Kabalore Woman Member of Parliament Sylvia Rwabwogo. PHOTO | COURTESYKabalore Woman Member of Parliament Sylvia Rwabwogo. PHOTO | COURTESY
By ELVIS ONDIEKI and BETTY NDAGIRE

If you thought it is only Kenyan lawmakers being troubled by menacing seduction tactics by the public, wait till you meet a Woman Representative in Uganda who cried in court while narrating her experience with a smitten young man.

Kabalore Woman Member of Parliament Sylvia Rwabwogo started receiving calls in November 2017 from a stranger who would profess love to her.

The calls and messages got so frequent that she reported him to the police. He would be disclosed as 25-year-old Brian Isiko, a college student.

On Wednesday, Isiko was sentenced to two years in prison for what a Ugandan magistrate said was harassment of the MP.

PURSUIT OF LOVE

Details of Isiko’s pursuit of love from the MP mirror those revealed in Parliament in March when Kenyan lawmakers complained about the turbulent times they had been going through in the hands of individuals who were out to “seduce” them.

“There is a lady who has the phone numbers of all the MPs and keeps sending us nude photos,” Majority Leader Aden Duale said.

“We have been bullied, seduced and the careers of some politicians have ended due to cyber-bullying,” added Minority Leader Junet Mohamed.

“We are also being seduced left, right and centre,” contributed Baringo Woman Representative Kaptuya Cheboiwo.

The MPs’ complaints led to the arrest of 23-year-old Wazir Benson Masubo, who is out on bond after denying charges of defrauding MPs using the identity of Murang’a woman representative Sabina Chege.

In the case of the Ugandan student, it started gradually.

“At the start, I took it for granted, thinking maybe it was just a simple call from one of my constituents. Later the calls become frequent with the caller making more weird love confessions. I felt this had gone too far, so I reported the incident to police at Parliament and blocked the numbers. But the stalker resorted to text messages,” Ms Rwabwogo told the court.

‘I LOVE YOU SO MUCH’

She added: “One of the texts that provoked my fears said: ‘I love you so much and want to protect you. My love is for you alone and since there is no one taking care of you, I will do it. I have realised that you [are] in deep trouble.’”

Ms Rwabogo’s profile on the Parliament website lists her as single, perhaps exciting Isiko to try out his luck.

Ms Rwabwogo, who told court that she received several more calls and more than 10 messages, said one time her stalker sent a text asserting that he had failed to sleep at night and all on his mind were only thoughts of her.

She said this worried her, coming during the wave of kidnaps across the country. Ms Rwabwogo said she set up an appointment to meet the stalker upon the police at Parliament assigning her a guard. They set up a date at Java House, a coffee hangout at Lugogo in Kampala and the love-struck young man promptly showed up.

Upon their encounter, she said, the stalker flashed his identity card with the name “Brian Isiko” and her guard quickly seized him.

PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE

But Ms Rwabwogo said she got further puzzled that even when Isiko was in police custody, she continued receiving the explicit love messages from his phone. She said this caused her immense psychological torture.

Throughout Ms Rwabwogo’s sobs, however, Isiko who was clad in a black dotted shirt, stood in the dock smiling sheepishly.

This moved the trial magistrate Kamasanyu to ask him why he was stalking a woman almost twice his age.

But Isiko innocently retorted: “Everything she [Ms Rwabwogo] said is correct. I wanted her to become a personal friend. I ask for forgiveness. I also wanted her to give me ideas on how to run my poultry project. I did not have any bad intention. In fact, that is why I agreed to meet her so that we could talk.”

He said he gleaned the MP’s phone contact from the Parliament website.

In her verdict, Ms Kamasanyu said society has groomed men to always demean and disrespect women and that explains why Isiko continued to bother Ms Rwabwogo even after she attempted to block his calls.

“I have had the benefit to listen to both the complainant and the convict, but he kept laughing all through the session. This is a demeanour of a person who is not remorseful,” she said.

“At some points, the complainant broke down, this kind of harassment can only be done by a selfish person and the intentions are only known to him,” Ms Kamasanyu added.

She said considering the fluid security situation in the country, a custodial sentence is the best punishment to deter men who find it normal to harass women.

Isiko had initially denied the charges but pleaded guilty during the Wednesday session.