Government bans mini skirts, transparent clothes for public servants

By Paul Tajuba

Strict dress code guidelines issued by the Ministry of Public Service have drawn mixed reaction from various circles.

Ms Adah Muwanga, the ministry’s director human resource, says the move is in response to public outcry over indecency.

According to the circular sent out this afternoon, female staff have been told that dresses or skirts that are above the knees, sleeveless blouses or any clothing made out of see-through material will not be allowed. Braids and extensions have also been banned.

Men must wear long-sleeved shirts and ties and not brightly-coloured clothes.

The circular further states that while women will be allowed to wear pant-suits, they should not wear any tight-fitting clothing or show cleavage.

Flat, open shoes are also ruled out, except in cases where one can prove that it is for medical reasons.

However, Rita Achiro the Executive Director of the Uganda Women’s Network has questioned the timing of such a decision.

“Public service should concentrate on things that are affecting the general public. How will decent dressing bring drugs in hospitals, teachers in schools?” Ms Achiro asked.

However, Stephen Langa, the executive director of Family Life Network Uganda, a civil society organisation has supported Public Service’s move saying: “Dressing is personal but it sends a message to the public. You cannot just let people to dress the way they want when they cannot control themselves,”

The circular is derived from Public Service Standing Orders on dress code, put in place in 2010.

The Orders require that “ For the promotion and projection of a good image of the Public Service, a Public Officer shall at all times dress appropriately and appear decent and respectable in a way that is generally acceptable”