By Daniel Edyegu
and Olandason Wanyama
A law against female circumcision will soon be enacted, President Yoweri Museveni has said.
Launching a campaign against female genital mutilation in Nakapiripirit in Karamoja, Museveni described the practice among the Sabiny and Pokot communities as brutal and backward.
â€œGod knew what he was doing when he created us. Do you think you are more intelligent than God?â€ he asked, drawing laughter from the crowd attending the occasion.
â€œAre you the ones who made the woman the way she is? Can you even make an inch of that part you cut? If God did his engineering, who are you to destroy it?â€
He explained that every part of the human body has its function. â€œThere is no part of a human being that is useless. When I injured my figure while doing exercises, I spent weeks without doing my work normally. Now you, people, interfere with Godâ€™s work.â€
He dismissed the argument that female circumcision is part of the culture of the Karimojong.
â€œI support culture. That is why I restored the kingdoms. But you must support culture that is useful and based on scientific information.â€
He called the practice dangerous, not only to women but also to new-born babies who risk dying because of prolonged labour, caused by the destruction of the elastic mechanism.
Some women have become paralysed while others have died due to female circumcision, he noted.
â€œI use spectacles for cutting my nails. But these old women who have no spectacles cut even other parts, causing harm to the victims.â€
Pointing at a 44-year-old crippled woman, who was circumcised in 1976 in Kapchorwa, he said: â€œSee that lady on the wheelchair, she is a victim of the bad practice.â€
The President pledged to support an alternative source of income for women who earn a living by circumcising girls. He told the cheering crowd that he skipped the AU summit in Sirte, Libya, to launch the campaign.
Accompanied by his wife, Janet, who is also the state minister for Karamoja affairs, Museveni launched the drive at Amudat Senior Secondary School on Wednesday.
The ceremony was also attended by members of the Pokot community of Kenya, led by the Minister of Information, Samuel Paghiso.
The President was pleased to note that the disarmament exercise in Karamoja was on course. He, however, called on the Kenyan authorities to work together with Uganda to get rid of illegal guns.
He said a lot of resources, including sniffer dogs, were available to unearth hidden weapons.
On elevating Amudat to district status, Museveni said he supports the move because of language complications but he cautioned against fighting over boundaries.
He explained that the master plan for the development of Karamoja entails the provision of water for people and animals, roads, electricity, as well as promoting food security by providing quick maturing seeds and farm inputs.
Mrs. Museveni thanked the people of Nakapiripirit for their role in the disarmament exercise and ending cattle rustling.
â€œI am proud to belong to a generation of East Africans who are ending the shameful practice of cattle rustling and killing people in the region,â€ she said.
She thanked women leaders for their tireless efforts in stopping the â€œterrible practice of female genital mutilationâ€.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga pledged to enact the law banning the practice and called on the Kenyan officials to join hands in implementing the ban.
The colourful ceremony also saw 300 Pokot and Sabiny girls take an oath never to give in to female circumcision.