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Tayebwa directs Govt on DNA Testing: Men and children are suffering

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has asked the government to regulate the mushrooming DNA paternity laboratories in the country and initiate counselling services for men who have fallen victim.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa (R) addressing MPs during Tuesday's plenary session on July 4, 2023. PHOTO/ Parliament Media

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has asked the government to regulate the mushrooming DNA paternity laboratories in the country and initiate counselling services for men who have fallen victim.

The Deputy Speaker who chaired the House on Tuesday, asked the Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja to guide the nation on how DNA should be conducted without breaking families and ruining the lives of innocent children.

Tayebwa said the DNA matter is a sensitive issue and shouldn’t be ignored by the government.

“We need the Right Honourable Prime Minister at least you come out and guide the nation on this matter [and] we see how best we can counsel these people. Maybe if there are regulations around it, but we just don’t leave it,” Tayebwa said.

The Deputy Speaker also asked the government to ensure that DNA laboratory centres are regulated to avoid the issuance of fake results that might break the family.

“Ugandans are very sharp, now in every corner, you are going to have a DNA laboratory. So we want to know how this should be regulated and handled,” Tayebwa noted, adding that innocent children are being chased out of homes and schools.

The Deputy Speaker’s remarks follow a recent surge in more men demanding DNA tests for their children, a confirmation made last month by Mr Simon Mundeyi, the Internal Affairs Ministry spokesperson.

Mundeyi last week said a Ugandan man who works in Europe was left devastated after finding out that the six children he has been providing for and educating in international schools were not his.

According to Mundeyi, the man was prompted to take the six children for DNA analysis when he had a quarrel with his wife and she told him that some of the children were not his. 

READ ALSO: Ugandan man wants six children’s passports cancelled after DNA test reveals they’re not his

According to Tayebwa, the recent surge in DNA testing, particularly in cases where men discover that their presumed biological children are not related to them, has led to potential harm to the children involved.

“Innocent children are falling victim. You don’t know what your parents were doing. You don’t know whatever happened and all of a sudden you see someone saying, stop using my name. Someone is saying bring back your national ID, it bears my name, so I want to go and change it and all that kind of confusion. And really the boy child is committing suicide, men are suffering. At least the mothers know who the fathers of the children are but the men are in big trouble,” the Deputy Speaker said. 

He added:  “Also, we men who are out there, by the time you go to make a DNA test for around 16 children, it means you also have your issues and you might have someone who is also taking care of your children.”

Responding on behalf of Government, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance told parliament that there will be an assessment of the laboratories that are carrying out the DNA tests to ascertain if they are accredited for that purpose.

“Part of the concern is on the laboratories and the tests being carried out. The Ministry of Health this morning held a meeting with various labs and managers and an assessment is being carried out to check whether or not these labs are accredited,” Baryomunsi said, adding that: “I don’t know want is motivating married men to run for DNA tests because it has become another pandemic”.

Call for Restrictions on DNA Tests 

Napak Woman MP Faith Nakut urged the Ministry of Health to add DNA testing to the list of restricted tests.

“We want to save the mental health of our children and of the men that are now committing suicide, it is not adding value to the economy. I propose that the Ministry of Health adds this DNA test to the restricted list,” she said, noting that children are now being abandoned.

“There are people now in Uganda who are faking the results in order to reject the children that they are supposed to care for,” she added.

Hon Ronald Afidra Olema (Lower Madi County) said the future of children is at risk if the DNA matter isn’t checked. “As a nation, we know that to secure the future of a child, it takes two parents. Some women are looking after the children of some men and don’t have any complaints. Why is it that men are now complaining? He noted.

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