By Francis Emorut
Girls in Namisindwa Primary School, Manafwa district have abandoned studies due to fear of being defiled by their own teachers.
This was revealed by Mbale dostrict deputy Resident District Commissioner, Pamela Watuwa.
“In Namisindwa sub-county girls don’t go to school. Since last year's incident where some girls were defiled by their own teachers,” Watuwa informed participants attending regional women in politics conference in eastern Uganda.
The conference organised by Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) took place at Pretoria Hotel in Mbale.
The objective of the conference was aimed at increasing accountability towards women centred political processes.
Mbale deputy RDC Pamela Watuwa (right) and former Tororo Woman MP Tezira Jamwa addressing participants at the conference. PHOTO/ Francis Emorut
Watuwa estimated that over 80 girls out of 200 pupils in Namisindwa Primary School have lost interest in education due to their teachers’ sexual behaviour.
The resident commissioner however did not elaborate what happened to the teachers who defiled the girls; whether they were prosecuted or not.
This prompted Margaret Romushana a participant to ask what happened to the Domestic Violence Act and Sexual offences Act.
“Teachers defiling girls and no action is taken,” Romushana wondered.
“Is the law dormant? Why can’t Parliament amend the law?” she added.
Margaret Okees ,a farmer from Katakwi district blamed some parents, the LCI chairpersons and the Police for abetting crime instead of enforcing the law.
Participants listen attentively during the regional women in politics conference at Pretoria Hotel in Mbale district. PHOTO/Francis Emorut
“Some parents connive and negotiate with the LCIs and when they go to Police, the suspect is released that’s why defilement cases are so rampant,” Okees argued.
The women called for the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act and Sexual offences Act to deter the perpetrators.
Watuwa who was a chief guest called upon women activists to come to the rescue of the girls and ensure that they get education.
She said the problems of girls in eastern region are compounded by lack of sanitary towels and poverty which prevents them from going to school especially in Kapchorwa district.
She said her office was encouraging parents to value education for the girl child and sensitizing the community on dangers of defilement.
On women empowerment, the former Tororo Woman, MP Tezira Jamwa noted that true development comes when women issues are included in the manifestos of Political Parties.
She observed that 2016 general election will be key determinant on whether the elected leaders in 2011 have delivered women issues.
Responding to women’s concern of having equal representation in top leadership positions with men at 50/50, Watuwa welcomed the move but advised women to acquire education first if they are to achieve their goal.
“If you want to be in the same platform with men, you must be educated,” she said.
She praised the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) boss, Jennifer Musisi for transforming the central business district.
“We should be educated. What do men do different that we can’t do?” she asked.
Betty Byanyima, a consultant urged women councilors to advocate for more funding for functional health facilities.
She specifically singled more funding into research in HIV/AIDS intervention and control.
She also called upon them to embrace information communication technology.
The conference was attended by women political leaders, women councilors, business women and Mothers Union representatives, women farmers and women from cultural institutions as well as women leaders in civil society organizations from the 18 districts in eastern region.