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: Daniel from: Kigali
February 22, 2014 12:55 AM
i wish even in Rwanda

by: ali kanos from: nairobi kenya
February 21, 2014 12:12 PM
I wish even Kenya government will climb the same corridor with Uganda gova in its development becouse we are either Muslims or Christians where our authentic scriptures clearly outlines best ways of dressing for male and female.May Almighty God bless the people and gava of Uganda

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
February 21, 2014 4:36 AM
In order to treat women equally with their counterpart, Ugandan government should come up with provision regulating male's dress code: for example men should not be allowed to wear cowboy hate, white shirts with long sleeves,blue jeans and underwear.

by: derek from: kampala
February 21, 2014 1:42 AM
A gud number of the mps who passed law engage in adultery,fornication and corruption on a daily basis and its puzzling where and how they have the guts of dictating morals to their fellow countrymen and women
In Response

by: nhamo from: zimbabwe bulawayo
February 25, 2014 4:47 PM
Well said Derek , to many of those who pass these laws are guilty of other passtimes , married yet commiting adulterey, corruption, sex whilst unmarried, how can anybody take these kind of moral setters serious

by: kaye rodger from: Buzuga,Uganda
February 21, 2014 12:48 AM
the law should jst specify places where to and where to not where these mini skirts and all clothz in tht bracket......

by: azeez from: kampala
February 20, 2014 11:27 PM
Commenting or criticizing a law without finding time to read it is not only misleading but shear irresponsibility especially from a writer or journalist.I make bold to say that there is nowhere in d law where mini- skirt is mentioned except we are reading different laws!pls let's do our homework before making ridiculous & misleading comments.

by: ema from: uganda
February 20, 2014 4:32 PM
its not fair. this is a new generation
In Response

by: Muzee Richard Olango Abuk from: Phoenix, AZ USA
February 26, 2014 11:18 PM
It's true, this is not fair because we are in a new generation. Ugandan women should not be policed by men and the government as pertains to womens' personal life... wearing mini-skirt. There is no law here. The Lesbian and Gay issues is a violation of good and orderly sexual conduct, and mini-skirt is a shift in social and cultural norm. It is a shame on Uganda because our women are now being stripped naked in Kampala street. I stand with Uganda women in this struggle.
In Response

by: Jusu Opa Gokai from: Liberia
February 21, 2014 5:11 AM
I wish to use this medium to thank the Ugandian government for putting into place measure that will prevent our females from exposing their bodies in public places. I strongly believe that this will curtail the issue of rape and prostitution in Uganda and Africa at large. Again let me say BRAVO!BRAVO!BRAVO!

by: trixy from: kampala
February 20, 2014 7:24 AM
attimes our mps are very hopless how can a fully educated person pass a law against mini skirts i think dey are have no creative suggestions 4 developmental purposes
In Response

by: Jac from: Kampala
February 25, 2014 4:19 PM
My Frd trixy, am nt surprised at such laws because when u look at the group that made the laws, some are s.6 dropouts, others are our grandparents treating our country like a family affair, always dosing parliament while correcting ideas, what do u expect?

by: okelli from: Moroto
February 20, 2014 12:33 AM
Hurray Uganda!!! Hurray Parliament!!!
Mr. Lokodo (min. for integrity) is so damn right. Women have 4 many decades harrassed men sexually thru' much cleavage and thighs and nothing was done. good law.
In Response

by: Ibrah Ali from: Malaba
February 20, 2014 7:57 AM
Those who dress on miniskirts r always uncomfortable in public.Watch their body language n U wonder why they had to dress so! Most often U find them trying to pull down the skirt voluntarily knowing very well that it's indecent. Do U have to parade your nakedness? Stop copying decadent western codes.

by: Godwin from: NIGERIA
February 19, 2014 3:42 PM
I think that is good, if only it will happened here in nigeria. Because ladies here are almost naked
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