Ntungamo - Rape victims who are dressed indecently have themselves to blame, according to Youth Affairs minister Ronald Kibule.
Addressing youth in Kajara County, Ntungamo District on Saturday, Mr Kibule said the police should instead charge the victims with inviting the crime.
The minister, who was attending the launch of Kajara Youth Development Cooperative and Savings Society, said the police must scrutinise each rape case reported to them to establish the dress code of the victim. He added that once it is established that the victim was indecently dressed, the suspect should be set free.
When this newspaper called him last evening to verify these reports, the minister reiterated his position, noting that indecent dressing was “an open invite to rapists”.
“I have talked to the IGP and the police in Kampala to see that if a woman is raped they look at how she was dressed. Most women currently dress poorly especially the youth. If she is dressed poorly and is raped, no one should be arrested,” Mr Kibule said.
Asked to define what amounted to indecent dressing, the minister, who is also Mukono North MP, listed mini-skirts, bikinis and tight jeans.
The minister’s comments on rape have drawn immediate criticism, especially from women activists, with one female MP advising Mr Kibule to “have self-control”. “I don’t support wearing of miniskirts but on the other hand a man who is normal cannot go and rape a woman because she is putting on a miniskirt. He should have self-control,” said Mbarara Woman MP Emma Boona. “It’s not written anywhere in the laws. How does he measure a mini skirt? Does he himself rape indecently dressed women he sees?”
Ms Rita Aciro, the executive director at Uganda Women’s Network, said: “It is unfortunate that we have such leaders in this country. Does he know that there are laws in this country against rape? He is obviously misleading many men by saying that it is okay for them to go ahead and rape women who put on short skirts. Mr Kibule should come out and issue an apology to the people of this country. We live in a civil society that respects people’s rights.”