Masindi district council approves child protection by-law

According to her, these children, aged between five and 17, are engaged in child labor either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Masindi: Masindi district council has approved a child protection by-law that was recently passed in Bikonzi Sub County and Kyatiri Town Council.

The motion was raised by John Kisarach, the councillor representing Kyatiri Town Council, during the district council chaired by the district speaker, Moses Kirya, held in district chambers on Wednesday, May 29, 2024.

Kisarach said that authorities in the above sub-county and town council identified the gaps in the community, which include school dropouts, early marriages, and early pregnancies, among others.

He added that this has been attributed to child labor on sugarcane plantations, maize, and tobacco, among others. He prayed the by-law be approved since it has already been considered in Kyatiri Town Council and Bikonzi Sub County.

Pamela Nyakato, the female councillor representing Bikonzi, Buliima, and Bwijanga subcounties, suggested the by-law be implemented in the entire district since it is grappling with child labor. Simon Byaruhanga, the district youth councillor, said that it is prudent for the entire district to be catered for; however, for this specific arrangement, they have a development partner who is helping the district implement the bylaw, and he presumed that their resource envelope only allows Bikonzi Sub County and Kyatiri Town Council.

However, Byaruhanga said that the districts can put in their request to the development partner if resources allow; they can extend their services to the entire district, but as a council, they can adopt this by-law for the entire district, where the employed can implement it.

However, Moses Kirya, the district speaker, said that if more subcounties or town councils pass the same by-law, it will be approved by the district council.

Mathias Tende, the councillor representing Pakanyi Sub County, proposed the motion to be adopted as a working document, and it was unanimously seconded by all councillors.

Speaking to journalists after the council meeting, Eddie Wambewo, the Executive Director of Eliminating Child Labor in Agriculture (ECLA), said that they are piloting the project in Bikonzi Sub County and Kyatiri Town Council in partnership with the authorities to curb the vice.

The Uganda National Representative at the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Ms. Molly Namirembe, stressed that it has emerged that the agricultural and mining sectors in Uganda are at the forefront of engaging in child labor, with 5% of children employed in sugarcane plantations, sand mining, and bricklaying across the country.

According to her, these children, aged between five and 17, are engaged in child labor either voluntarily or involuntarily.

She says the illegality that is widespread in sugarcane-growing areas of Kikuube, Masindi, and Hoima districts in the Bunyoro region goes hand in hand with child trafficking, in which children are taken to different parts to offer an involuntary labor force.

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