The Parliament of Uganda is mulling over a decision to ban supply of condoms in its precincts. This follows reports that legislators and other parliamentary staff use about 10000 condoms monthly.
The media reports quoted Geoffrey Feta (Ayivu East Mp, who claimed to have information that MPs use 10,000 condoms every month wondering what legacy parliament will leave behind to the next generation suggesting that MPs ought to be exemplary. Feta said: “As we speak here, information moving on social media is that Parliament uses 10,000 condoms in a month and to the public, that defines the parliament of Uganda. The country we live in, we have a responsibility of leaving a legacy to the next generation, and it is this parliament that will determine if the generation is upright or the generation isn’t upright.” This was during a debate on continued decline of ethical and moral values in Uganda prompted by former ethics and integrity minister Dr James Nsaba Buturo who now wants the House to endorse that over the years, the country has been built on a moral and ethical foundation that encourages citizens to distinguish between right and wrong.
However, the Mps and Parliament administration has not taken the reports lightly saying they have injured their reputation as people out there consider the legislators as sex pests.
“We have been seriously injured with the reports. While it is a laughing matter, it is an issue of integrity,” a male Mp who preferred anonymity said.
According to Parliament’s director of communication and public affairs Chris Obore, in the past, Parliament has been getting its condom supplies from an NGO called Global Health Alliance.
Obore clarified that condoms which are distributed at Parliament actually don’t get used by Mps because cleaners remove and resell them.
“They [condoms] are placed in washrooms. Apparently, it’s the cleaners who mainly remove them. Some remove all of them immediately they are delivered. Stories are that they go and sell them. But the stories now insinuate that it’s MPs who consume the condoms,” Obore said stressing that the published reports are “far from the truth”.
As one of the strategies to manage parliament’s reputation, he recommended that the condoms supply stops “to cut off this source of negative stories about MPs”.
“Parliament is neither a hotel nor a lodge where condoms should be supplied. And MPs and staff of parliament are not the most disadvantaged to be given free condoms in case they need. The NGO can take their supplies to where it’s needed most — bars, lodges and or hotels,” said Obore.
Health experts this newspaper talked to however, said the parliament administration should think twice before banning condoms in its premises because the decision may not be welcomed by those on the front line against HIV/AIDS spread.
Condoms provide an essentially impermeable barrier to HIV pathogens. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), scientific data “overwhelmingly confirm that male latex condoms are highly effective in preventing sexual HIV transmission. However, experts say, many governments around the world either fail to guarantee access to condoms or impose needless restrictions on access to condoms and related HIV/AIDS information. Such restrictions, they say, interfere with public health as well as set back internationally recognized human rights—the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the right to information, and the right to life.