3 min read
10 Jul

A disheartening situation has emerged in the West Nile Subregion, where some parents are forcing their teenage daughters to abandon their education and enter marriage for the sake of dowries. This troubling practice is particularly prevalent among girls still pursuing their studies, resulting in the disruption of their educational journey.

The dire consequences become evident when even primary school students find themselves caught in this dilemma. 

Getrude Inzikuru, a brave primary seven pupil from Oku Primary School in Opi Cell, Ayivu Division, Arua City, recently revealed her plight, as she resisted her parents' demands to marry against her will.


The Struggle for Education:

Getrude Inzikuru expressed her strong desire to continue her education, despite her parents' insistence on arranging her marriage. She courageously stood up for her dreams and refused to comply with their wishes. 

Tragically, her defiance led to her expulsion from her own home, leaving her in a vulnerable situation. Getrude's story sheds light on the unfortunate reality faced by numerous young girls in the region, who are torn between societal pressures and their aspirations for a brighter future.

Community Awareness and Acknowledgment:

Mrs. Judith Bako, a dedicated member of the community-based organization Save the Maracha Girls in Maracha District, acknowledged the prevalence of such cases, emphasizing that they have received numerous reports regarding forced marriages in their offices. This acknowledgement highlights the urgent need for action and support to protect these vulnerable girls from the clutches of such harmful traditions.

Mrs. Judith Bako Speaking


Silenced Voices and Fear:

Edward, the senior probation officer and acting community development officer of Arua District, revealed that although such cases exist in the district, many children fear reporting them due to threats to their lives. This fear further perpetuates the cycle of silence and allows this harmful practice to persist.


Traditional Institution's Response:

Lucy Stella Ezaru, the Minister of Gender for Lugbara Kari, stated that the traditional institution has taken notice of the mounting allegations surrounding forced marriages in the Lugbara community. Recognizing the severity of the issue, they have voiced their stance on the matter. This acknowledgment from within the community holds promise for raising awareness and promoting change.


Root Causes:

Poverty and Desperation: The Very Reverend Albert Aziku, the Provost of Emmanuel Cathedral, attributed the prevalence of forced early marriages to the escalating poverty rate in the subregion. Desperate circumstances lead parents to make such distressing choices for their daughters, jeopardizing their education and future prospects.


Defilement Cases and Hidden Suffering:

Josephine Angucia, the Public Relations Officer of the Police for the subregion, shared alarming statistics, revealing that the West Nile Subregion has recorded a total of 126 cases of defilement from January to May 2023. The practice of forcing girls into marriage is considered a form of defilement. Many girls hesitate to report such cases due to the threats they face from their own parents, intensifying their anguish and preventing justice from being served.

PRO - Josephine Angucia, Speaking


Seeking Justice and Support:

Mr. Sammuel Ondoma, a lawyer from Alakan Advocate, acknowledged that forced marriages, particularly of young girls, persist in the West Nile Subregion. However, he encouraged young girls to seek justice by reporting these cases to the police or seeking legal support from the courts. Awareness, combined with legal intervention, can help protect the rights and futures of these girls.


The alarming rise in forced marriages in the West Nile Subregion is robbing young girls of their right to education and a brighter future. The stories of brave individuals like Getrude Inzikuru shed light on the deep-rooted issues that perpetuate this harmful practice. It is crucial for communities, local organizations, and legal authorities to work together to raise awareness, provide support to affected individuals, and create an environment where every girl can pursue her education and dreams without the threat of forced marriages. 


By addressing the underlying causes and empowering girls with knowledge and protection, we can strive towards a future where every child's rights are respected, and their potential is fully realized.

BY: ANWANGKANI FRANCO - Dailywestnile.info 
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