KENYA: Women Call For Concerted Effort to Fight Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation has come under fire from women. They say men are to blame for the spread of the vice.

Women leaders in Sericho division of the new Garbatulla District attending an Action Aid-organised forum expressed fear that the cultural practice may take long to be eradicated in the area. The practice is common in Garbatulla and Isiolo districts

Women from Modogashe, Sericho, Badana and Eresaboru locations said the local community still valued the practice. They complained that men were not helping fight the vice.

They added that wife battering was also common in the area.

Female organ

The women, led by Zainabu Roba from Badana, called for Government and NGO intervention, saying women would co-operate with the two in fighting the problem.

Action Aid’s Development Initiative coordinator in the Sericho division Mr Ibrahim Kosi said the NGO was focusing on sensitising the local community to shift from female genital mutilation to the Islamic-recommended ‘Suna’, which he said does not disfigure the female organ.

Mr Kosi said that the community could later gradually shift from the ‘Suna’ circumcision and stop female circumcision completely.

Outdated practice

However, Sericho DO Mr Solomon Chazira said the Government outlaws all forms of female circumcision and urged the forum participants to ensure that they rejected the outdated practice and report all cases to the authorities.

He said the vice was proscribed in the 2001 Children’s Act and warned those found practising it that they would face the law.

He said that early marriages which occurred after circumcision of young girls should be stopped and girls should continue with uninterrupted learning.

Mr Chazira said wife and husband battering were criminal offences and urged victims to report such cases to the police for prosecution.

He said that development goals would be attained if women were fully involved in decision making and if they were accorded equal status with men.

SOURCE: Daily Nation

AUTHOR: Oscar King'ori

URL: Click here

DATE: 12/03/2008

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