By George Niyonzima
On 22nd September this year, Derrick Oyergi, 28, a resident of Kaiso landing site in Kabale sub county Hoima district allegedly killed his six-month-old child in a domestic wrangle.
On that fateful night, Oyergiu disappeared with a baby after accusing the wife of refusing to give him money for booze. The child was discovered the following day dead with deep cuts on the head.
Albertine Region Police spokesperson, Julius Hakiza, narrates that Oyergiu had long standing unresolved disputes with his wife, Esther Tumaine, which led to the murder of their child.
Hakiza notes that domestic violence is on increase in the Albertine Region with 1,841 cases registered in 2022. He attributed the cases to failure to report cases of gender based violence to police in time.
According to 2022 Police Annual Crime report, Albertine region registered the highest number of domestic Violence cases in 2022 with 1,841 cases registered out of 17,698 cases country wide. The report further shows more women and girls as victims of domestic violence compared to men.
Henry Irumba, the village chairperson for Kaiso fishing village, says most of the cases in his village go unreported due to lack of enough police posts to handle the rising cases of domestic violence and as a result, people have lost their lives. He says unresolved cases have led death of innocent people.
To solve the situation, grassroots women in Kaiso are championing the fight against gender-based violence using Community Safe Spaces. The Safe spaces, established with support from National Association of Professional Environmentalists in 2021, help the victims of gender-based violence get psychosocial support, mediation, counseling and referral to police with by trained community caretakers.
Constance Nyamisana, one of the caretakers under Kaiso Women’s Group says over 90 cases have been registered by the safe space, of which about 60 have been resolved and others referred to police.
Kemigisa Sylvia, the Chairperson of Kaiso Women’s group says poverty, food insecurity and COVID-19 have fuelled domestic violence at the fishing village. Kemigisa says that the safe spaces are equipped and managed by trained community based care takers to enable victims of violence seek help and get justice. She says they have become a solution to scarcity of police posts and are helping in handling minor cases to solve the backlog of unresolved cases at the police posts.
Kemigisa says they have also established kitchen gardens and income generating initiatives like weaving and making charcoal briquettes to improve household income and boost security to foster peace in families.
The group also uses advocacy drama as an artistic impression initiative to fight gender based. They sing about women’s rights, gender based violence, livelihood improvement; and encourage those listening to stand in solidarity in the face of the ongoing struggles posed by the oil industry.