Anti-FGM crusaders call for punitive laws to curb practice

Written By: Rose Welimo/KNA
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Anti-Female Genital Mutilation crusaders and stakeholders in Garissa are calling for stringent laws to curb the outdated practice.

The crusaders claim the current laws are weak and riddled with loopholes that allowed the offenders to continue with the girl mutilation undeterred.

Speaking during the world FGM day at Garissa Primary school, speakers blamed chiefs and elders of the Nyumba Kumi initiative for encouraging the exercise in their areas.

The local administrators were also blamed for failing to report incidences of FGM since those practicing it could be their immediate relatives.

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According to the children’s officer, Benjamin Kinyua, the only way to achieve this was to have chiefs and their assistants sign performance contracts that state the number of arrests they make yearly.

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He said many FGM practices were being done in almost all locations in Garissa Sub County but they fail to report to the authorities for fear of being victimized by the community.

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Zainab Ali an activist with a local NGO said since the enactment of FGM laws in 2011 no one has ever been arrested and charged in a Garissa court.

According to UNICEF statistics 97% of the Somali girls undergo circumcision with many of them developing complication during birth and menstruation.

In Kenya, it is estimated that about 130 million girls are currently living with the effects of FGM. A further two million girls are at a risk of the practice.

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Societies that practice FGM in the country believe that it is an initiation into adulthood and prevents women from becoming promiscuous.

Female Genital Mutilation poses several health risks to women which include; Medical complications such as hemorrhage, pain, pelvic infection, and painful intercourse, complications of childbirth such as obstructed labour due to scarring of tissues.

FGM also predisposes girls to early marriage in Kenya since after the initiation they are considered mature and can get married.

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