Speaker Among Promises Tough Laws on Child Protection.
As the country observes the international day of an African child in Butaleja district, Speaker of Parliament Anita Anite Among has promised to ensure that parliament enacts very stringent laws to protect children.
The speaker made remarks while responding to the petition from the children read by a 15-year-old Alewo Gloria from Odeke primary school in Omoro district; asking Parliament to enforce the existing laws which are protecting children.
The delegation of the children was led by save the organization in conjunction with Parliamentary Forum on Children’s Affairs.
On law regarding defilement, the speaker said that there is already a law against defilement in penal code act cap (120) section 129 that prohibits having sexual intercourse with a girl less than 18 years of age and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and death.
She however blamed the weakness of the law on the implementing agencies which have failed to exploit it to curb the vice. She also condemned the tendency of some parents of defiled children who negotiate with culprits.
“In the next laws, we will legislate, we should hold such parents culpable for those kind of actions,” Rt Hon Anita emphasized.
The children asked parliament to appropriate more funds to the ministry of labour gender and social development to put in place an action plan to end child marriages in Uganda.
On Education Speaker Among told the children that Parliament and the government have agreed to set specific budget to ensure that all children get free primary and secondary education in the next financial year for 2023 and 2024. But urged parents and guardians to ensure they meet certain things like scholastic materials not leave everything to the government.
Among also accused the parents of not meeting their parental roles noting that it has given the heartless men a window to defile and also to impregnate young girls.
The chairperson of the Uganda parliamentary forum on children who also doubles as Namayingo woman MP Margaret Makoha noted that Uganda has got the highest number of teenage pregnancies in sub-Saharan Africa with over 25% of pregnancies among teenagers registered every year.
Makoha accused parents of denying their children rights to education by taking them to work in plantations and factories in the Eastern Uganda. She challenged government to come up strongly to fight Child labour.
This year’s theme is : Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children.