The minister of State for Gender and Culture Affairs, Peace Regis Mutuuzo, has urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to institute an inquiry and investigate the recently held 2022 Inaugural Annual Elgon Festival organized by Babana Basha Masaba.
Mutuuzo says the circumstances that prevailed at the festival reflected “a violation of the rights of women and girls” with respect to their dignity and exposure to the risk of sexual violence.
She added that the organizers violated the rights of women and girls during the festival that was held on June 11 at Mbale SS Grounds.
The Ministry initially obtained information about the event from the various social media platforms and was able to verify this information with Mbale District Community Based Services Department.
During the festival, young women and girls were paraded and participated in a dance procession through the streets of Mbale City while dressed in skimpy attire with bare chests.
Mutuuzo argued that whereas the conveners and organizers of the event are free to enjoy their cultural and birth rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, this is only practically possible if other rights are upheld in respect.
“Unfortunately, this event in reference was held in disrespect and in contempt with various laws of Uganda,” she said.
She further described some of the activities of the Cultural festival as unlawful, degrading and reckless.
“This conduct does not represent the country’s transformative cultures and positive social norms that we cherish with respect to the rights of women and girls and indeed all citizens.”
She noted that the Ministry working through the Department of Community Based Services in Mbale will ensure that the women and girls will be followed up for psychosocial support and referral to other services where required.
Mutuuzo reiterated the government’s firm commitment to continue protecting the rights of women and girls as enshrined in Uganda’s progressive legal and policy frameworks.