A group of girls pictured departing from Entebbe International Airport for Middle East. Local leaders in Bugisu and Bukedi are worried about the increasing cases of young marriage break-ups in the sub-regions partly because of partners seeking job opportunities in Kenya and the Middle East. PHOTO/ FILE
By Phoebe Masongole
Local leaders in Bugisu and Bukedi are worried about the increasing cases of young marriage break-ups in the sub-regions partly because of partners seeking job opportunities in Kenya and the Middle East.
“Marriage is no longer respected and this is setting a bad precedent for marriage, ‘’ Ms Jessica Watusi, a local leader at Lwakhakha border, told Daily Monitor on Tuesday.
Ms Watusi said women use porous border points on River Lwakhakha to sneak out of the country.
The district about 40 porous border points, many of them unmanned by security personnel.
The illegal routes are mainly in Lwakhakha Town Council, Bukiabi and Bumbo sub-counties. Others are Bukokho, Namboko,Namitsa and Bupoto.
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Mr Peter Etomet, the chairperson of Manakor “B” Village in Butebo Sub-county, Busia District, said several homes have been crippled by the absence of women.
“The men are being weighed down by the burden of juggling domestic duties and earning income because their wives have abandoned them,” Mr Etomet said.
Ms Jane Nabukwasi, a court clerk in charge of the family division in Mbale City, said sometimes couples run away due to gender-based violence.
“We have about 3,000 gender-based violence cases from the past three years, and I attribute the rise in the number of cases to miscommunication between couples,” she said.
Mr Gilbert Okware, 26, a resident of Asinge Village Mella Sub-county, said his wife abandoned him with two children to work as a maid in Nakuru Town, Kenya.
“It’s a tough time for me but since then, I have tried to survive and take care of children,” he said.
Ms Edisa Amet, a mother of two and resident of Malaba North cell in Malaba Town Council, said her husband abandoned her a decade ago after he travelled to Kenya for a job.
“This habit of either of the couple abandoning to look for odd jobs such as house maids, farm managers, and shop keepers is rampant at Malaba border,” she said.
Ms Mariam Mwiza, a human rights activist, said most of the girls and women who leave the country are victims of gender-based violence.
Ms Mwiza sad police should always arrest the perpetrators of domestic violence.
Ms Amina Ahmed, the regional rights defender, said the government should come up with stringent measures to protect women and children against domestic violence.
Ms Sarah Kalende, probation officer Mbale city said last year, the city registered about 1,137 cases of defilement because mothers of the children have run away from their homes.
“Mothers have run away and left their children in the hands of their fathers which fathers resorted to defiling their own daughters,” she said.
Mr Godfrey Matembu, the Butiru county MP in Manafwa said marriage break-ups are rampant due to economic hardships.
The Tororo District chairperson, Mr John Okeya, said his office has a backlog of cases from families looking for their runaway women. “We have forwarded the complaints to the Kenyan authorities but unfortunately, they also claim that it’s not easy to trace them,” he said. Mr John Robert Tukei, the Bukedi South police regional spokesperson, said they have more than 100 illegal routes between the borders of Tororo and Busia. “Boda boda riders aid them to cross to Kenya since they know the routes. This fails our efforts to curb the vice,” he said.
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