The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has appealed to Government to consider funding the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as is done with the routine national immunization campaigns.
Kadaga said that the annual budget of shs200 million set 15 years ago for the FGM campaigns is not enough, saying there is still need for sustained and intensified campaigns. She tasked parliamentary committees to ensure budget increases in the next budgeting session.
“I told government that this year I want to see the budget for advocacy on FGM; I told the Committees of Health, Budget and Women Caucus that they must ensure that the money is in the budget. I told them to do as they do for immunization,” Kadaga said.
The Speaker said she was concerned that the fight against FGM has been left to development partners with government taking a laid back position. Kadaga vowed not to attend this year’s activism events in Sebei region, as it has been her culture in advocacy.
“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 government’s voice to be visible,” said Kadaga.
Kadaga made these remarks while meeting with the UNFPA Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Dr. Julitta Onabanjo on Thursday, 21 November 2019 at Parliament.
She cautioned that Uganda stands to lose external financial support if government does not appear to take lead in the fight against FGM. She recalled an instance in 2008, where UNFPA threatened to withdraw funding due to government laxity, saying it took the President commitment to sustain the financial support.
Cognizant that FGM is a common practice in Africa, Kadaga tipped UNFPA to involve the heads of states of African Union, saying that their influence would push the campaign thus far.
Onabanjo said African heads of states last year launched a campaign against FGM termed as ‘salama campaign’ currently championed by Burkina Faso’s president.
She committed UNFPA’s support to ending violence against women and girls in Uganda, and asked Parliament to fast tract the Sexual Offenses Bill, which Kadaga said would be tabled in January 2020.