KAMPALA – The Third Deputy Prime Minister, Rukia Nakadama has said government was commitment to ending female genital mutilation-FGM – a vice that has persisted despite all the ‘roadblocks’ in place.
Nakadama noted that government was aware of cross-border influence – especially from Kenya that was frustrating its efforts to eliminate FGM in Karamoja and Sebei sub-regions – which needed urgent intervention from the regime.
“As government, we shall take it upon ourselves to enter into a bilateral engagement with neighbouring countries and end this vice, which people still take as a good culture,” said Nakadama.
Nakadama made the statement while launching the five year strategic plan for Uganda Women Parliamentary Association -UWOPA at the Imperial Royale Hotel on Friday.
She noted that ending FGM takes a multi-sectoral approach – requiring all stakeholders.
“We need to involve men; they are the ones who refuse women from protecting girls from FGM. We need religious leaders on board to work with us to see that FGM comes to an end,” said Nakadama who added that she was concerned that violence and discrimination against women was prevalent despite the existing laws and policies against the same.
She took the opportunity to rally MPs to use their forthcoming recess to educate people about the essence of the 30 per cent of the Parish Development Model –PDM funds allocated to women.
Nakadama said she was afraid such a provision could be used to discriminate women from other opportunities as the case was with the affirmative action that provided for a parliamentary seat for women per district.
The Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi called on UWOPA to advantage from the on-going budget process to plan for critical issues such as FGM affecting women.
“Scrutinise the budget and plan for matters pressing women; if its water for health, plan for it,” advised Amongi.
The UWOPA Chairperson, Sarah Opendi said their strategic plan aligns well with government’s intervention to empower women and girls under the PDM.
“We will continue to empower women and girls economically; we hope that the PDM will be a game changer at grass roots’ level. Our responsibility as UWOPA is to ensure that this money gets to the women,” said Opendi – reiterating that there was need for a joint strategy as the East African Community to end FGM. She said enforcement of anti -FGM laws were still weak in some of the states.
The UWOPA five year strategic plan is also aimed at improving the quality of health, education for women and girls, women participation in politics, peace, security, the fight against corruption and climate change.