President urges Sabiny community to end female genital mutilation (FGM), calling it inhuman, brutal and dangerous to women

Tuesday 30th December 2014
State House PPU

President Yoweri Museveni has urged the Sabiny community and other tribes in Uganda that have been practicing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), to shun that negative culture noting that the practice is not only dehumanizing to women and the girl child but it is also brutal, inflicts permanent injuries and poses a great danger to them and their children during child birth.

The President made the appeal while officiating at the celebrations marking the 19th Sabiny Cultural Day that was held yesterday at Sebei College Tegeres, Kapchorwa district in Eastern Uganda. This year’s Sabiny Cultural Day ran under the theme “YES to Safe Male Circumcision; NO to Female Genital Mutilation and Early Marriages.” The Sabiny inhabit the districts of Kapchorwa, Bukwa and Kween in the Sebei Sub-Region.

Mr. Museveni, who had earlier visited and taken round the Sebei Cultural Centre and told about the different phases of development that the Sebei community has gone through overtime, said that it was important that every community preserved it’s culture and heritage but noted that some cultural practices that have been proved by modern knowledge and science to be dangerous to human life, need to be shunned and stopped.

“All societies have cultures but culture is dynamic and not static and changes with times. If a culture is proved to be harmful to human survival, like female genital mutilation, we can’t simply continue practicing it because it’s our culture,” the President warned.

“Let’s choose good things from our culture and avoid bad ones. Myself and the other Banyankole used to take un-boiled milk but after attaining education, I realized the danger and not only stopped that culture but also sensitized others to stop and that has since died,” he added.

President Museveni further explained that people engaged in female genital mutilation because of lack of knowledge on its effects adding that since it has now been realized that women suffer a great deal, it must stop.

‘’This is not about culture. This is science not to put a permanent scar on a human being; moreover on a potentially dangerous area. Why tamper with God’s work of creation? I always quarrel with my daughters about piecing their ears but at least ears not that reproductive part of the body,” he said.

Mr. Museveni, who also commissioned also commissioned a newly constructed classroom block and a laboratory that was built by the Government of Uganda, used the occasion to grant amnesty and pardon the several youth and their adult co-offenders who are in prison after being arrested by authorities for engaging in acts of female genital mutilation.

Turning to development, the President pledged to tarmac the road from Kapchorwa to the Kenyan border soon and called for patience from the population as government finalizes its work on that project. He further pledged to solve the long standing land wrangles between the Sabiny and their neighboring communities and appealed to the community to avail government with the relevant facts to enable it get a lasting solution to the land problem in the area.

He, however, appealed to the population to strive towards overcoming household poverty which, he said, was the main challenge to the country. He said that through the Uganda People’s Defence forces (UPDF) officers that have been deployed throughout the country, the government would provide free farm inputs, planting materials and animal breeds to wananchi in order to ensure that call on all households throughout Uganda, engage in modern agriculture in order to boost their income.

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