PAKWACH. A section of clan chiefs in Jonam County have expressed concern over increasing cases of gender based violence (GBV) against men in the area.
The chiefs say that as a result, the rate of divorce has gone up while stigma among men who have been on the receiving end has also gone up in the communities. But they could not provide statistics to that effect,
The cultural leaders said the trend of women beating their men especially after failure to provide basic needs and engaging in multiple marital affairs is on rampage with the victims failing to report to elders for fear of getting ashamed.
The cultural leaders were meeting officials from cross cultural foundation of Uganda (CCFU) on Monday at Pakwach district headquarters to discuss culture and sexual gender based violence and commitment from the district and the cultural leaders.
According to Mr Charles Obidi, the traditional chief of Panyimur, the vice has degenerated the cultural norms of a man being supreme in the family and wants the vice checked by empowering cultural leaders to settle the cases through a traditional justice system.
He said as custodians of cultural value, it is wrong for a family to persistently involve themselves in fights as it inculcates poor parenting into children.
"Realistically a lot has changed, culture is dynamic and it's a bad omen for a man being beaten and cry in his own home by his legitimately married wife, it's on rise in Pakwach, unfortunately the cases are unreported", he said.
Mr Alex Ayikanying, the cultural leader of Alwi agreed that women are right to bring the men to order but should follow the rightful traditional channel of mediation stressing that the vice is also affecting children that are neglected after divorce.
"It's wrong for the men to abandon garden work entirely in the hands of the women and the children and only surface to sell the produce and drink all the money, our culture disciplines such men before the council of elders, we are ready to revive those courts", Ayikanying stressed.
Ms Jessica Okori, the district vice chairperson said the cultural leaders should empower women of their cordial rights like land ownership, right to inheritance without enforcement due to payments of dowry and occupation of home and properties owned in matrimonial marriage for peace to reign.
The office of the community development officer and child probation unit has intensified counseling of the victims of gender based violence including men to report such cases for quick intervention.
Ms Harriet Namukenge, the project officer culture and gender cross cultural foundation of Uganda advised the cultural leaders to harmonize their work plans with the district for easy coordination.
She assured the leaders of routine capacity building to tackle the cases and also promote practices that are healthy for the enrichment of Alur culture.
"We admit that there are some cultural practices that are good, we encourage them , but the issue of violence please, let's work against it due to aggressive harm it inflicts, work as a team and we would always help in building capacity", Namukenge said.
Cross cultural foundation of Uganda in its memorandum of understanding with Ker Alur kingdom has launched "Kura matira" literally meaning good cultural practices to regulate unnecessary value including gender based violence.