Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has directed the country’s Internal Affairs Minister Aronda Nyakairima to issue a statement on the reported recall of four pregnant police officers from Parliament.
The directive followed a plea by the Chairperson of Uganda Women Parliamentary association Betty Amongi seeking Parliament’s intervention on the redeployment which has since become contentious.
Last week four police officers; Alaisa Namubiru, Rosette Mirembe who had just returned from maternity leave, Christine Nakirya and Peace Mary were recalled from Parliament by Police and redeployed into the Human Resource Department in Police.
Police Deputy Spokesperson Polly Namaye then explained that their status was compromising parliament security since their pregnancies were in advanced stages and could not wear police uniform.
But Amongi today told Parliament that the recall of these women contravened article 33 of the Constitution which stipulates the Rights of Women under sub section (3) of the constitution. The article provides that the State shall protect women and their rights, taking into account their unique status and natural maternal functions in society.
Amongi adds that the Police force also contravened Part V of the Employment Act which provides for maternity leave and non-dismissal during maternity leave.
She instead alleges that Police had acted under the Police Act that prohibits female police officers from conceiving before serving the force for four years. She condemned this saying that it was against the rights of female officers hence a need to be amended.
She appealed for an investigation of this matter either through Parliament’s Internal Affairs Committee or through a statement to the House.
Bujenje County MP Kabakumba Matsiko noted that the Constitution provides that any law that is inconsistent with the Constitution is null and void and therefore the recall of pregnant women was unconstitutional.
Speaker Kadaga then directed that the Internal Affairs Minister Aronda Nyakairima presents a statement to the House this week on the recall of the four pregnant police officers from Parliament.
She reminded the House that in the 7th Parliament they battled with a provision in the UPDF Act prohibiting female officers from conceiving in a specific period and they did away with it after seven months.
However Section 6 of the police act empowers the inspector general of police to make standing orders in respect of the force regarding the enlistment, training, promotions, transfer and discharge of police officers.