By Samuel Opio
Oxfam International Executive Director Ms. Winnie Byanyima has expressed displeasure over President Yoweri Museveni’s recent confession that he has not stepped in a kitchen in over four decades.
Mrs Byanyima said last evening that she was “disappointed” by the president’s remarks in which he owned up to never have cooked up a dish ever since he married his wife Janet.
Museveni while justifying his financial support to urban youths, said in a statement: “It is now 45 years with Maama Janet, I have never stepped in the kitchen.”
The president cited a Runyankore saying; “Nyineeka taza mukiyungu” which translates, “the head of the home never goes into the kitchen.
“That is how it should be,” he emphasized.
This was part of his argument that political leaders should not be involved in the work of civil servants such as handling government money.
“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 said.
In response to the president however, Ms. Byanyima a seasoned women rights activist stressed that women should not be confined to cooking and other home chores.
“I’m disappointed by this statement from (President Yoweri Museveni),” she said in a tweet.
“Cooking isn’t a woman’s job. It’s a life skill. All people- men and women should cook.”
Byanyima added that 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.
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
According to studies, Ugandan women still lag behind the male counterparts in participation in political leadership, as well as business, education and other fields, mostly due to traditional expectations.
Research shows that house work in Uganda is extremely gendered with wives expected to care for the children, prepare meals, do laundry, clean the house, tend to crops and even work outside of the home for additional income.
Meanwhile, men aren’t expected to take nearly as much responsibility for their children, yet they’re considered the primary financial providers and heads of the household.