At least every family in Kasese district has a girl who was either defiled or conceived as a teenager, according to a report on early marriages released by ISIS –WICCE, an international women organization.
The report released on Monday casts a dark shadow on the plight of girls aged between 13 and 17 years, who according to the report are prized assets for parents hungry for a dowry.
A survey carried out in Maliba and Mukunyu sub-counties in Kasese district found out that some girls ended up in early marriages because of their parent’s greed for money, and defilement by retail traders.
The Executive Director of ISIS-WICCE Ruth Odhiambo Ochieng said that the culture of marrying off girls under the age of 18 is a violation of the rights of those children who risk severe complications during pregnancy and labor.
Moreen Biira, 18 is a young mother from Munkunyu sub-county, said she was impregnated at the age of 17 after dropping out of school following her father’s death.
Biira says she was impregnated by a young man who promised to marry her but later disappeared after impregnating her.
The first deputy prime minister Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu Rt. Hon. Loice Biira Bwambale condemned the act of early marriages attributing it to lack of appropriate information reaching the parents and their young daughters.
Participants in the meeting recommended that there is need to sensitize the Bakonzo families in order to change the traditional mindset that girls can be married off before the 18- years.