Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Uganda Bans Miniskirts, What About Zambia?

Wow! Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has just signed a bill which criminalises indecency and promotion of pornography. It is the law on dressing that is specifically targeted towards women as it forbids women from wearing clothes like miniskirts and cleavage- revealing blouses that excite sexual cravings in public, unless for educational and medical purposes or during sports or cultural events. Uganda has led the way and very soon I am anticipating the Zambian moral torch bearers to start requesting government to do the same.

Ugandan lawmakers think that the banning of miniskirts and other revealing clothing will in some way reduce the immorality levels in that country. I would like to see how successful this strategy is. This law in other words can be interpreted to mean that it is there to protect men who have raging hormones that they cannot control and we men are the victims. It is a stupid excuse to give men that they rape, sexually assault and defile children because of a dress code. Really. This law has even gone so far as allowing men to apprehend any woman who dresses indecently, under the citizen’s arrest clause. The question to ask is who among the group of men will decide what is indecent. What one man perceives as indecent may not be the perception of another therefore women will now be victims of perception.

This debate has been creeping into Zambia slowly, where certain factions have been demanding government to place a law that will ban ladies wearing revealing clothes. Their stance is that it is not Zambian culture and women should be decently dressed. They should be wrapped in a chitenge and not revealing their thighs, cleavage and G-strings. We are a Christian nation after all. The use of Zambia as a Christian nation as an excuse why certain decisions should be done away with absolutely makes me sick. It is fine if people say that they cannot stand the miniskirt because they get aroused, or that it is a personal choice not to support the women wearing them. However, to state that they should not be worn because Zambia is a Christian nation is ridiculous.

Let’s say that yes Zambia is a Christian nation, so why not criminalise fornication, adultery, lying, etc, while we are at it. Why aren’t people marching the streets demanding that all liars, fornicators and adulterers are locked up? Why should we choose the bits and pieces of the Christian faith that supports our argument and do away with the rest. Personally, I have better things to do than to care whether a woman is wearing a miniskirt or cleavage revealing clothing. However, what I don’t understand is a woman who wears a miniskirt and has to keep pulling it down or cleavage revealing top and having to cover it with the hand. Why wear it in the first place then? There is a reason it is called a miniskirt in the first place isn’t it. I do feel that dressing whether for a man or woman should be decent, but I will not impose what I think is decent on others.

The banning of miniskirts and revealing clothing in Uganda is clearly misplaced. Perhaps the stance should have been to teach men to respect women and not treat them like objects of our sexual desire. How about showing men that a miniskirt or revealing clothing is not the reason why they will rape or sexually assault a woman but rather it is their own sick mind and that is what they should work on changing. Uganda and Africa as a whole has far more pressing needs such as poverty, corruption, HIV/AIDS, tribalism that need to be addressed than placing what a woman choses to wear top of the agenda.                                     


  1. That's silly!!!That's not even short! Even when you dressed like a nun Aids still runs rampant!

    1. Nana exactly, if someone wants to be promiscuous they will do it in a long skirt or short skirt it does not matter. This is just a pointless law.

  2. I wonder about parents though - what they think about how their kids dress, and if they agree with a free for all policy. I know we should avoid the extreme presented here, but at the same time when a father complains about a daughter's dressing, no matter how innocent, it become a question of respect to comply

    1. Anonymous you are very right parents have a role to play in their childrens choices which may ultimately affect their choices in adulthood. It should not be a law that now monitors every single clothing on someone's body.

  3. "Perhaps the stance should have been to teach men to respect women and not treat them like objects of our sexual desire" My heart sang at that statement. You are an enlightened man. Sadly, most men prefer treating women as property with no opinions of their own, and feel it is right to blame teh victim when they are raped or assaulted. It reminds me of teh crazy "A woman can't get raped while wearing a trousers" attitude that was in Chiluba's time.

    And this whole Christian nation stuff is simply laughable. Corruption is rife and yet it's better to dehumanise and silence women.

    Thanks for this Peter, very well written and made me glad to read from a Zambian man when I had nearly written them all off as hypocrites

    1. Thank Muuka, "A woman can't get raped while wearing a trousers." Crazy indeed. There far more important laws that Museveni could have signed into law and this is not one of them at all. And how lawmakers in parliament can agree to pass such is beyond comprehension. In that case all satellite television should be banned, internet and everything else that exposes flesh

  4. Well said!... (Standing Ovation!) U need a medal! Lol. So true!

  5. In the grand scheme of things, morality need not be regulated by positive law. But then politics is the rule of the city, and politics without morality is a jungle! Constitutionalizing dress code as an effort to uplift morality which you will agree has deteriorated by many any standard, should be applauded. In liberal democracy, everything and anything is legal until a law is drafted against it to make it illegal! All moral issues raised in most submissions I have read here, in the eyes of the law, should be understood as legal, unless there is a law against it.

    Additionally, I am against for men who rape women for whatever reason. Women are not objects. Having said that, I will hasten to mention the propensity of some women to make themselves be looked at as objects of sexual satisfaction. Have you ever wondered why, by vast majority, prostitutes are women? Self-objectification fuels raging irresponsible rape cases from 'sick' men

  6. The irony of it all is that miniskirts have been outlawed in the guise of fighting pornography. These are two very different issues all together. The divide between, miniskirts, skimpy attire, nudity and pornography is too big and they should not be confused.

    It is even a joke to suggest that cases of rape exist because of mini skirts. Those that have done research tell us that most rape victims suffer their fate at the hands of people they know in most cases partners and a miniskirt does not need to be the reason here. In any case humans should strive to exercise themselves from finding excuses for animal behaviour.

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