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Alur kingdom moves to regulate traditional marriage ceremonies

Nebbi, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Alur kingdom has reduced the number of days to be spent on traditional marriage ceremonies as one of the strategies to tackle the rampant teenage pregnancies and marriages among its subjects.

The Alur King, Philip Olarker Rauni III says that the kingdom has developed its customary marriage regulation and guidelines, which are currently before the Solicitor general for legal advice. He says the new guidelines among others seek to reduce the number of days spent on traditional marriage ceremonies to one day, unlike the current practice.

In the new guidelines, traditional marriage ceremonies locally known as “Keny” in Alur will now take only a day as opposed to the previous 3 to 4 days, a practice the kingdom officials say was exposing many young girls to unspeakable acts hence contributing to the high burden of teenage pregnancies and early marriage.

Records at the kingdom indicate that over 12,000 girls have gotten pregnant in the past 2 years, and over 500 forcefully married off by their parents or guardians.

The Chief of Upanu from Zeu sub-county, Ivan Songa Jakernga has welcomed the initiative, noting that the practice is most common in Okoro county in Zombo district. He challenged his fellow chiefs to ensure the directive is implemented.

Patrick Muzinga, the head of Parombo clan says that the intervention has come at a time when many youths especially girls were getting wasted. He says the move will not only address teenage pregnancies but also save locals from wasting resources.

“Traditional marriages are becoming expensive since people spent three to four days during the ceremony. Many young girls often get impregnated during such functions”, he said. Alur kingdom is a hereditary traditional institution located in northwestern Uganda and the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In Uganda, the Alur mainly live in Nebbi, Zombo, Pakwach, and parts of Arua districts, while in the DRC, they reside mostly north of Lake Albert.

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