Parliament yesterday condemned the utterances made by the House of Prayer Ministries pastor, Aloysius Bugingo against his wife Teddy Naluswa Bugingo. This was after Kampala Woman MP Nabillah Ssempala raised concerns over Bugingo’s recent remarks about his wife’s previous health condition.
Ssempala informed the House chaired by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah that whereas there is freedom of speech, Bugingo’s remarks about the wife’s health undermined the dignity of the women and struck a blow against the fight against fistula. “As women, we watched and listened to Pastor Bugingo’s remarks in shock, pain, and dismay.
No woman should be stigmatized because of an illness she suffered as a result of the maternal process. We condemn his utterances and call on the Government to immediately take action against Bugingo,” she said. “His remarks also blew a big blow against a disease that many leaders including the Kabaka, have been fighting to eradicate. It’s my appeal that the relevant government institutions take urgent action against him,” she added.
Bugingo last week told his congregation that he had tolerated his wife in their marriage even when she had fistula for 10 years. He said he spent a lot of money on buying cotton wool for his wife, who he is seeking to divorce. His remarks angered a section of the women activists who immediately asked the Government to punish him to serve as a lesson to other men “with such unbecoming behavior”.
Moralists and women’s rights activists condemned the pastor, saying his remarks show a lack of respect for women. Bugingo later apologized to the wife for the remarks, saying he did not intend to embarrass her but was only echoing her earlier testimony she made in the church that she suffered from a disease similar to the hemorrhage that doctors failed to treat for 10 years until God healed her.
Ssempala also appealed to the Government, through the Uganda Communications Commission to start regulating the conduct of religious leaders that offend the public through offensive communication. State Minister for Housing Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, standing in for the Minister of Information, Communication, and Technology, Frank Tumwebaze, condemned the remarks, saying It was wrong for anybody to condemn a woman who is suffering or has suffered from fistula.
He, however, informed the House that the Government has already taken action against Bugingo through UCC by writing to him and warning him against such utterances.
According to Baryomunsi, UCC has also started investigations on the matter by retrieving the clips and in case it is established that Pastor Bugingo broke any law, action will be taken.
Citing the arrest of Pastor Joseph Kabuleta over what Police said was offensive communication to the person of the President, MP Ibrahim Ssemujju wondered whether the Government applies uniform standards for offensive communications especially made by pastors.