• Thu. Mar 23rd, 2023

Activists raise alarm over female circumcision among newborns in Kajiado


Dec 16, 2022
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Human rights activists in Rombo, Kajiado county have raised alarm over female circumcision among newborns in some health centres in Oloitoktok.

It is reported that health providers at hospitals conspire with parents to circumcise their girls during childbirth.

“It has come to our attention medics are colluding with the parents to subject minors to FGM during child birth. Despite the anti-FGM campaigns in the villages, pro-FGM crusaders are fighting back hard,” Alice Masinte, director of Naret Intoiye, a community-based organization told a local publication.

In other instances, young girls in the area are forced to go for the ‘cut’ or are sneaked into Tanzania in what is referred to as ‘cross border FGM’ while uncircumcised married women who have constantly been humiliated for not going under the knife ask for the cut when delivering in the health centres aforementioned.

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Local administrators and village elders have pledged to weed out health facilities enabling the act in the region and vowed to shut them down. Led by Rombo chief, Patrick Njama, the administrators threatened to seek legal measures against parents found culpable.

“We are profiling all local health facilities suspected to be abetting FFG. We will not spare any health centre that will be found liable. We will not hesitate to take legal action against parents forcing their daughters to undergo FGM,” Njama stated.

Kenya’s Female Genital Mutilation Act, passed in 2011, states anyone found guilty of the practice could be sentenced to at least three years in jail or pay a fine of Ksh180, 000.

Ban on FGM

In March 2021, the Kenya High Court upheld a ban on FGM.

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At the time, the court refused to allow female circumcision for consenting adults, saying, unlike the male cut it does not have health benefits and reduces the well-being of the woman it is performed on and in some cases can lead to death.

The ruling by three High Court justices against the petition filed by Tatu Kamau said evidence presented showed women in the communities that practise female circumcision – widely referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM) because of its adverse effects – do not have a choice.

“We are not persuaded that one can choose to undergo a harmful practice. From the medical and anecdotal evidence presented by the respondents, we find that limiting this right is reasonable in an open and democratic society based on the dignity of women,” Justices Lydia Achode, Kanyi Kimono, and Margaret Muigai said in their ruling.

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Female circumcision can affect sexual intercourse and lead to problems with childbirth. In some cases, HIV is spread via the tools used, and excessive bleeding or badly done procedures can lead to death.

“Today is a great day for the women who live in these communities that practise female genital mutilation,” lawyer Ken Mbaabu, who is a board member of Samburu Girls Foundation, a group fighting the practice stated.

While the argument of giving adults consent may seem logical, Mbaabu said, in the communities that perform the cut, a girl is considered an adult when she starts her menstrual cycle, from about 12 years.

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