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 OBR revives campaign to curb child marriages

By Rwenzori Daily

The Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu-OBR Cultural Institution has renewed an earlier campaign to introduce marriage certificates to curb child marriages in Kasese district.

In 2011, the institution introduced certificates that were only issued to girls who are above 18 years. Girls who were planning to get married would have to register first with the Kingdom’s cultural department.

The girl has to fill in her date of birth and also present a genuine birth certificate to the department before she is given consent to get married. The cultural department will then write to the priest authorizing them to wed the couple.

However, the campaign stalled under unclear circumstances, giving rise to cases of early child marriages.

TheObsunga Bwa Rwenzururu Prime Minister, Joseph Kule Muranga, says that many girls have dropped out of school especially after the closure of schools during the Covid-19 lockdown because they were married off by their parents.

Muranga says that the kingdom has tasked its cultural agents in the sub-counties and villages to monitor all marriage ceremonies and report accordingly if any of the partners is below the recognized age.

Zainabu Asiimwe, the Kasese District Senior Probation and Social Welfare Officer, says the new campaign is timely as the district continues to register high cases of sexual abuse against underage children.

She explains that in 2021, her office recorded over 6,000 girls who went for their first antenatal visit and most of these were below the age of 17 years.

Rev. Alice Nabirwe of South Rwenzori Diocese says that the campaign will boost the church’s campaign to end early child marriages.

She however challenges parents to take care of and guide their children.

Sheikh Nasib Musenene, an Islam scholar says that some conservative cultural tendencies have overtime given negative practices an opportunity to override within the society.

He is pleased that the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu has come out to denounce such tendencies.

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