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.
Im disappointed by this statement from @KagutaMuseveni cooking isn’t a woman’s job. It’s a life skill. All people- men & women shd cook. When cooking, cleaning & other domestic chores are left 2 women, they are denied an equal chance to raise incomes or 2 be politically active. https://t.co/mcSWxU6S7X
— Winnie Byanyima (@Winnie_Byanyima) November 4, 2018
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.
In Africa, it is optional to a husband Winnie.This globalisation of things in the guise of equality has no light in Africa.
— Bwete Bob (@bob_bwete) November 4, 2018
Optional? Is eating optional too? Cooking is about survival and so men and women should do it.
— Angela Bruce Raeburn (@AngelaBruceRaeb) November 4, 2018
Well said. Sadly our African brothers are yet to learn this. Anyone and everyone should know and learn to cook. It’s because it’s unpaid labour in the homes. Why do we have the best chefs being men?
— Florence Farrow (@florence_farrow) November 4, 2018
Our culture/tradition is wired like that such that regardless of education or modernity wife’s find pleasure cooking for their husbands.. “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach “still rhymes in African setting
— baguma (@robbob_baguma) November 5, 2018
Well he’s saying an African secret. How many African men (and elite/powerful African women) cook? Honest feedback only. I’ll do the counting.
— Ramathan Ggoobi (@rggoobi) November 5, 2018
Political correctness will be the end of us all. A statement can’t be made and taken on its facts we have to look for some implicit meaning. Most times what you see, is all there is!!!
— Khayinja Bernard Esq (@Lord_khayinja) November 4, 2018
Cooking is a choice. You don’t have to cook to eat. You can as well pay for the service just like building a house which you intend to sleep in. It should not be shoved down the throats of those who don’t want to regardless of their sexual orientation
— Agufa PhD (@Agufah) November 5, 2018
Africa will work better when both women and men have equal opportunities to contribute. Poverty remains sexist due to the fact that women ‘s work is unpaid and undervalued. President Museveni its time to use your office to change the future for girls and women.
— Rudo KwarambaKayombo (@RudoKayombo) November 5, 2018
And why do you get disappointed when domestic chores are not left to women only but men too? Isn’t this an opportunity for them to participate in other developmental activities as required? And what’s wrong with men cooking too?That’s called shared responsibility @AgonzaSunshine
— #God_Father (@UgRwandan) November 4, 2018
The world is taking up the campaign of gender equality, something that has showing tremendous transformation to the women but you should know that museveni comes from a different time line, the days when cooking was still a woman’s responsibility
— Gumisiriza Martin (@GumisirizaM21) November 6, 2018
If agreed upon by the couple, whats the problem?
There are couples where the man cooks and the woman doesn’t reach the kitchen…..
ITS NOT A STANDARD EVERY COUPLE IS DIFFERENT.
— Higiro Japhet (@Japh_4) November 5, 2018
That’s against God’s intention! He created man & woman to complement each other – wives & husbands are therefore hand-wired & should complement each other!
The Bible is clear; husband & wife should “be subject 2 one another” (Ephesians 5:22), thank you @Winnie_Byanyima!
— Ssemanda Allawi (@SsemandaAllawi) November 5, 2018
I think the president wasn’t stereotyping the feminine sex. HE was actually appreciating his partner. For years M7 has championed steps towards gender equity&equality , in education, jobs & politics…and it has yielded tremendous results
— ?Myma (@mymareagan90) November 5, 2018
Very disappointing to see President Museveni reinforcing dangerous gender stereotypes that have no place in today’s society. Ugandan women work daily in the private & public space to build a better society. This is work that should be acknowledged and valued.
— Agnes Odhiambo (@AgnesOdhiambo) November 5, 2018