Kampala, Uganda | AFP |
Ugandan officials raided a prestigious private school Thursday to seize copies of British children’s author Jacqueline Wilson’s “Love Lessons”, as a minister who has led several similar crackdowns threatened to close the establishment.
Minister for ethics and integrity Simon Lokodo said the book exposed children attending the exclusive Greenhill Academy to sex too young.
The school in the capital Kampala is popular with Uganda’s elite and Western expatriates, and has a student body of 700 pupils aged between five and 12-years-old.
“My team went to the school and confiscated the books from the library and we have opened investigations into their motive,” Lokodo told AFP.
“The books contained literature on sex and these books are not suitable for primary pupils,” he added.
“Love Lessons” tells the story of 14-year-old Prudence, who escapes the misery of life at home with a controlling father after falling in love with her handsome art teacher.
Though she shares kisses with the teacher there is no explicit sexual content in the novel, which is aimed at young teenagers.
Greenhill Academy management refused to comment on the raid, but late Thursday the minister said he would not hesitate to shut down the establishment if it did not make changes.
“We removed the books because they were giving pupils wrong information. If they don’t stop they will be closed,” Lokodo told AFP, adding he had temporarily shut another primary school for similar reasons.
Lokodo has become notorious in Uganda for his fight against homosexuality and anything he deems provocative.
A gay pride parade in Kampala planned for last weekend was postponed after the minister was accused of saying mob attacks on participants would be their own fault.
He also had Ugandan pop star Jemimah Kansiime arrested last year for performing in a music video he deemed “very obscene and vulgar” as part of an anti-pornography campaign.
Lokodo also ordered police to arrest men who procure prostitutes and described a popular local television dating show as prostitution.
Local media reported that he also confronted Uganda’s youngest MP when she walked into parliament in a short skirt.