By Francis Emorut
A group of women in the central region have complained that men have abandoned their responsibility of being breadwinners, leaving them to shoulder the burden.
They say men instead engage themselves in unproductive activities like playing Ludo, pool and Omweso.
Esther Namwaya, a community development officer who also acts as a probation officer in Mityana district, points out 90% of the cases she receives are about men abandoning their wives and children as far as their welfare is concerned.
She says the issue of men absconding from the role of being breadwinners is “rampant”
“The women are the ones now running homes, taking care of children’s education, food and money for treatment.”
But then, the community official blames government for doing away with the Graduated Tax which, according to her, has made the men redundant and therefore on her part, calls for its reinstatement.
“It is the lack of the Graduated Tax that has made men to shun their responsibility of being the heads of the home but before the Graduated Tax was abolished, men used to work hard.”
Most of the women at the conference agreed that men are abandoning their provision role. PHOTO/Francis Emorut
Ngomba district speaker Olivia Nankunda says the issue is a “big challenge” and admits it is rampant in her district.
“Men no longer buy clothes and pay school fees for their children,” she tells New Vision, adding that Ngomba district council has had four meetings to sensitize them (men) about the good health of family although it has not yielded much fruit.
She says most men keep complaining that they don’t have money.
“They say we don’t have money but nowadays women are working let them take responsibility of the family.”
‘Widows’ of alive husbands
Phoebe Kyewalyanga, who is the Masaka district speaker, explains that the problem is no different in her area – even worse – to the extent that some people look at the women as widows.
She says: “When you go to general meetings you will only find women and when you ask them whether they are widows they reply that their husbands are away either drinking or playing Omweso.
“The men have abandoned their responsibility of paying school fees, buying salt and clothes.”
On her part, Luwero Woman MP Brenda Nabukenya agrees that men have become irresponsible and says she has received numerous complaints about the issue in her constituency.
Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA) president Betty Kamya (left) talked about the salary of Ugandan MPs. PHOTO/Francis Emorut
All these voices came to fore during the central regional women in politics conference at Hotel Brovad in Masaka district recently.
The conference, convened by Forum for Women in Democracy, was aimed at developing a strategy for the integration of women’s agenda into government political and economic process.
During this convention, we see Patricia Munabi the executive director of Forum for Women in Democracy observe that it is a pity men have “gone on leave” as far as caring for the family is concerned, and as such, she calls for more sensitization of men.
On their part, male participants at the conference argue that it is the high rate of unemployment causing men to abscond from their role of provision.
One of them, Kalule Mbowa, observes that unless the problem of unemployment is tackled the situation will even get worse.
The Masaka LC5 boss Joseph Kalungi says that the responsibility of being a breadwinner should be shared between the couple because women are also earning an income.
The Masaka LC5 boss Joseph Kalungi says women should also share the responsibility of provision. PHOTO/Francis Emorut
He instead blames women for also shunning responsibility.
Other concerns the women raised during this meeting included the rampant cases of defilement, land grabbing and high level of illiteracy.
The president of Uganda Federal Alliance Betty Kamya sparked a debate on amount salary paid to MPs, saying the Parliament budget of sh280b can be used to provide services for 20 districts.
The women were shocked to learn that each MP is paid sh25m per month and demanded for the downsizing of the House.
The central region districts represented in the conference included Ngomba, Masaka, Sembabule, Rakai, Mityana, Wakiso, Mpigi, Mityana, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Butambala and Luwero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola.