National Youth MP Anna Adeke Ebaju. FILE PHOTO
By Anthony Wesaka
Soroti District Woman MP-elect Anna Ebaju Adeke has dropped a bombshell by revealing that she was recently sexually harassed by a fellow legislator during a foreign trip.
Ms Adeke cited an incident where she had gone on an official foreign trip and a male MP she had travelled with allegedly fondled her breasts, to her disbelief.
“A male colleague, who is much older than me, I think I shouldn’t say much but I think in 1990, he had already joined the bar, came and tapped my chest as I was looking through the mirror. He came and held my breast like this….and I was so shocked,” MP Adeke narrated on Monday evening at a function in Kampala organised by Uganda Law Society to celebrate female lawyers joining the next Parliament.
She added: “I looked around and all the men there, said ‘yah…yah, so what!’ I am just saying the House is so much patriarchal but we thank you madam Speaker (Ms Rebecca Kadaga) because you have given us a platform to air out the issues that people think should not be talked about.”
MP Adeke did not disclose the offending MP or further details about the incident. She also did not say whether she reported the matter to police for investigation.
Sexual harassment is any form of unwelcome sexual behaviour that is offensive, humiliating or intimidating and it is against the law.
Speaker Kadaga, who was the chief guest at the event, however, did not respond to MP Adeke’s sexual harassment complaints.
According to the 2019 Police Crime report, 15,706 persons were victims of sex-related crimes and of these, 13,536 were female juveniles, 278 male juveniles while 1,829 were female adults and 63 male adults.
In a related development, Ms Kadaga, in her remarks at the function, promised to find out why prisoners, up to now, are not physically brought to courts to have their cases heard.
She was responding to a complaint by assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Winfred Ahimbisibwe that non-physical appearance of suspects in courts due to Covid-19, had paralysed prosecution of cases, leading to congestion in prisons.
Ms Ahimbisibwe requested the Speaker to intervene and have suspects physically brought to court provided they observe the Standard Operating Procedures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
When Covid-19 hit the country, the prisons and the Judiciary stopped the transportation of inmates to courts in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19. It is now more than a year since the lockdown was imposed.
“I am going to raise this matter. I have been speaking for other areas that are still closed such as the boda bodas, schools, among others– those that have written to me. But certainly, this is a serious matter, no justice for one year, no no….we must do something,” she added.
Former Ethics and Integrity minister Miria Matembe cautioned MPs at the function to avoid lavish expenditure on powerful vehicle and demanding huge salaries at the expense of the electorate, who are grappling with poor service delivery due to effects of Covid-19.
The former minister also castigated government for undermining women by not appointing them to top leadership positions both in the Executive and Judiciary.