45% Of Ugandan Men Have Children With Different Mothers

Ugandan men are ranked among the highest in the world in fathering children with more than one woman, according to a new report.

The State of the World’s Fathers report indicates that 45% of Ugandan men have children with multiple women. This means out of every two men, one has a child with more than one woman.

The multi-women fathers include polygamous men, those who cheat on their partners and unmarried men having sexual relationships with different women.

MenCare, a global campaign to promote responsible fatherhood, compiled the report by analysing the results of demographic surveys in the various countries. Among the countries listed, only Gabon, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo rank higher than Uganda in multi-women fathering. The top 20 are all African countries.

According to the report, having children with multiple women complicates decisions related to family planning and raising a child.

It also increases the burden on the woman as the child’s father has divided attention and is often absent.

“A lack of social support is a risk factor for women’s depression after birth, and it has also been linked to negative effects on fetal growth during pregnancy,” the report adds.

The report shows that father-child relationships, in all communities and at all stages of a child’s life, have a profound and wide-ranging impact on children. Father–child relations shape young people for a lifetime, whether these relationships are positive or negative.

However, children born to multi-women fathers often miss this opportunity.

A number of Ugandans who spoke to Sunday Vision expressed concern about the statistics, while others said they were not surprised.

The principal national guidance offi cer in the Offi ce of the Prime Minister, John Oyambi, said Ugandans should act responsibly, adding that extra-marital fathering is one of the leading causes of poverty in Uganda.

“People have children they cannot look after yet they keep on producing. The children from outside marriage are likely to suffer rejection in case the fathers die before they are introduced in the family. I have seen children try to fi ght for property even when the fathers deny that they are their children, in most cases leading to murder,” he explains.
Recently high-profi le examples of family confl icts related to having children with multiple women include the late Jobia Katumba, the proprietor of Jobia Hotel and the late Eriya Kategeya, former fi rst deputy prime Minister.

Isaac Alinitwe, a programme offi cer with Platform for Labour Action, says multi-women fathering is bad news for the fi ght against HIV/AIDS.

“If men are having children with multiple partners, then this means they are having unprotected sex, so fi ghting HIV will become a problem. This also poses a risk to women who are faithful in their marriages because they become victims of HIV infection,” he explains.

He adds that when women discover that their husbands have children with other women, the men try to silence them with violence. In addition, children born from ‘the other woman’ often face rejection and grow without parental love. Innocent Byaruhanga, the executive director Save Street Children Uganda, says mistreatment by step-mothers is one of the main reasons children run to the streets.

According to Mabel Sengendo Nabaggala from Sonke Gender Justice, if a father has children with multiple partners, it would be very diffi cult for him to provide for all the children because they will be scattered.

“Even the women are affected because they will have to become single mothers. Sometimes men force their children born out of wedlock into the marriage and it is the woman to suffer taking care of the,“ she said.

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Source: By Andrew Masinde Of Sunday VISION

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