#WomensMarchUganda – Women’s Lives Matter!

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The Ugandan Women’s March took place on Saturday June 30th, 2018 in the capital Kampala. After initial denial to grant a protest permit by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the women’s protest working group successfully lobbied the Internal Affairs Minister, until the last minute to get police to approve their march permit.

This post is dedicated to the courageous feminist organizers and women and men that showed up to march for the 43 women (another woman’s body was discovered a day before the march in Jinja) whose lives were lost brutally. Ugandans and non-Ugandans who marched in solidarity did so to highlight police responsibility in ensuring the security of women regardless of sex, sexuality, class, age, ability and other protected categories.

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Tricia Twasiima, member of the women’s protest working group addressing the crowd on why they are marching

Men and women from all walks of life joined in on the march.

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Some planned to march with an elaborate quilt made in honour of the lives lost.

Key issues that were also highlighted include justice for sex workers, who were among the murdered women. Concerns over who matters enough for police to investigate and provide redress was highlighted by members of sex workers association.

Other members of the women’s protest working group also stressed that these kidnaps and murders are indicative of systemic issues that need to be confronted, including policy accountability. Most often cited reasons for these murders have ranged from walking alone, wearing revealing clothes, jealous husbands and lovers. Regardless of these excuses, the organizers stressed that “women are human beings who can wear what we want; walk at whatever time we want; visit whichever places we want to visit; and we are saying that we want security now!”

 

Women’s Lives Matter

Feminist Solidarity Across Borders

~ “you strike a woman, you strike a rock.”

And these rocks come out from everywhere because our contexts are different but our struggles are the same.

 

Prior to the protest, I was nervous of how it would all go down but also hopeful that the day would leave a mark in history books. The energy during the protest was powerful, magnetic, full of fellowship, solidarity, rightful rage, empathy, humanity and warmth. Hoping that after this we achieve a resolve in the many heart-breaking cases that have been brought forward since 2015 and that the process is transparent and just. For what good is a country’s security or its glorified defence forces if its femmes, women and girls, don’t feel safe in it?

~ Marie Ainomugisha is a feminist creative using visual and literary mediums to tell and amplify stories about the people of Africa; centering the experiences of all who identify as women. She travelled from Kenya to join the march and provided some of the visual documentation for this piece. 

 

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Images courtesy of Marie Ainomugisha and @KreativeADIKT.

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