In June 2010 I read 3 Ugandan local publications on the girl Child with both cheer and concern. Cheer, on the fact that President Yoweri Museveni is definitely leading by example, by refusing to deny his daughters his unconditional, unbiased love.
Concern, that despite all efforts put in by both the government of Uganda and Human rights organisations, the girl child is still the most disadvantaged person in the world.
The girl child in Africa has continued to suffer in the hands of cultural biases because what stakeholders are doing is treating the symptoms to the disease. The cause of many of the African child abuses are rooted in our cultures.
A few weeks ago I visited the office of the RDC of Tororo District, Mr. Hashaka S. Mpimbaza and I was moved by how passionately he took on the plight of the children in the district most especially cases of Girl child abuse that flood his desk almost every day (His office has a desk for child abuse).
While a few boast about their cultural values, the rural village girl is crying out for a chance to be a child and grow up to realise their full potential.
The media have highlighted many pathetic stories of Bride price related child abuse where children as young as 10 have been married off for material gain as little as 500 Ug.shs. This raises a question on whether some adults are really capable of unconditional love.
Some may say they don’t practice ‘Bride Price’ rather exchange gifts.
This does not change two facts;
-That many children get caught up in this exchange of prices or gifts.
-That you will by all means have to take expensive ‘gifts’ whether you have them or have to borrow to keep up appearances (not demanded but expected or insinuated). Worse still today’s Uganda has set a new standard to the ‘gift’ pack that is why we are caught up in a series of introduction meeting each week.
I must commend Atuki Turner of MIFUMI for fearlessly taking on fight for a reform in the Practice of Bride price which mostly affects children. Many who saw the plight of these children cowered away in the shadows.
Bride Price or whatever fancy modified name it goes by today definitely needs a reform.