BY EMMANUEL OKOT
AND ESTHER BYOONA
Former Ethics Minister, Miria Matembe, has asked government to implement affirmative action in private Universities.
Matembe said that there is no reason why affirmative action is not implemented in private universities yet and vowed to lobby government to come up with a new policy.
“Private universities do not care about government policies, I am going to fight to my last breath for affirmative action to be implement in private institutions,” Matembe angrily responded after asking the Director for Student Affairs Olive Ayo Birabi on the state of affirmative action in UCU and realizing that it is inactive.
Affirmative action refers to a body of policies and procedures designed by Government to eliminate discrimination against marginalized groups such as women. In Uganda’s public universities, women enjoy an extra 1.5 points during the selection of students to join university.
Matembe made the remarks on Friday 8, in Nkoyoyo Hall during the launch of Uganda Women’s Network- UCU Chapter at the main campus in Mukono. The launch was organized to take place on the celebrations to mark the International Women’s Day.
Matembe, a staunch critique of President Yoweri Museveni and his government, also used the event to commend NRM for recognizing women and the youth.
“People know me as a staunch critic of NRM and President Museveni, but I want to congratulate him for a good job well done in recognizing women and youth,” she said.
Matembe noted that more than 33 years ago, women and the youth in Uganda had no recognition. “In institutions of higher learning, women were only perusing courses like education but today the trend has changed though not completely,” she said.
But she expressed disappointment about the low turn out of students at the launch. “How many female students are in this university and how many are here today? I am sorry that you women are reducing your dignity to this level,” Matembe said.
On sexual harassment in universities, she noted that some women were making sexual harassment inevitable by not reporting cases to the authories.
“Silence kills. Some of you girls enjoy sexual harassment. When we were tasked to investigate sexual harassment at Makerere University, some ladies were quiet and that is why those men are finding it easy to do what they are doing to you,” Matembe said.
Matembe urged men to release authority to women and avoid arrogance for the attainment of an equal society. She also noted that there are women who harass men sexually and pleaded to them to stop it if our society is to achieve equality. She added that the mistakes women have is depending on men to learn, not knowing that the latter are clay and fragile.
Ms Ayo Birabi congratulated the male students who accompanied their female colleagues to attend the celebration of Women Day and the launch of UWONET UCU Chapter.