Kampala Central Member of Parliament Muhammad Nsereko has lashed out at State Minister for Gender and Culture Peace Mutuuzo over her Wednesday statement against genital elongation in young girls.
While addressing the media in Kampala yesterday, the minister said government will find avenues of talking to girls, especially in primary schools, how to report the perpetrators for encouraging a practice that does not add value to their health.
“We shall target matrons in primary boarding schools. You are preparing our girls who are not yet ready for marriage and may get partners who do not care about that (genital elongation),” Mutuuzo said
Pulling is a tradition in central and southern parts of Uganda and Rwanda, which has come of age for teenage girls in those areas.
Although criticised by the west, the practice, is basically the elongation of the labia minora on the female private parts by girls and women.
Now, through his social media platform on Thursday, Nsereko advised Mutuuzo to leave matter of culture to cultural leaders since she may cause unnecessary riots.
Remember the Nrm government came from the Bush (munsiko), so don’t just think visiting that Bush is completely useless. Where I agree though is that it should not be forceful, it must be voluntary to those above 18,” the legislator said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
“As for Female Genital Mutilation ,it’s inhuman and degrading and bad. Leave the sengas and kojjas do their work. Try to visit EKISAKATTE. You will learn more. Hon Nakiwala Kiyinji should try to advise you on that.”
Nsereko joins fellow legislator Betty Nambooze to defend the cultural practice.
Nambooze yesterday warned the minister to focus on what concerns her instead of infringing on other people’s cultures and norms.
The Mukono Municipality MP told Mutuuzo that ‘pulling’ has been around for over 600 years with no major reported risk to either the women or society at large.
“Reseachers Guillermo Martinez Perez and Harriet Namulondo did warn that,that practice by Baganda is likely to endure, and hence advised that there is need to respectfully address Baganda through education programme cleared by their cultural leadership aimed at minimising the risks that maybe attached to the procedure and, hence, improving the sexual and reproductive health of Baganda girls,” Nambooze, who is also the Shadow Minister for Information, National guidance and Kampala, said in a Facebook post yesterday.
Adding, “Dear Minister, you can’t say that the Baganda practices or even the Sabiny circumcision are primitive actions because even in the developed World for example in the Netherlands/ Western Europe, lately, cutting the size of private parts is becoming the norm in younger women. Plastic surgery to reduce the size of some parts of the genitals is one area the health insurance companies are now citing as they demand for extra pay for these operations.”
She further cautioned the minister to distinguish the Baganda practices from the highly risky female genital mutilation practiced by certain tribes in eastern Uganda.
“But even in communities where they practice women circumcision there is always need to exercise caution and restraint not to approach this matter through criminalising a culture right away.
“Attacking culture is trending on a very slippery ground….the best way to deal away with a cultural practice is through respectful sensitization and dialogue done professionally in conjunction with cultural leaders. Madam Minister no community should ever claim cultural superiority or condemned as having an inferior culture…if a cultural procedure is harmfully done, we should only move to sensitize those people to do it safely. Most importantly although scientists have indicated such practices are of no scientific value, they all agree that because they are culturally treasured, women who have complied to them get confidence which makes their sexual relationships healthy.”
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