APC Kirumira should answer for abuses against sex workers

Women’s Organisation Network for Human Rights Advocacy (WONETHA) have said that ASP Muhammad Kirumira, who was transferred from Old Kampala Police Station to Buyende in September 2016, should answer for the crimes he committed against sex workers.

On September 14, 2016, the cruel Kirumira who degraded sex workers and abused their rights was transferred to Buyende districts in the Busoga region.

“Kirumira was transferred but as WONETHA we do not agree that because he was transferred, our cases collapse,” Daisy Nakato, the executive director WONETHA said. “When someone commits abuses like that, they need to face the law.”

“When we went to the Police Standards Unit and the other actions we took, we were not simply interested in getting Kirumira transferred, we wanted him to face the music for the abuses he committed against sex workers. We want to know, when is he going to face the law?, we want justice.”

During his time as the Division Police Commander for Old Kampala, Kirumira arrested sex workers arbitrarily in the Old Kampala area of Kakajjo-Bukesa without respecting their rights yet there was a standing order from the Inspector General of Police not to arrest sex workers but sensitize them through community policing.

During the time he was DPC of Old Kampala, over 100 sex workers were arrested in the Old Kampala area and taken to Mwanga II court without going through the formal charge processes.

Kirumira would write the statements himself and sending the accused straight to court yet formally, the accused should be interviewed for their statements with the help of the Police, before they are taken to court.

Over that period, Kirumira tortured and abused sex workers’ rights. A case in point was when he inserted a baton in a woman’s private parts while others have scars and marks on their bodies from the abuse.

Whenever he would arrests sex workers, he would not give them an opportunity to communicate to their friends or family for help or WONETHA, an NGO that fights for the rights of adult sex workers.

The arrests continued to go on despite an order that was made in November 2014 by the Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura to lower Police officials to stop arresting sex workers.

To get Kirumira transferred, WONETHA reported a case through the Police Standards Unit about Kirumira’s abuses, engaged a social media campaign to get Kirumira to change the way he treated sex workers as well as sensitization of sex workers about his ways.

Even before he was transferred, Kirumira continued to physically violate the bodies of sex workers in the area under his command.

DPC Kirumira also abused the rights of sex workers. Whenever he arrested them, he did not allow them to get either Police bond, bail or sureties to stand for them in court.

All of this was despite the fact that in November 2014, Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura ordered Police to stop arresting sex workers. Kayihura said the order to stop arrests of sex workers came from President Yoweri Museveni.

Kayihura recommended that Police officers like Kirumira of Old Kampala should instead work with sex workers through the Community Policing unit to help in fighting crime.

However this order from the highest office in the land seems to have been undermined by lower ranking Police officers.

APC Muhammad Kirumira formerly the DPC Old K ampala  police station

APC Muhammad Kirumira formerly the DPC Old K ampala police station

UGANDA SEX WORKERS DEMAND FREE AND QUALITY CONDOMS

WONETHA staff demonstratin proper condom dressing

WONETHA staff demonstrating proper condom dressing

Ugandan sex workers have insisted that they prefer the Government continue to distribute free condoms.

Women’s Organisation Network for Human Rights Advocacy (WONETHA), an organisation that was founded, managed and led by sex workers in 5 districts of Uganda have said that as promoters of condom use, availability of free condoms is one way of fighting HIV/AIDS.

“Condoms should be available free of charge like drugs. A man cannot give you Ush1000 especially law income earner and you chase them away or use some of that money to buy a condom. You cannot tell him to buy a condom either!,”  If we are looking forward to ending AIDS we MUST provide free quality condoms to those who need them. Daisy Nakaato, the executive director WONETHA said.

These revelations were made during the Condom Communication Coordination meeting that was held at Protea Hotel recently. During the meeting, some partners raised a complaint on why Ugandans don`t use condoms.

Feedback from the Condom Unit in the Ministry of Health suggests that Ugandans prefer that they improve the quality of the condoms that are distributed free of charge.

As a result, people have rejected the poor quality condoms that the Government distributes for free.

The Condom Unit however says improving the quality of the free condoms would have a cost implication.

Some partners in the fight against HIV however prefer that the quality be improved but at a small cost to the user.

After the previous meeting on condom communication coordination which was held at Ministry of Health, challenges like condoms bursting, unavailability of condoms in some places and condoms not reaching the end users.

After this meeting, it was agreed that another meeting where implementing partners share how the y do outreaches on condom promotion and the challenges they get.

Some partners like Mariestopes Uganda, Pace, Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) and the National Condom Coordinator advised that it is better to promote condom buying than giving them out freely because Ugandans think that free condoms are of poor quality.

The partners say they have consulted with different people willing to buy condoms.

The purpose of the meeting was to develop and agree on condom promotion in Uganda in collaboration with ministry of health and partners in behavioral communication change.

WONETHA promotes and encourage safer sex practices among sex workers most especially among those in slums areas who cannot afford to buy condoms.

WONETHA has called on the Government of Uganda partners to support us advocate for condoms which are free, affordable, and accessible and of good quality to end new HIV infections and transmission.