KAMPALA— The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has called for the shutting of all pornographic sites, which he says expose children to huge amounts of inappropriate information at an early stage.
Tayebwa who officiated at the high-level policymakers engagement on financing for young people, organized by the Uganda Parliamentary Forum for Children (UPFC) on Wednesday in Kampala called upon the government to stop the surge in children seeing adult material.
“Our children are exposed to cartoons of violence, our teens are exposed to pornography. In Moslem countries, pornography is blocked. Tell me how much we can lose as an economy if we blocked pornography sites in the country. Pornography is killing us,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker also directed the Minister of Youth and Children to laise with other agencies including the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance to borrow from Moslem countries that have successfully blocked access to pornographic sites to underage children.
“Minister for ICT, why aren’t you blocking pornography? What value is it adding to us as a nation, apart from destroying the model family. What are we getting out of it? I think Honorable Minister for children and youths, you should also petition your colleagues, this is an issue to discuss in parliament,” Tayebwa said.
Tayebwa also urged parents to go back to the African belief that “a child is brought up by the community”.
“Growing up, everyone in my community could offer a child food if they were hungry and likewise anyone could punish you as a child if you are not in school. But these days, the community has abandoned that critical role of raising a child as a whole. We have abandoned that,” he noted, asking the line minister to do what it takes to ensure that young people are protected.
Youth and Children Affairs State minister Sarah Nyirabashitsi Mateke decried the little funding allocated to her ministry.
“As I speak now, this Financial Year, you have given me UGX 20 million for street children. That means every quarter, I have five million (UGX 5 million. What can I do with five million?” the Minister wondered.
Ms. Mateke called for the recruitment of pediatricians in every district saying the country is losing very many children.
“We need pediatricians in every district. We are losing very many children and I think we need to address that,” she added.
Margaret Makhoha, the Chairperson Uganda Parliamentary Forum for Children said Uganda has no single budget for child protection, but rather allocations are subsumed in various programmes, sub- programmes, and activities across the different government Ministries, departments, and agencies.
She said that the multi-agency nature of child protection is an obstacle to the emergence of coherent, integrated child protection systems, and an even greater obstacle to developing management information systems for child protection.
“All relevant line Ministries, Departments and Agencies should have a clear understanding of their role in child protection and prepare their budgets accordingly,” she said.
Makhoha implored sector players to ensure that children’s issues are a priority in this country.
“We should not base on the available funds in the resource envelope but rather consider it as a need.”