ZOMBO – President Yoweri Museveni has highly commended the Alur Cultural Institution for spearheading campaign against early child marriages and pregnancies through sensitization.
“That is absolutely positive, I want to thank His Highness the Alur king for the theme, because there is no doubt that there is a clash between modern legislation by parliament against the cultural concept of maturity,” said Mr. President.
Museveni pointed out that in some cultures like that of the Banyankore, their science of maturity for girls was tied on the first and second monthly periods. He argued that the concept was misleading because with good feeding, girls as young as eleven or twelve years of age would start having their monthly periods.
Museveni who was on Friday the Chief Guest at the 12th Coronation Anniversary Celebrations of the King of Alur Kingdom His Royal Highness Philip Olarker Rauni the 3rd, made the remarks while commenting on the theme of the celebrations ‘End child marriages and pregnancies in Alur land’
The colorful ceremony took place at Atyak Seed Secondary School in Atyak subcounty -Ora County in Zombo district.
The President who congratulated the cultural Institution for creating awareness against underage marriages noted that there was a clash between modern legislation by Parliament against the traditional concept of maturity.
He said Parliament had already passed a law that prohibits girls under the age of 18 to be married off or even to have intimacy with the opposite sex as this will be breaking the law and is considered as defilement.
The President therefore commended the Alur Cultural Institution for the bold struggle taken describing it as a gap filler.
“When you come to fill a gap you use culture, not confrontational, but you come and educate people using Cultural Institutions. So we should combine legislation with sensitization so that the old customs change,” he observed.
On the infrastructure in the area, President Museveni assured the people of West Nile that government is going to bituminize the road from Nebbi-Goli-Paidha-Zombo-Zeu to Vurra adding that other roads earmarked for bituminization in the region will also be worked on.
Earlier, the President used the same occasion to remind and appeal to the people of West Nile in general and Zombo district in particular to embrace governments program of wealth creation at homestead levels in-order to chase poverty from their homes.
He told them of the 4 acre model that suits best wanainchi with small land holdings as they will be engaged in intensive commercial agriculture as opposed to extensive farming that requires huge chunks of land.
“I have directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry to register all people with vast land holdings who can grow for us maize, sugar-cane, cotton and Tobacco because we need these crops that cannot be grown by people with little land holdings,” he said.
Mr. Museveni was also glad to hear recollections narrated by the Prime Minister of Alur Kingdom Lawrence Opar Angala on the genesis of the Kingdom pointing out that he was already knowledgeable of that history.
The Host, His Royal Highness Philip Olarker thanked President Museveni for honoring their invitation. He said his Kingdom has developed Alur guidelines to be adhered to in the institution on marriages.
“Young girls have been victims of early marriages and pregnancies occasion by the COVID-19 pandemic. I will seek to have them protected in all forms of abuse and also ensure that they complete school,” he vowed.
His Royal Highness Olarker paid tribute to all partners as well as MTN telecommunications company for their support.
The notable Guests at the function included, the King of the Acholi Rwot Acana the 2nd who thanked President Museveni for his support to Cultural Institutions in Uganda adding that the Institutions play a very crucial role in society.
Also present at the function was the Minister of State for Northern Uganda Hon. Grace Cwichwiny.
Others included Ministers, leaders from the districts of West Nile Region and Religious Leaders.