Uganda: Buturo and his prostitution fight


Crusading Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo has come up with an inspired method to rid Uganda of prostitution. He wants to name and shame sex workers and their clients.

“We want to shame the public officials who even use government vehicles to buy prostitutes,” Dr Buturo thundered piously to reporters. “We want to shame the husbands who go after these prostitutes and those running brothels.

Their names will be published in print, television, Internet and other possible arena.” The minister intends to use the police and the community to isolate sex workers and their clients.

Minister Buturo gets credit for trying to think creatively although we do not agree with the direction of his thinking because it is an unlikely lead to the wiping out of prostitution or even lessen its present magnitude. The minister’s approach is cosmetic and amounts to moralistic posturing.

What will shame achieve? Women go into prostitution almost entirely because they are hard-pressed economically. Most are ill-educated and have no jobs. Indeed, not even the well educated have the jobs they need.

It is this situation that forces women to put shame aside and go on to sell their bodies to survive. So if the minister is looking to shame anyone, he is better advised to look elsewhere. He could start with naming and shaming the corrupt, the unethical, and the incompetent in the very government he serves.

Once he is done, he should try to focus the government toward enacting reforms that ensure that our younger women get a sound education and that the economy expands fast enough to provide them jobs.
While at it, there is family life to ponder.

It is crucial that married couples stay together blissfully, the occasional blip notwithstanding. But the reality is that many marriages go through a lot of turmoil. That in itself would not be a problem. Things get out of hand because couples have nowhere to turn for help when they need it.

The government that Minister Buturo serves has not even bothered to pay lip service to things like marital counselling. The lack of this kind of therapy allows small problems to snowball thereby destroying families.

Happy, healthy and educated families rarely contribute women and men who engage in prostitution either as sellers, buyers or pimps.
But if the minister insists on going along with his misguided project, he must promise that he will name even big names who buy prostitutes either off Kampala’s streets or invite them to their hotel rooms.

And these big names, if the minister is not aware, include politicians, civil servants, diplomats and top businessmen. We expect no double-standards.


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