Prostitution is as old as Makerere University

The story posted on UAH about the Campus Journal reporter who posed as a prostitute to unearth university students who moonlight in the vice, is not new. Prostitution is as old as Makerere University. What has changed these days is that the traders are now bolder since hardships can no longer be hidden. So, let the writer know that there is really nothing surprising about the business in question except for the recklessness involved i.e. the brothel atmosphere she graphically describes.

The amateurish report on Prostitution at Makerere is really not an issue of morals as many of us want to regard it. There are many reasons why people do what they do. Sometimes you will be surprised to find out that everybody around them i.e. family members are even aware of it. In all institutions of learning the world over, those activities take place and depending on the level, sometimes, the authorities reign in to promote “morals”.

I was in an elementary school which was partly day and partly boarding. Those early days in the 1960s, one would have classmates who are 5 or more years their seniors. With that type of mix, I witnessed a lot in as far as boy/girl relationships were concerned. Every one weekend in a month, the school authorities would surprise us when they invite the girls from the school opposite our fence and start reading “love letters” that some of us had written to our dear ones. Perchance if your letter was that confiscated, they had their known standard way of disciplining the culprits. They would call the boy and girl in question in front of the whole gang and make them thrash each other by way of the cane and swearing never to”love”each other again.

So, if at elementary school level such was happening what about at the Ivory tower (such as Makerere University)? Never mind that some of the rules for Makerere that was written in 1922 did spell out having no female visitors in the halls of residence after 6:00 pm. Moreover the said female guest was supposed to be entertained in the Student common room and the hall warden would have been informed.

15 years ago, when I arrived at my present domicle, a colleague I was with in Makerere took me to a strip joint, what surprised me was not the stripping but the reasons for it. One white lady came to our table and was asking whether we wanted her to go and strip herself for us. The reason for her doing that was that she is raising funds for a child she was sponsoring in Kenya. I really lost interest in ever encouraging people I know asking for sponsorship from some of these countries but you know, money is money, one never knows how it was obtained. That is why one time I asked one of my cousins a catholic priest whether they accept money from thieves or sex workers and he was at a loss to answer. So, let humans do what they want. I am only pleased if at all the brothel story is true, that the people involved try to engage in protected sex by way of using a condom.

Is a quid pro quo arrangement regarded as exploitation? When two individuals engage in an activity where one peddles software for the gratification of another who in return pays for the “fun” should we really categorize that as exploitation?

One arrangement which I will shout on the mountain tops about and call it exploitation is what my German friends used to especially for African women mainly from Kenya.
These fellows would go to Kenya, identify a woman they then claim to be in “love” with them and arrange some marriage of sorts. They take them back to Germany and after they feel the sexual excitement is over, they rent them an apartment across the street and advertise the services of a sex worker (their former so called wife).All they do is tell the lady in question what the price rate is and the man watches for the human traffic to the apartment.
At the end of the day,they go and get the cash accrued and the cycle continues. There was a story of one woman who could not stand the exploitation so she reported the man to the police. Eventually she was given due compensation but she chose to get the hell out of Germany.

I think she penned her story in the one of the nations ‘publications some years back.
That to me is what I would call exploitation because it is not a willing seller-willing buyer scenario and besides manipulation is not involved.

On other scenarios, it is usually a choice we make. Remember there was a story of one white family in the US where the lady of the house chose to go for commercial sex work because their combined income would not enable them live comfortably. So, every morning she would leave the hubby home and hit the road for her workplace. She claimed the sex was purely “physical” and she used protection all the time.

For customers wanting non protected sex and willing to pay a premium, she would accept but douch herself immediately. The family was able to make $10,000 monthly and afford the luxuries they wanted.

Dr. Owor Kipenji
Attached below is the story from Campus Journal:

The Campus Journal reporter poses as a prostitute to unearth university students who moonlight in the vice.

This is probably the hardest thing I ever had to do — acting as a prostitute. The memories of these two adventurous nights on Wandegeya’s Junju lane are still so vivid in my mind. My motive was to confirm rumours that campus girls prostitute to make money.

As the women went on with their very bold stands of pulling male passers-by and luring them into being their customers for the night, I nervously stood across them in the freezing cold night dressed in my long silver leggings and a dress top (guess I was not appropriately dressed since most prostitutes were in skimpy attires).

When cars passed by, I couldn’t help burring my face in my hands, full of shame because the lights could easily show my face to whoever cared to know. Aggressively, the women rushed to the windows of these cars and did their business purchases.

The incident that finally made me leave the street that night was a saloon car that stopped just right in front of me and the three men in it asked me, “Nyabo gwe ogabila ku meka (at how much do you sell yours)?” The question sent chills down my spine! I felt disgraced and I rudely answered, “Ate ku byaaki (About what business)?” I had forgotten I was practically a prostitute that night!

