Perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation-FGM in Sebei sub region have changed tactics as government moves to curb the practice.
Female Genital Mutilation, a practice which involves partial or total removal of the female genitalia is practiced in Kapchorwa, Kween, Bukwo and Amudat districts in eastern Uganda.
Uganda outlawed the practice in 2010 following the enactment of the anti-female genital mutilation Act which spells harsh punishments like life sentence for a person charged with aggravated female genital mutilation and ten years for those who participate in the practice.
Now the traditionalists have devised ways of carrying out the practice without being detected by local council officials and law enforcement agencies.
Francis Mwangusho, the Program’s Director of the Kapchorwa based-REACH organisation, says the practice is now being performed in secluded places and under the cover of darkness for fear of being arrested. REACH is a local non-governmental organization which is leading the fight against FGM in Sebei sub region.
Mwangusho explains that the perpetrators also conduct the practice throughout the year unlike in the past when it was carried out only during even years. He says carrying out FGM throughout the year has enabled the perpetrators to avoid the counter measures that are usually put in place during even years.
He says records from Kapchorwa, Bukwo and Kween districts indicate that the prevalence rate of Female Genital Mutilation still stands at 50% despite the efforts put by government to curb the practice. He says in Amudat the prevalence rate is at 95%.
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Mwangusho identifies some of the places with high prevalence rates as areas that are close to Mt. Elgon National Park and the lower areas of Kween district.
Victims of the practice which is condemned by the United Nations as inhuman and degrading, suffer for the rest of their lives.
Irene Chemisto, a victim says she was forced by her parents to undergo the practice while still a Senior Two student at Bubulo Girls High School in the present day Manafwa district.
Chemisto says she suffered over-bleeding after she was circumcised and later underwent an operation while giving birth.
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On Monday, Uganda joined the rest of the world to mark the International Day for Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, a UN gazetted awareness day.