KAMPALA- Almost two weeks after Bugangaizi East MP, Onesimas Twinamatsiko apologised in Parliament over utterances in support of men who beat their wives, at least a 25 civil society organisations are lobbying Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to suspend him.
Led by Ms Bonnie Kicoco, the executive director for Centre for Women in Governance, the women activists say, the MP should be suspended for at least five months to “act as a lesson” to men who violate rights of women and girls.
“It is so unfortunate that in this era of fighting domestic violence, an MP is able to shamelessly stand in front of cameras and support violence. His actions showed he has not matured to represent a constituency [in Parliament],” Ms Kicoco said in Kampala on Wednesday. “…even when he was tasked to apologise over his remarks, Twinmatsiko went on to fuel fresh controversy by telling Parliament that he meant a different kind of beating.”
Mr Twinamastiko’s troubles stem from remarks he made on NTV, an affiliate of Daily Monitor in response to comments by President Yoweri Museveni against men who batter their wives, on March 8 in Mityana District during celebrations to mark the International Women’s Day.
Mr Twinamatsiko disagreed with the President saying beating women is good to “streamline” them.
His comments attracted criticism from several activists and some of his colleagues in Parliament, who demanded an apology which he did.
Ms Dora Musinguzi the Executive Director of Advocates of Justice in Health, HIV and Gender Equality, part of the group calling for the suspension of the MP, asked government to translate its commitments into actions on violence against women and girls by starting with Mr Twinamatsiko who publically endorsed violence.
“…it is estimated that violence against women costs Uganda Shs77.5 billion annually in expenses and lost profits,” Ms Musinguzi said.
She said that intimate partner violence, sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence which remain rampant throughout Uganda, not only violate the rights of victims, but also undermine the nation’s economic and social development and security.
Uganda Demographic Health Survey of 2016, still shows high prevalence of violence against women and girls; 56 per cent of women in Uganda have experienced physical violence at some point from the age of 15.