Then I apologetically answered back, “Munsonyiwe bambi, mujjakola emitwalo ebiri buli ommu (sorry about that, you will give me 20,000 each).” Happily, the driver asked, “Is it for the whole night, nga oli expensive nnyo?” I had no idea about how much was charged per service and I decided to go back home because I was feeling bad already.

When I came back the second night, I was more confident. This night a male friend was going to be my ‘customer’ in order to take me where the real business takes place. When my customer for the night finally arrived, we stood and ‘bargained’ for several minutes. (Dear reader, don’t ask me how much I was bought because I also don’t know.)

The lady next to me got suspicious because my negotiation took longer than usual that she loudly asked her colleagues, “Ono naye malaya (Is she also a prostitute)?” But before she could get an answer from them, she walked right up to us and said, “Mumale male mugende eri emabega muloogi mweekole, mutuyisako ba customer (Be quick with your negotiations and go in the lounge behind to do your thing, you are blocking customers from noticing us)!”

After settling our ‘deal’, I pretended to be a good service provider by holding ‘my customer’ in the waist and we set off for the lounge.

The brothel is a house-like structure that is located behind some saloons on the lane and if not carefully noted, one can easily mistake it for another saloon. At the entrance, I paid shillings 1,000 as entrance fee and I was given a pair of condoms. We entered the lounge.

The ‘service room’ had no lights so it was a bit dark and you could not make out the faces of the various couples in it. As we entered, my ‘customer’ guides in since he is familiar with the place.

He walks straight to the corner that has the only bed in the room and he uses his hand to make out whether there is a couple on the bed. “Ffe tuliwanno (we are occupying this bed),” a lady whispers. So we settle for the edge of the bed as we wait for them to finish. It’s a pretty busy environment.

Although there are no lights, there is some little light from the adjoining room that allows one to make out a few things; there are five couples in different corners having sex .There are four couples on mattresses on the floor and one couple occupies the bed on which we are seated, pretending to be the next ones to occupy it for business.

The sight to me was at first embarrassing and later on traumatising. Three basins were in the middle of the room, used condoms are discarded in them. When I looked at these women being used, I couldn’t help associating them to dogs! Is this real or am I dreaming? God what’s happening to society? I wondered.

Different couples have different arguments and conversations while having sex. Couple X is not agreeing on the time and payments. “Naye sebbo oludewo…Ka short ka dakiiika ntono nnyo naye gwe ogaanye okumala, nyongeramu enkumi biri (you have delayed sir, a short round takes very few minutes but you are not finishing. You will add me shillings 2000),” the woman on the bed tells her customer.

After another couple finishing their business, the customer starts complaining about his missing mobile phone. “Mpa essimu yange oba tojjafuluma muno ng’oli mulamu (Give me my phone or else you will not get out of here alive)!” he shouts.

As they go on with their quarrel about the missing phone, a campus girl I know from the Faculty of Social Sciences walks in with a man. Thanks to my customer who strategically led me to the corner so she cannot make out my face but I can recognise hers. She is a good example of what I am looking for – campus prostitutes. She occupies the mattress adjacent to our bed and they begin their business, just after a couple that has just finished.

As ‘my customer’ excuses himself and gets out(it was according to our plan), I use this chance to interact with one of these girls as we ‘freshened up’ in the room connected to this sex gallery. I pretended to express my disappointment of my customer ‘who had refused to pay me’ just to get a few facts about the business and that is when I got to know of kashort, ’loongo’ and CNN live as terms used in the business. Campus prostitutes call the kashort a quickie, she told me.

As I listened to nonstop vulgar exchange of words between different couples, I finally decided to leave this disgusting hell of a world. After all, my story was done.

The Campus Journal (Sept—Oct 2011)


11 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. WB Kyijomanyi,

    IIt is hard to believe that so many commercial sex workers (not prostitutes) share rooms while on duty. The article felt the credibility test.

    Now on the issue of commercial sex workers, what is new? I saw it in Nairobi with University of Nairobi students. Go to Koinange Street and see for yourself. I have seen it here too where University students are savvy enough to finance their education through commercial sex work or trade. Now let me tell you a personal story involving one of my housemate sin the University house 5 of us shared. One doctoral student who is very successfully today was involved in commercial sex work. The other two women-the ratio was fixed at either 2 or 3 men and 3 or 2 women. It was a big house with an 2 extra rooms to spare for our guests.

    Initially, we suspected that our housemate was just a liberated woman who was using her power to change men the way men used to change women so we never bothered. That was her right to do as she pleased. But things changed and it became clear that she was involved in commercial sex work. She was the best dressed in the house because she made a lot of money. She opened up to me that she had done that to finance her undergrad and graduate education. Up to that point she was loan free! No Loans to pay. Talk of smarts. She finished her doctorate with no loans. And she married a medical doctor. Today she is a mother of 2 and an academic. I asked her whether she ever disclosed her past, her response was that there are certain things you carry to your grave with you and she is going to carry her past to the grave. That is the wisdom dispensed in Uganda too.

