a miniskirt takes part in a protest in Jakarta against the idea that provocatively dressed women are to blame for sexual assaults.
FILE - A woman wearing a miniskirt takes part in a protest in Jakarta against the idea that provocatively dressed women are to blame for sexual assaults.
The Ugandan government said the president has signed into law sweeping and controversial anti-pornography legislation that outlaws miniskirts and other types of revealing clothing.
 
The new law covers a range of issues related to pornography, including child pornography, pornographic publications and even suggestive music videos.
 
But what is grabbing headlines and stirring debate is the dress code.  The law makes it illegal to wear revealing clothing, including tops that show too much cleavage and miniskirts, defined as anything above the knee.
 
Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo said Tuesday that it is now forbidden to wear any clothing that could be deemed sexually exciting. 

“If you dress in such a way that you irritate the mind and excite the people then you are badly dressed; if you draw the attention of the other person outside there with a malicious purpose of exciting and stimulating him or her into sex,” he said.
 
Ugandan women have been speaking out against the law, which, they said, primarily affects them.
 
Rita Achiro of the Uganda Women’s Network, a rights advocacy group, said such legislated control over women’s bodies sets a dangerous precedent for women’s rights.
 
“Such laws actually take a country like Uganda backwards in regards to women’s empowerment.  I do not want to look at it just as the miniskirt, but rather look at it from controlling women’s bodies, and eventually that will end up into actual total control of women,” she said.
 
Achiro also argued strongly against the law’s implication that the way a woman dresses incites a man to rape, pointing out that in many Ugandan cultures Western-style dress is a comparatively new phenomenon.  For centuries women in these cultures wore very little clothing at all, she said, and yet rape was neither common nor tolerated.
 
The penalties for wearing revealing clothing remain unclear.  But short skirts are a common sight in Uganda, particularly among young women in the capital.  Many Ugandan women say the dress code will be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

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by: kingsley tama from: valletta,malta
March 06, 2014 5:22 AM
as anti gay law be implemented,it wil spill over to other related pornography issue

by: Musa from: USA
February 27, 2014 9:06 AM
There are better issue to be address rather that a law that has to do with dress code.

by: Sopani Sichinga from: Malawi
February 26, 2014 1:15 PM
I think the Mr President is somehow correct. Am saying this because the way women dress these days its they don't give respect to themselves. Soon they will start walking naked.

by: Eugene from: Nairobi
February 26, 2014 1:12 PM
It is ironic that in Africa we keep bashing Western mannerisms and culture for it's perceived detriments but as it has been said we were contentedly roaming about naked barely 100 yrs ago as 'sovereign Africans'... the only decadence here are the lies and hypocrisy. In Kenya, Uganda and S. Sudan many communities still walk about naked obliviously... will entire communities now go to jail?
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
February 28, 2014 10:44 AM
Ignorance may not be an excuse at law, but sometimes it attracts less contempt. It's willful acts that attract greater consequences. Mini skirts are not ignorance; it is a willful design to allure, seduce or tempt into inordinate affection and afterwards to claim rape. Let it be as it were. In the days of ignorance God overlooked, but now all have been called to behave...

by: John Stefanyszyn from: Montreal
February 26, 2014 11:49 AM
Hypocrisy of Uganda’s Self-Righteousness

Uganda’s leaders say…
...homosexuality is a crime
...wearing mini-skirts is a crime
...BUT….polygamy is not a crime

The LEADERS desire to rule by what is right in their own eyes.

by: walter from: Nairobi
February 26, 2014 12:31 AM
This law is Barbaric draconian monstrous uncalled-for and ambiguous and including everything bad .It should specify which areas should not be exposed what if a lady don’t wear a miniskirt and I wear a pant for example will that be against the law and the Men should also be burned from wearing tight pants coz they make them sexy Lol…………………………..

by: Mutamba asifu ali from: Wakiso uganda
February 25, 2014 4:13 AM
Uuh atleast but it was worse
In Response

by: Uganda from: kampala
February 26, 2014 11:34 AM
Let me hope you know what the word mini-skirt means because ths has triggered the idle and disorderly to begin there barbaric acts of undressing and attacking women under the act of fighting mini-skirts what they don't know wat it means

by: musa from: kampala
February 23, 2014 2:11 PM
infact it was too.. late for ugandans.

by: kituyi doreen from: uganda
February 23, 2014 12:24 AM
Importing of mini skirts and those selling them should be burnt first if not then then the law of miniskirts wont work coz once they continue selling them then who wont buy.thk about it

by: Anonymous from: stockholm
February 22, 2014 8:18 AM
i think this minister lokodo is not serious for he is bringing his personal affairs into the normal everyday life of a local ugandan.
I mean long ago if he is truly ugandan and knows about the history of uganda ...women in most cultures never used to dress in any thing too lond...it was either a very small cloth to cover the breasts and private parts and they would move freely and no one would object until the colonialists came introducing long and heavy clothes.... includind the gomesi which is not any where in our culture.
So im just wondering is this law out to conserve the Ugandan culture and stop pornography or is it out to infringe on womens rights koz to me its like the men get to do all they want nd the women dont.
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