Makerere University consents to anonymous sexual harassment case

Makerere University consents to anonymous sexual harassment case
Makerere University has consented to an application to sue the institution anonymously by a former student over sexual harassment

Makerere University has consented to an application to sue the institution anonymously by a former student over sexual harassment.

The former student filed an application in the High Court Civil Division seeking permission to sue the University for failing to protect her from sexual harassment and alleviate its impact during her studentship at the university between 2012 and 2017.

The application was filed last month by her lawyers; Isaac Ssemakadde of Centre for Legal Aid and Sheila Namahe of Maxim Advocates. The anonymous student says that the university failed to investigate, discipline or prosecute the perpetrators of sexual harassment an act which violated her right to health, dignity, education, equality and non-discrimination.

The two parties signed a consent order on March 5 before Justice Lydia Mugambe. On behalf of the Makerere, the consent order was signed by University Secretary Charles Barugahare, University Legal Director Goddy Muhumuza and Muzamiru Kibedi of Kibedi and Co Advocates.

According to the consent order, the victim will be referred as O.P.Q in all documents that will be filed in the court.

“The applicant’s client shall protect her identity by filing pleadings, affidavits, witness statements and any other documents pseudonymously as ‘O.PQ’ in the suit(s) which she intends to file against the respondent,” the consent order reads.

It adds that all particulars which can reveal the identity of ‘O.P.Q’ her college and the alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment shall be concealed from all documents filed and from submissions and representations made orally by any party in the intended suit.

The consent order bars media from publishing, broadcasting or telecasting any information likely to reveal the identity of the victim ‘O.P.Q’. Any disclosure between the two parties will be made in confidence and the testimony of victim ‘O.P.Q’ will be heard in camera.

Red Pepper has already been dragged to court for publishing information likely to reveal the identity of the victim. Centre for Legal Aid in documents filed against Red Pepper argues that the local tabloid’s publications of February 16, 2018, and Saturday Pepper of February 17, 2018, contained clues likely to expose the victim. The two publications had the first name of the girl.

– URN