    Now think and I know you have no problem with commercial sex workers. Suppose those university students become commercial sex workers to finance their education? University education in Uganda these days is very expensive. What is your take? If the choice came to that or drop out why should the writer moralize about a smart decision by university women. Would she want to see them drop out of University?

    Could you please not call them prostitutes but rather commercial sex workers.


  2. edward pojim,


    In the truest sense of the word, we are all prostitutes, for to prostitute is to offer one’s skills, talents and services for exchange for something. Unfortunately, because of the influence of religious doctrines, we now only associate prostitution with skin trade.
    Your example of that woman who sold herself sexually to pay for her higher education brings home a critical motive that was missing in the student’s article. But, it’s neither new to MUK girls and Uganda, and like you, I too saw first hand the trade in the streets of Nairobi. In fact, in 1980s, the Nairobi girls were even controlled by a pimping agency that was created and managed by the wife of a former Attorney-General. They operated as a house-cleaning agency with lucratic contracts to clean government offices.

    Only university students were recruited, yet in actuality, they were beging offered for sex to high-paying clients. One of the graduates from that sad episode is today an outspoken MP who recently helped pass a Parliamentary bill aimed at protecting girls from sexual exploitation. This woman worked with us – two reporters – to expose that illicit trade in 1986. And like your former roommate, this MP is married, and probably, will keep that little background to her grave.


  3. edward pojim,


    Business is predicated on a void that needs to be filled. So, female and male prostitutes alike simply fill a need that’s already there. I have no qualm whatsoever about that proposition, as long as it’s mutually agreeable, unlike the German case you mentioned.

    Here’s a recent story for: my company runs a large shuttle bus service for our employees within the San Francisco Bay Area. One of our drivers, a very popular woman, had apparently turned her bus into a brothel. She took advantage of a 3-hour window between her schedule runs. She would park the bus behind an adandoned office building down the street, and receive & service her clients there. She recently got busted when one client decided to light up a cigaratte after sex and she decided to kick him out of the bus shirtless! California has No Smoking Policy at workplace, and a passenger bus is considered a workplace.

    A curious security guard who was passing by pulled over when he saw the shirtless dude puffing away on his fag. Needless to say, she’s was fired by her employer, the bus company, though we had simply asked that she be re-assigned from her account.

    Talk about a second job for that extra money!


  4. Henry Ford Miirima,

    Thats why prostitution should be legalised in Uganda. The reporter did
    a very poor job in investigation journalism.

    She should have gone deeper and find out who the clients are. Yes, who
    were the clients. She seems to be blaming Ugandan University girls for
    doing prostitution. Its done in Europe the USA, Japan, Korea, etc.
    Those who studied in these countries can confirm this. Even European
    and USA students need money. So they do prostitution on campus. Its a

    And the sophisticated class of clients, and prostitutes, do not look
    for prostitutes in such shabby places like Wandegeya. What are these
    Five-star hotels for?. Why do you think they are full everyday?

    This reporter should have gone to those hotels and learn how the bummy
    ladies in high class employment, even secretaries in high class
    offices are taken to these hotels where the clients, I wish I had the
    liberty to reveal the identities of these clients, pay in dollars for
    a quickie.

    All in all prostitution is the oldest trade in the world which has
    been going on since the days of Jesus. My research which will come out
    in my book, THE REVOLUTION OF UGANDA’S SEX STYLES, will show that
    prostitution serves a want. A want which would not be available if
    prostitutes did not exist.

    Hence developed countries realised that as long as prostitution serves
    a genuine want, it must even be encouraged because a man on heat if he
    is a judge he will sentence an innocent person to death because he is
    mentally frustrated.

    Have you ever stopped to think why a female on heat but failing to get
    sexual satisfaction will quarrel with everybody out of nowhere. She
    needs psychological satisfaction.

    I thought the debate on the pros and cons of prostitution had been
    concluded a long time ago. Its a foregone conclusion that prostitution
    serves a want. All we need to do is legalise it so that it is done in
    the safest way possible.

    Where it is legalised prostitutes undergo medical examination
    regularly and condoms are are a necessity.


    Thanks for your explanation about the difference between prostitution
    and sex work. That girl reporter lowered the standards of professional

    First University girls who offer sex to get tuition fees do not sell
    sex to cheap people and in cheap places for as little as Shs 3000, or
    less, as she put it.

    In my investigation on this subject I found that the university girls
    who look for tuition fees sell sex to high ranking people in the

    That is why you see expensive cars near their hostels. And because the
    clients are high up in the social ladder they take the University
    girls Five Star Hotels where you can never suspect them to be paying
    for sex.

