FGM Monthly Article – September 2020

September 1, 2020

Government Speaks Tough On Chiefs Where FGM Is Practiced

Kenya News Agency

Information For Development

By KNA team

Chiefs and their Assistants in Garissa have been given one week to arrest and prosecute all the perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the area.

Public Service and Gender Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Rachael Shebesh, also asked the National Government Administrators to document the arrests and present them in a report that should reach the President within the same period.

Speaking at the Government Guest House, today, after handing over the National Policy on Eradication of FGM to the County Commissioner, Meru Mwangi and the Garissa County Government, Shebesh said that the Chiefs and their Assistants are the weak link in tackling FGM in the country.

Shebesh warned that tough action will be taken against Chiefs and their Assistants supporting the retrogressive cultural practices.

The practice, she noted, had caused a lot of suffering for women in the counties where the practice is rampant, adding that Garissa is leading the 22 counties where the girls still undergo the cut.

The CAS who met with Chiefs, their Assistants, clerics and opinion leaders from Garissa County said they are going round the country to fulfill President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Policy on eradication and prohibition of FGM in efforts aimed at eradicating  the practice by 2022.

The program is aimed at engaging local administrators, FGM survivors, religious, political and opinion leaders in the war against the outdated cultural practice.

“You (chiefs) are the eyes of the government on the ground. You have no choice but to ensure the practices is done away with,” Shebesh said.

“We are aware that some of you are into these retrogressive cultural practices. There are no two ways about it, you must get rid of it,” she added.

The Anti-FGM Board Chairperson, Agnes Pareyio, urged the County Government to come up with Anti-FGM policies to safeguard girl child.

“These are your people. The Executive should come up with policies for the County Assembly to pass to ensure the practice is eradicated,” Pareyio said.

Ijara Member of Parliament (MP), Sophia Abdinoor, took time to outline some of the critical sections of the new Policy to the Chiefs and their Assistants.

Sophia said that performance of FGM by a medical personnel, failure to report the illegal act, cross border practices of the vice as well as usage of one’s place to perform FGM are crimes punishable by law.

Speaking on behalf of religious leaders, the Garissa Branch SUPKEM Treasurer, Hassan Abdi, said the clerics will fully support any Policy by the government aimed at eradicating FGM.

Meanwhile in Baringo, the area County Commissioner, Henry Wafula, has said Chiefs and their Assistants in the County who abet FGM practices within their areas of jurisdiction will face disciplinary action.

Mr. Wafula said it has come to the attention of his office that some village elders, chiefs and even local leaders were turning a blind eye to the deeply entrenched cultural practice to avoid crossing paths with the perpetrators thus compromising the health rights of the innocent girls.

Speaking during an interview with Umoja FM radio, a community station, on Tuesday while responding to concerns from callers, the Commissioner stated that the government will not tolerate National Government Administrators who frustrate efforts by the government to end outlawed vices.

He disclosed that so far four Chiefs have been sacked in the County for frustrating government programs, a move that he said, will continue until all inept officers allowing illegal activities like consumption of illicit brews to thrive in their locations are weeded out.

“I urge leaders from Tiaty, where this cultural is quite entrenched, to help in the fight against the outdated traditional practices,” he stressed.

He said there was need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to stamp out the harmful tradition as hinders the right of girls and women.

Wafula revealed that his officers in collaboration with stakeholders like NGOs and the church have managed to rescue nine girls in Tiaty from female circumcision and early marriages and were being accommodated at Tangulbei secondary school.

He appealed to local leaders and the county government to mobilize resources to establish a rescue centre within the county to accommodate girls running away from dangerous cultural practices.

Speaking at Kenya School of Government (KSG), Baringo campus, last week, during a consultative meeting with elders and national government administrators CS for Public Service and Gender Prof Margaret Kobia said that six ministries have been tasked to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in a new resolve to eliminate the outdated culture.

She indicated that the identified ministries will work with 22 county governments where the vice continues to be perpetrated in a bid to end it.

The ministries which include Labour, Gender, Interior, Health, Education and ICT were coopted after the cabinet found out in February that the sensitization approach was not successful in eradicating FGM in the country.

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