The Director Criminal Investigations Directorate-CID under Uganda Police Force, AIGP Tom Magambo and other authorities on Wednesday, 10th August 2022 rescued a 15-year old girl who had been forced into marriage. This followed a viral video that generated mixed reactions after being widely shared – especially on social media. This case is one of the many incidents in the communities that go unreported.
“It’s 2022 and young girls are still being abducted for marriage. What’s sickening is that Aunt was part of the ploy. A few days after several rounds of rape, a negotiation is going to take place and later a church wedding,” a one Abraham tweeted on August 9, 2022.
“All leaders in society must fight this repugnant & criminal practice of under-age forced marriages. Stop selling our girls. Okukyiriza is kidnap. Despite political differences,Matembe was my hero on this. We need to arrest & prosecute these idiots,” Frank Tumwebaze-Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries tweeted. He was one of the people who cried out to AIGP Tom Magambo and other authorities to take act swiftly.
INVESTIGATIONS & UPDATE ON THE MATTER: The incident happened on Saturday, 6th August 2022 in Mukabuta-Kibaati Kyotera district central Uganda – when a concerned citizen recorded the incident (phone video) as the victim (name withheld) was being forcefully carried off a motorcycle (bajaj boxer) into a waiting Toyota premio car. The victim is an orphan and a senior two student of Kabaale Secondary School who lost her dad years ago, leaving her uncle to take over the household before marrying her mother (locally known as okuhungura in Runyankore-Rukiga).
The Aunt and the mother were both involved in the act of marrying her off to a 50-year old Abel Arinaitwe. Fortunately, by the time security officers came to her rescue, she had not been sexually harassed because the aunt was still around negotiating with her to accept the marriage proposal.
WHAT’S OKUKIRIZA / OKUKYIRIZA? This is a Runyankole-Rukiga word meaning “lifting”. It’s an old tradition of marrying off girls who weren’t willing to marry the men selected by family members. Some elders used it as an excuse to ask for many cows or dowry claiming that they had smoothened the hard process. Though it’s an old and illegal act, it still exists in areas of Kyotera, Isingiro, Kazo, Kiruhura and other areas where the girl’s family connive with boy’s family and agree on the bride price or number of cows before starting on a process that in most cases involves sexual harassment or raping the young girl by the man who’ll marry her, the aunt applying ghee on the victim’s whole body for close or over a month to make her look grown up and ready for marriage, and later the introduction, giveaway and wedding ceremonies.
Authorities have confirmed that everyone involved in the act will be arrested because they have all been identified.