MOTHER OF ABANDONED TURKISH CHILDREN IN HOIMA FACES STIGMA, CRAVES FOR JUSTICE

Zainab Tamanya 37, a mother of two Turkish children who were fathered and abandoned by the Turkish national wants the government to intervene and connect her to her loved one for support through the Turkish Embassy.

Tamanya met a Turkish man whom she identified as Musa Kaya in 2013 during the construction of Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road. According to her, Mr. Kaya was working as a Chief Surveyor with Kolin Construction Company- a Turkish company that had contracted the 82 km road which connects Hoima to Lake Albert at Kaiso-Tonya. The construction project started in 2012 and ended in 2014.

She was left with an eight-month old baby and eight-month pregnancy before Kaya went back to his country Turkey in 2014 and they lost touch. She and her children; a girl and a boy who have now turned 3 and 2 years respectively are facing lack of assistance, stigma and alienation from communities for their mixed heritage.
During an interview with Community Green Radio at her small rented house in Buseruka trading centre in Buseruka Sub County Hoima district recently, Atamanya looked stressed and miserable. She was seated on a small bench holding her 2 year old boy with a girl standing beside her. The children who are half casts were seemingly depressed as they could not flash any smile in a 30 minute interview we had with the mother.

“Most times I find myself quarrelling with people, they always want to take pictures of my children, and others bully them that they are children of a prostitute. It hurts me. I and their father had planned for a long term relationship and he promised to come back but we have lost contact,” she noted.
Atamanya earns a living by selling roasted cassava after being chased by her father who was not comfortable with her falling in love with a Turkish man. She says her business cannot cater for all the financial needs and calls on the government to intervene.

“My father chased me with my children. My mother died. Before he left, Kaya only left me with 2 million Ugandan shillings, I also had a bar but it collapsed. I am financially handicapped yet the girl is supposed to start school. I therefore want the government to connect me to the father of my children,” she said.

Though the number is not clear, several children were fathered by the Turkish nationals during the Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road according to Community Development Officer Buseruka Sub County, Joyce Kabatarya. “I know another lady only identified as Grace who also has twins. Another stays with her Turkish husband who decided to stay, they are in Kabaale parish,” she explained.Kabatarya also noted that she made attempts to help Atamanya but later abandoned the case after developing conflicts with her.
“I tried to help that woman. I had even pushed the matter to the then Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Kabagambe Kariisa but she abused me and I stopped following it up,” she bragged.

Catherine Byenkya, who was the then Bunyoro Kingdom Minister for gender, said there was high manipulation of women during the construction of Kaiso-Tonya road because they were lured by a lot of money splashed by the Turkish.
“By then I was the Kingdom Minister for Gender. When I interviewed some of the Turkish men, they told me that at least one of every five men would sleep with over 30 girls in a period of one month.” She said.

Tophace Kahwa, the Woman Member of Parliament for Hoima district noted that there is need to support the women in all ways like psycho-socio support and seeing whether they can connect those them and access the Turkish Embassy to get assistance.
“I understand that some women were left with the children of Turkish origin without care or anything while others had their uteruses removed as a result of forced abortion. There is need to follow up such cases.”

BY PRECIOUS NATURINDA