Local leaders and residents from Sebei Sub-region, Nothern Uganda have expressed concern over rampant cases of domestic violence during the Covid-19 lockdown.
According to police, four men have since been reportedly killed by their spouses in the last two months over domestic brawls in different sub-counties.
More than 15 children have also been abandoned by their parents amid the rising cases of child abuse, according to the district community development officer of Kapchorwa, Ms Harriet Aseko.
The Sipi regional police spokesperson, Mr Fredmark Chesang, confirmed the cases but said they have arrested the accused women on allegations of killing their husbands.
“We have arrested the suspects and investigations are ongoing,” Mr Chesang said.
He said the first incident happened on April 9, where a woman, Ms Sheila Chelimo, 24, allegedly stabbed her husband, Sam Kibeti, 26, to death over failure to provide childcare to their son. She also accused her husband of eloping with another woman. This happened at Tegeres Ward, West Division in Kapchorwa Municipality.
On May 14, another woman, Mrs Tabisa Wekesa, was arrested in Kapchorwa District for reportedly killing her husband, Michael Kalafugo, 40, a resident of Kapsuwet Village, Kaserem Sub-county, following a disagreement over a family radio.
In April 15, a 26-year-old woman from Kaibet Village, Tumboboi Parish in Kaptyanya Sub-county in Kapchorwa District reportedly stabbed her husband to death.
According to police investigations, the wife suspected her husband, Tito Mwogo, 31, a resident of the same area, to be having a love affair with another woman.
On April, 27, the Gombolola Internal Security Officer (GISO) for Kortek Sub-county in Bukwo District was killed.
Police identified the deceased as Bosco Matayo, 37, a resident of Kubobei Village, Kortek Sub-county.
Ms Judith Chelimo, a resident, attributed the cases to different challenges being faced during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“The people are no longer working and they have no money to provide for their families. This is the cause of all troubles,” she said.
Ms Aseko blamed the increase on poverty and adultery. “Abandoning children is on the rise. We are taking care of some children as we trace for their parents,” she said.
Ms Aseko said they have launched a sensitisation campaign on various radio stations to stop domestic violence. “Some women are monitoring phone calls of their husbands and yet most spouses have not been used to staying together for a long time. We have discovered women from becoming hostile towards men,” Ms Aseko said.
The Resident District Commissioner of Kween District, Mr Denis Ephraim Balwaniregha, said: “Couples should understand each other and live in harmony. There is no need to fight each other, this is not the end of the world.”
Mr Abdullah Magambo, a concerned resident, said government should lead the fight against domestic violence. “Fighting domestic violence should be everyone’s right and responsibility. Courts of law should make domestic violence cases a priority and such cases should not drag on for long because they involve emotions,” he said.
Mr Chesang said the suspects detained will be charged with murder after investigations are complete.
Need for counselling
Ms Betty Nesihwe, the programme coordinator of African Women Service Trust, a local non-governmental organisation that works to fight domestic violence, said:
“People are not working yet they are spending more time together and doing nothing. They find many mistakes among each other. So violence is bound to happen.”
She said there is need to provide counselling for couples that are exposed to domestic violence.
Ms Nesihwe asked the locals to report cases of violence to police and other law enforcement agencies.