The Kajiado County Commissioner, David Kipkemei has urged residents to shun retrogressive cultures such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages that infringe on the rights of the girl-child.
Kipkemei who was addressing the public in Isinya said efforts to eradicate FGM and early marriages in the county has been greatly hampered by a conspiracy of silence, lack of education and resistance to change.
The CC warned that FGM is a criminal offence under the prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, Children’s Act and the penal code and warned parents who allowed their daughters to undergo the cut that they would be arrested and persecuted.
We are going to be very ruthless and firm on the issue of Female Genital Mutilation and child marriages. If you are found condoning the practice then we will arrest and take you to court to face the law, he said.
He called on Chiefs and village elders in Kajiado to step up efforts of combating FGM which is rampant in the area especially during the school holidays.
Kipkemei further warned chiefs condoning the practice in their areas of jurisdiction that they will face the sack, noting that all Chiefs should know what is happening in their localities and report cases of FGM and early marriages without fail.
The government has banned such practices, but the chiefs and their assistants collude with the circumcisers in some areas. It is very shameful that in this time and age, a small girl of school going age can be forced to undergo FGM and married off to an old man. Any chief who does not report cases of FGM and early marriages in their localities will be sacked immediately, he said.
Chiefs in Kajiado have often been accused of supporting the outlawed practice by failing to arrest those involved and some of them allowing their daughters to undergo the ‘cut’, saying that it is their cultural norm.
Early this year, an Assistant Chief Samuel Kuyuoni was arraigned in a Kajiado court for facilitating the marriage of a nine year old girl to a 58 year-old man in Kajiado West.
The girl, a Standard Two pupil at Esonorua Primary School, was rescued by Police officers a few minutes before she was to be married off to the man as a fifth wife.
The CC said the Police, acting on a tip off, stormed the home and found food, beer and the bridal preparations already underway.
The Chief has since been interdicted with the case on-going in court.
Source: Kenya News Agency