Speaker Kadaga tasks government to prioritise FGM as it is with immunisation campaigns
Hon Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, the Speaker of Parliament of Uganda says the amount of energy and focus, directed towards routine national immunisation campaigns, should be the same applied towards fighting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country.
Kadaga says the government should consider funding FGM as it is with immunisation. She says the Shs 200 million annual budget set for FGM campaigns 15 years ago is not sufficient, to fight the practice.
According to Kadaga, FGM still needs to be sustained and intensified campaigns to achieve the desired goal. However, she tasked the Parliamentary Committee responsible to make sure that the FGM budget is increased, in the next budget.
“I told the government that this year I want to see the budget for advocacy on FGM; I told the Committee of Health, Budget and Women Caucus that they must ensure that the money is in the budget. I told them to do so as they do for immunisation,” Kadaga observed.Tweet
Kadaga noted that her concerns come after government stayed reluctant about FGM leaving everything about it to Non-Government Organisations (NGOs).
Kadaga adds that years back she has been attending FGM advocacy events, but this time she turned down an invitation to attend the 2019, activism event in Sebei region, and instead called the Minister of Gender to go and attend, to awaken government’s role in this matter.
“This year they invited me to go, but I refused; I am not going. I called the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development and told her to go. Let NGOs be there, but I want the government’s voice to be visible,” Kadaga stated.Tweet
Nevertheless, Kadaga noted that the country may lose foreign assistance if at all government fails to directly participate in the fight against FGM practice in the country.
Kadaga cited an event that happened way back in 2008, when UNFPA threatened to withdraw funding, because of government reluctance. She says it took president Museveni’s commitment to sustain the financial support.
According to speaker Kadaga, since FGM is a common practice in African countries, UNFPA should involve African Union heads of States to help push forward the campaign, since they are most influential and respected persons.
Kadaga as well commended UNFPA’s support to end violence against women and girls in the country, and also asked Parliament to fast track the Sexual Offenses Bill, which according to her will be tabled before Parliament in January 2020.
Kadaga made the remarks at Parliament on the 21 November 2019, while in a meeting with Julitta Onabanjo, the UNFPA Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.