By Godfrey Olukya 29-10-2012
Slowly but surely, female genital mutilation is coming to an end in Uganda
Uganda government’s battle against female genital mutilation has started bearing fruits after over 70 local surgeons who have been carrying out the exercise denounced the act and even surrendered their crude tools they have been using.
After much complaints from human rights activists and female legislators Uganda government officially outlawed female genital mutilation four yeas ago but it is still practiced in some remote villages.
Female genital mutilation is a procedure that involves the partial or full removal of external female genitals. In old days it was used to make wives of warriors lose urge for sex so that even when their husbands stayed for long in battlefield they do not get urge to sleep with other men.
The mostly elderly female mutilators who have for long been charged with female genital mutilation of girls in north east Uganda’s Karamoja region vowed before Uganda’s’ minister of state for gender and culture, Rukia Nakadama that they will never do it again.
Each year thousands of teenage girls have been undergoing the gruesome exercise which leaves them in pain and others developing complications. At times some of them die from poorly treated wounds while others get problems while giving birth several years later.
The mutilators were convinced to give up the exercise by their 80 yr old chief practitioner, Mario Kiyonga. At the ceremony where they denounced the act and even gave in the tools they have been using,Kiyonga apologized to the local people and authority.
Kiyonga said,’I have realized that what I have been dong is wrong. I am very sorry for the death and complications I caused among the mothers and families.’
The mutilators, who have been surviving from the practice as an income generating activity because they do it at a fee, have requested government to consider finding for them alternative means of survival.
In response, minister Nakadama thanked them for stopping the backwards practice. She said that although government had banned female genital mutilation, the practice was still going on in some areas.
She said, ‘I welcome the move and request you who have surrendered your tools to convince those still in practice to stop and also hand over their tools to government.