    It is surprising why the reporter girl picked on University girls
    whereas most of the high class, bummy females around town will only go
    out with you if they know you are going to give her huge sums of

    This kind of respectable girl will not directly demand money from you
    but you know deep in your heart that she accepts to go with you only
    because she knows you will cough huge sums of money.
    This type of sex worker includes even house wives who lack good money
    from their husbands. But they want to keep their marriages intact.

    Try to find out the reality of this trade by going to the heart of sex
    workers in Kabalagala’s super market for sex. Those girls openly tell
    you that they prefer older men to young boys because old men go there
    after being frustrated by their wives who keep telling them, “I am not
    in mood…..or nze nkooye…..nze ndi mulwadde…”

    As I said earlier, a good percentage of University students all over
    the world engage in sex trade in order to get funds for their studies.

    But they sell sex to men on heat, or who have been mistreated by their
    wives. Therefore, University girls are availing a want which men are
    prepared to pay for. And if the men do not get this want it
    psychologically disrupts their behaviour. A man on heat behaves like a
    bull or he goat on heat, Such a bull respects nothing.

    It is in society’s interest that men in high positions of
    responsibility are sexually satisfied so that they can perform their
    duties responsibly. Hence the need to keep commercial sex as clean as
    possible by having sex workers medically fit and checked regularly.

    That calls for legalisation of commercial sex.

  5. WB Kyijomanyi,

    Mr Mirima:

    Your honesty on this matter is always refreshing. Yes we should call them commercial sex workers. The person who wrote that article has no credibility. Even among the poorest or cheapest commercial sex workers, such behavior is not credible. Thats he witnesed sexual activity while hiding in a corner. That should be a warning to Ugandan editors: too many mediocre masquerading as journalists.

    It is time to decriminalize commercial sex work in Uganda. Doing so will do a couple of things a) get commercial sex workers medical help, b) relieve the Ugandan police from policing commercial sex to policing serious crime, c) ensure that commercial sex workers are not robbed by clients who refuse to pay or use force after paying.

    And btw, it is not an issue of poverty. These western countries are rich with good welfare support but commercial sex is booming.

    It is human nature. Let us debate and call for decriminalization of commercial sex work but ensure that minors are not exploited.


  6. George O. Pacu-Otto,

    My friends,

    Commercial sex workers are most of the time good people, but who are
    forced to do what they do by their economic circumstances, I have
    already written about this. In my travels in Asia, it is not uncommon
    to have a bar girl or hostess as they call them, sit with you at your
    table and get into conversation with you. She will serve you, get your
    drinks and food and if the price is right, she will go with you.

    But in most cases, it is the bar owners who get the money because you
    have to pay them what they call a “bar fine”, a percentage of which is
    paid to the woman later. There is no obligation to pay the woman any
    money, but many men still pay them money anyway.

    This is the exploitation I am talking about, because all the money
    goes to the bar owners and not the woman herself. It is pure sexual

    In the Philippines, many of these bars advertise their services and
    offer virgin girls for $1,000. They then go to the villages and hire
    girls between 12-14 years old, and bring them to Manila, and service
    them to western “tourists”. Sometimes the parents even participate.

    It is so terrible.

    George O. Pacu-Otto

  7. The Scrap Silver Gal,

    Right This Moment the economic state is so insane and many of us just simply don\’t understand just what is Truly transpiring! It\\\\\\\’s astounding the quantity of sheepel just go along with the rest as well as don\’t think for them selves. In my opinion I invest in silver because it is REAL money and not just a piece of paper that can get printed any time anyone bats an eye. Thank you ugandansatheart(UAH) for the wonderful article, a lot more folks need to be informed in finances!

  8. nic,

    that girl did good to reaserch about campus prostitution other wise u wouldnt have had what to comment about
    so i credit her and so should you..

  9. meniella,

    if we are to legalise prostitution because university girls in europe andUSA do it then i wander what is our philosophy. in my opinion bad does not become good because it is done by many. for those of you who want to legalise it good luck but one thing is even if not legalised u do it publcilybut i would like to know if you fill that you are dignified women after you have been used like tps .any way let me not judge but i do not envy u even if i an a woman of poor backgroiund like u

  10. I always used to study piece of writing in news papers but now as
    I am a user of net thus from now I am using net
    for posts, thanks to web.

  11. yowaana nyamutale,


    Prostitution, or call it sex trade, is found in all Universities all over the world. This is because it serves and satisfies a human want. And human wants must be satisfied in one way or the other.

    So, no amount of legislation can kill prostitution. The solution is to legalise sex trade so that it can be prevented from spreading HIV and other STDs. That is what modern societies do. They do not bury their heads in the sand.

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