Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje has unveiled the actions to be taken by the Inter religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) to end Female Genital Mutilation in Karamoja and Sebei sub-regions.
He announced while addressing thousands of people who turned up for the third annual Marathon to end FGM that was held at Kapchorwa Boma grounds this weekend.
The marathon was organised by the Church of Uganda and Sebei Diocese in partnership with Ministry of Gender labour and Social Development (MGLSD), Kapchorwa District Local Government and Uganda National Athletics Federation with Support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Speaking in his capacity as the Chairman of the IRCU Council of Presidents, the Mufti said that the different faiths congregating together under the IRCU are united against FGM.
“FGM is against God’s order of creation,” he said.
Despite several interventions to eliminate it, the Mufti said FGM has remained remarkably persistent in some isolated communities in Uganda.
“With continued support from government and development partners such as the UN family, the advocacy and social mobilisation of FGM practicing communities have been partly successful with reduction in reported cutting during designated periods, and substantial changes have been noted in perceptions, and families protecting their children against the practice,” the Mufti said.
He, however, noted that in some communities, FGM is still practiced underground and some families take their girls across the border in Kenya to perform the practice.
He expressed concern over the fact that the act is often performed on minors in their early adolescence and referred to it as a form of gender based violence that infringes on the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls and undermines their dignity.
He said IRCU favours an approach that will empower the communities to decide for themselves to abandon the practice.
This, he said, will instill a sense of autonomy and avoid the perception that they are being coerced or judged.
To ensure that FGM is eliminated in Uganda (Karamoja and Sebei), the Mufti made several commitments and one of them is that all IRCU members will utilize their structures in affected regions to organise community dialogues and educational forums for parents, so that the issue of FGM is widely discussed and consensus is reached on locally acceptable solutions to eliminate the practice.
“Special prayer days will be dedicated to deliver messages against FGM and urge congregations to respect and protect the dignity of women in society,” the Mufti pledged.
The Mufti’s remarks were lauded by the UNFPA Country Representative Mr. Alain Sibenaler, the Archbishop of the Province of Uganda, Rev Stanley Ntagali and Jane Mpagi from the Ministry of Gender.
The Mufti was accompanied by the District Kadhi Sebei Shk. Sabila and the UMSC population program officers.
Other notable personalities present included the Bishop of Sebei Diocese Rt. Rev. Paul Masaba Kiptoo, the IRCU Secretary General Mr. Joshua Kitakule, Hon. Rukia Chekamondo, Maj. Juma Seiko, the RDC Kapchorwa Ms. Jane Frances Kuuka and other local government leaders from all over Sebei sub-region.
Renowned athletes from Sebei – Uganda and Ethiopia were also present.