Uganda's First Lady, Janet Museveni has described female genital mutilation (FGM) as brutal and has called for more punishments to end the practice among the Karimojong and Sabiny people.
"Respect for culture is important but practices that are detrimental to the physical and mental well-being of its members should not be tolerated," said said.
She said the enjoyment of the right to practice culture should not result in negation of other rights, adding that the practice is not necessary any more.
She made the remarks during her first courtesy visit to Bukwo district in Sebei region on the invitation of the area woman MP Everline Tete Chelangat on Friday.
Mrs. Museveni condemned the communities that still carry out the ritual and force underage girls into early marriages. One of her concerns is that FGM is a health risk to the girls involved.
"The practice could lead to death due to excessive bleeding, transmission of HIV/AIDS and complications during birth."
Mrs. Museveni made a stop-over at the site where over 50 Sebei people were murdered in cold blood by the Pokot cattle rustlers. PHOTO/Abou Kisige
According to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, FGM has been classified as the cruelest and severest form of torture against girls and young women.
The UN has therefore called for an end to the practice.
The First Lady spent the entire Friday in the district - 500km away from Kampala - touring former resettlement camps in the district and interacted with the Sebei people.
Among the famous places she visited were Pirirwok resettlement camp, Shamba Bell resettlement, and the infamous Matimbei village where over 50 Sebei people were murdered in cold blood by the Pokot cattle rustlers.
While at the monument, she observed a moment of silence, led people in a prayer, and called for forgiveness and co-existence among the Sebei and Pokot people.
She later addressed a sizeable crowd at Amaney playground where she contributed sh10m towards the women movement.
Earlier in the day Mrs. Museveni had handed over sh5million cash and over 300 pieces of blankets to the people of Shamba Bell village.
She promised to work with the district leadership to ensure the Sebei people benefit from the existing government programmes like NAADS, NUSAF, among others.