Moroto Leaders, Parents Blamed for Rise in Child Marriages

2666 Views Moroto, Uganda

In short
According to the UN Agency for Children, UNICEF report published for 2017, one in every four girls is pregnant or has a child. The trends account for nearly 50 per cent of women aged between 20 to 49 years married by the age of 18.

Residents of Moroto have attributed the increasing cases of child marriages to laxity of parents and local leaders.

The residents note that child marriages are planned and concealed by authorities in the area.

According to the UN Agency for Children, UNICEF report published for 2017, one in every four girls is pregnant or has a child. The trends account for nearly 50 per cent of women aged between 20 to 49 years married by the age of 18.

It also reveals that 15 per cent of women in Karamoja were married off at 15 years.

Joyfree Munyes, a member of the youth group at St. Phillips Cathedral says the quest for bride price coupled with need for money from the law enforcers results in laxity to apprehend the perpetrators of early marriages.

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Thomas Ochen Opige, the legal officer in- charge human rights at Mt. Moroto Regional Office, faults parents and local leaders for concealing cases of child marriages. Ochen observed that even when child marriage or defilement cases are reported at police, the suspects are never apprehended. 

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Charles Topos, an elder in Rupa sub county says the culture of marrying off children has only been adopted in the modern era of Karamoja. He wants government to empower cultural institutions to fight child marriages.


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Helen Kiyai, the female district youth councillor in Moroto says there is laxity from all stakeholders to fight child marriages in the region. 
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Margie Lolem, the Moroto District Community Development Officer says that child marriages account for high school dropout, poverty in households and family break-ups.