‘Men shouldn’t step in the kitchen and that’s how it should be’ – Uganda’s president stirs debate

Ismail Akwei November 06, 2018
Museveni and wife Janet

Controversial Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has once again stirred another debate, but this time around, on gender roles. He stated that it is not men’s role to cook and since he married, he has never stepped in the kitchen.

“It is now 45 years with Maama Janet, I have never stepped in the kitchen … That is how it should be,” the 74-year-old president recently told youth entrepreneurs he met in Kampala.

He also added by citing a Runyankore saying which translates, “the head of the home never goes into the kitchen.”

He made the statements as part of an argument to separate the roles of political leaders from civil servants especially in handling government finances.

“Once the president is involved in programmes concerning money, then it must be the State House Comptroller to handle the money. It is government money,” Museveni was quoted by local media.

The statements didn’t go down well with women activists who expressed dismay especially when the president has recently championed the inclusion of women in economic development through small-scale enterprises and not to be held back by house chores.

“Cooking isn’t a woman’s job. It’s a life skill. All people – men and women should cook. When cooking, cleaning and doing other domestic chores are left to women, they are denied an equal chance to raise incomes or to be politically active,” tweets a disappointed Oxfam’s International Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima.

Several comments expressing disappointments were made on social media yet others defended the president’s comments saying Ugandan culture regards it a taboo for a man to cook.

Museveni is the only African president to have openly supported racist United States President Donald Trump, he has expressed homophobic sentiments, supported capital punishment and enforced the change of constitution to allow him to stand for another election at the end of his term among many other controversies.

Here are some reactions from his recent comments on gender roles.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: November 6, 2018


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