Andrew Timothy Kamugasha, the Lyantonde District Probation Officer, says that they are faced with a heavy burden of stopping the vice and blames it on communities that are reluctant to fully support efforts aimed at reversing the trend.
persistent collusion between parents and child sex offenders is being blamed for
the increasing number of child marriages and teenage pregnancies in Lyantonde
The district is grappling with the social burden of sexual
abuse characterized by the marriage of underage girls and defilement with the
connivance of their parents.
Timothy Kamugasha, the Lyantonde District Probation Officer, says that they are
faced with a heavy burden of stopping the vice and blames it on communities
that are reluctant to fully support efforts aimed at reversing the trend.
In the last three weeks, Lyantonde has registered 21 cases
of minors who were willfully married off by their parents and 28 cases of
teenage pregnancies, according to reports from the District probation
department. The report indicates that
victims are as young as thirteen years of age and are taken away under the
cultural practice of bridal kidnap.
Kamugasha says the problem has worsened during the extended lockdown
induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the closure of schools rendering
children susceptible to abuse.
According to Kamugasha, the cases are rampant in
the rural sub counties of Lyakajura, Kashagama and Kinuuka that are largely
occupied by multicultural communities, some of which still tolerate ancient
traditional practices that include among others bridal kidnap.
Kamugasha says despite the availability of by-laws to fight the problem, the lockdown
has come with extraordinary challenges fueling the problem. He explains that
effective enforcement of the law through apprehending and prosecution of
culprits is being frustrated by the community’s reluctance and parents of the victims
who still accept the social vice and concealing it under the guise of lack of
(Luganda) “abasinze bavudde kati….
Cue out: ……omutindo omutuufu.”//
Kamugasha indicates their official records only capture a
few cases involving security raids on marriage ceremonies or when girls seek
antenatal care services at health centers. But Herbert Bakenga, the Lyantonde District Education
Officer, says that they instructed teachers to vigorously support the
enforcement teams by being on the lookout and report to authorities all forms
of sexual abuse in the area as a way of safeguarding young girls.
worried that hundreds of girls may not return to school after the lockdown as a
result of teenage marriages and parenting. Fred Muhangi, the
Lyantonde District LC V Chairperson, says that faced with the growing problem,
their executive also tasked local leaders at levels to join police in fighting
the problem in their areas.
The 2020 Police Crime Report indicates that
Lyantonde district registered 71 sex-related offenses against children, the
second-highest figure in the greater Masaka policing sub-region after Rakai