Silence engulfed Mubende Main Street on Thursday as a 13-year- old girl narrated how she was impregnated by a man almost twice her age.
The girl, whose name cannot be revealed because she’s a minor gave birth to a baby girl on the eve of the just concluded Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE). The girl said she was approached by Martin Ssegawa a mobile phone shop operator on her way back home.
Ssegawa convinced the unsuspecting girl to meet him at his shop during lunch time. On arrival, he closed the shop and told the girl to accompany him to his house where he confessed his love for her.
“He started touching my body, dragged me to his bed and defiled me. Afterwards, he told me not to tell anyone because he was going to marry me and build for me a good house,” she said.
She made the moving testimony during the public dialogue to end child marriage in Mubende Municipality which was organised by Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU).
Two weeks later, the girl noticed noticed enormous body changes and when she consulted her friends, they advised her to go for a pregnant test which turned out positive.
“I went and told him that I had conceived. He was happy and he agreed to look after me. My mother was angry when she learnt about it. However, she took it lightly since Ssegawa had already agreed to look after me,” said the girl.
Unlike her mother who took the matter lightly, the school administration could not tolerate someone who was seen as a bad influence to other pupils. However, she was later allowed to go back and sit for her PLE and she expects to pass with flying colours.
Mr Charles Kawuma the Mubende district health education officer said the girl’s case was just a drop in the ocean. He said in his district, girls below the age of 16 are actively engaging in sex and do not care about their future.
“Many children are involved in casual sexual activities and parents have done less to curb the vice. In fact some parents have turned children into family bread winners and they do not provide for their needs,” he said.
A 2015 report on child marriage released in June by the Unicef shows that the prevalence of child marriage is highest in Northern Uganda at 59 per cent, followed by Western region with 58 per cent, Eastern region at 52 per cent, East central at 52 per cent, West Nile at 50 per cent, South west with 37 per cent and lowest in Kampala at 21 per cent.
RAHU’s team leader, Mr Humphrey Nabimanya said the dialogue was part of their planned countrywide campaign against child marriage. He challenged parents not to avoid their children’s questions especially those related to sexuality and adolescence stage.
“Many times children fall victim of body changes because they lack someone who can give them the right information as far as puberty is concerned. Parents ought to be the source of information for your children,” Mr Nabimanya advised.