KAMPALA – The speaker of Parliament Ms Rebecca Kadaga has tasked the Parliamentary Committee on Education to establish the progress made towards construction of schools in Sebei and Karamoja region to keep girls at school during the circumcision season.
Ms Kadaga said when the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, 2010 was enacted, it was agreed that government would construct model boarding schools to help educate the girls in Karamoja and Sebei regions.
“And these schools were to be used to accommodate the girls during the season of circumcision. I know that the one in Amudat has not been built; the one in Nakapiririt was abandoned. I think the only one which is built is the one in Kosir in Sebei,” said Ms Kadaga.
Ms Kadaga who was delivering her communication during plenary sitting January 26 directed the Committee on Education to visit all the areas where the schools were to be constructed and report to Parliament.
She further tasked the Committee on Gender to find out the output of the shs200 million which is allocated annually to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development for sensitization campaigns.
“We have been sending this money for the last seven years but I do not know if there is any output. The Committee on Gender should establish what this money is doing and the impact of the campaign,” said Ms Kadaga.
This report comes at a time when reports across Sebei sub-region reveal that husbands armed with machetes now carry their women openly on Motorcycles to surgeons in hotspot areas, see them undergo FGM and protect them back to their homes.
Although the season ended last year, a total of 23 girls have been circumcised this year [2019 and that married women who escaped FGM are being threatened and forced by their husbands to undergo the cut.
Ms Kadaga also asked the Committee on East African Community Affairs to hold meetings with the Kenyan counterparts to find a solution to the surgeons who cross from Kenya to Sebei to perform circumcision.
“Last Friday, I was with the Governor of West Pokot in Kenya and he expressed willingness to end this practice. Let the committee on EAC arrange meetings starting with West Pokot,” said Ms Kadaga.
The Speaker explained the need for government to fulfill its pledge to find alternative sources of livelihoods for the surgeons saying surgeons get a lot of money during circumcision. If you circumcise 100 girls, you get shs5 million.
“We had discussed that with the President but I think that has not been fulfilled,” added Ms Kadaga.
Ms Rosemary Nauwat (Ind. Amudat) said the shs200 million allocated for sensitization campaigns is insufficient and that this money goes to The Reach Programme based in Sebei and it is that same money which is to be used in all the districts where FGM is practiced.
She advised that the only guaranteed way to combat FGM is through promoting education so as to keep girls at school.
“The children who are going to school are not being circumcised. Government should take action to complete schools that were pledged and they should be boarding schools,” said Nauwat.
Ms Jacquiline Amongin (NRM, Ngora) was concerned about the upsurge in FGM and yet Uganda had been cited as one of the countries that is making progress in combating the practice.
She explained that countries where FGM is common, including Kenya and Ethiopia, were looking at Uganda as a role model in combating the practice.
“I am wondering if we are not losing the battle; we will be starting from zero and yet we have a law in place to combat FGM,” said Ms Amongin. Ends