Parents exchange daughters with cassava
18 May 2015, 21:36
Nairobi - For a bag of dry cassava, parents exchange their daughters with the men who want to marry them.
For as little as UGX 50 000, one can 'buy' a young wife in eastern Uganda's Teso region, 250kms east of Kampala.
According to Amina Nalu, a coordinator in the girl child rights organization said that according to a study they conducted and reports made by the police in the area, the issue of underage marriage is on the rise.
Nalu said, ''A recent police probe into child marriage revealed that girls are sold to suitors for as low as UGX 50 000. If one has no money, he can pay a bag of dry cassava and get a young girl for a wife.
Most of the girls sold are between 15 and 17 years yet in Uganda, the age of consent is 18 years.
The parents who do so are usually forced by poverty to their ''selling off '' their daughter so cheaply.
James Osio said, ''When you have a big family which you cannot feed and someone offers you UGX 50 000 shillings or a bag of dry cassava in exchange for your daughter, is it not wise to accept so that the other members of the family are saved from hunger?''
Nalu said that even as the government provides free education, most girls drop out once they turn 14 or 15 years.
She however added that such acts are common because most of the villages are in remote areas, but those found with underage wives in towns are arrested and prosecuted.
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