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Man sets house ablaze after wife declines to take FGM

Ms Kusuro [Right] stands in her compound washing plates and in the foreground is the debris of the house that was burnt. (Photo by David Mafabi)

KWEEN – A woman in Kwosir sub-county, Chemukola village in Kween District is suffering a setback following the destruction of her house by the husband after she declined to undergo Female Genital Mutilation.

Betty Kusuro and her four children who are now taking shelter in an old small kitchen say that their father Moses Chemisto stormed the home late on Saturday evening, set the fire on the house before fleeing.

Kusuro, 35, a mother of four, says that her husband asked her to get circumcised and that she declined and “even when he tried to force me, I refused because I don’t see the value of Female Genital Mutilation”.

She explained that he was very angry, promised to divorce her and even promised to burn the house if she did not give in to FGM.

Kusuro revealed that in as little as 30 seconds a small flame became a major fire that ravaged the home and threatened my life and the lives of my children inside.

“All my children fled the house and we kept battling flames for several hours but it was difficult to stop it. We lost the house and property but managed to save the kitchen which we are using as the only house in our compound now,” Kusuro told PML Daily in an interview.

Apparently the place looks like an abandoned area with only the debris of the house that looks like a freshly dug garden ready for planting.

Patrick Chemonges, the LCI chairman for Chemukula village, said Mr Chemisto had tried to force the woman to get circumcised and that when the woman refused, he decided to burn the house in order to chase her away from home.

He revealed that Kusuro and the children are homeless now, plainly terrified and that they now sleep in a small kitchen squeezed together like birds.

He revealed that although through speaking to people in all villages, it is clear that  despite being banned by the law in 2010, FGM remains a deeply rooted tradition within Sabiny sub-region.

“I know that FGM still happens in secret even when there is the law [FGM prohibition Act 2010] most of the girls you see around here will be cut … some will be forced by their husbands,” he added.

 

Ms Kusuro talks to PML at her new home in Chemukula village in Kween district. (Photo by David Mafabi)

Mrs Beatrice Chelangat, the Reproductive Education and Community Health [REACH] programme Director General, condemned the act of burning the house and asked Police to look for the culprit [husband] and have him arrested and prosecuted.

The REACH programme is Sebei based non-governmental organisation working to eradicate FGM and fighting other harmful cultures that abuse women/girls’ rights.

She revealed that virtually all the FGM husbands the REACH programme has spoken to are ashamed by the pain that is inflicted but later tend to rationalise it as collateral damage inevitable in the preservation of culture and traditions.

Denis Musinguzi, the District Police Commander Kween, said they would hunt for Chemisto and ensure that he is brought before the Courts of Law.

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