Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cult blamed for growth in female circumcision

Mrs Jane Lanoi displays a tool used to carry out female circumcision. She preaches against the rite, practiced by many pastoral communities. Photo/FILE

Mrs Jane Lanoi displays a tool used to carry out female circumcision. She preaches against the rite, practiced by many pastoral communities. Photo/FILE 

By JOYCE KIMANI joyctosha@yahoo.com

A religious cult has been blamed for rising cases of female circumcision in Naivasha and its environs.

Women say although the tradition is almost extinct in the area, the cult is forcing its members to circumcise girls.

Most take place in Naivasha, Maai Mahiu, Kinangop and Narok.

It is expected that there will be an increase in female circumcision cases in Narok and the rest of Maasai Land because they hold on strongly to their culture.

Councillor Esther Njeri has mobilised people in these areas to fight what is considered in the region to be an important and ancient rite of passage from girl to womanhood.

They will be seeking to arrest traditional circumcisers who force young girls to be circumcised.

Ms Njeri said that they had started persuading members of the religious organisation to end the circumcisions.

She said many school-age children had come out and confessed that they were forced.

“The children call us and tell us when they learn that their parents are planning to circumcise them. So far, we have rescued more than 10 girls from members of the religious sect,” she said.

The councillor said that most of the girls are circumcised during the December school holidays.

She said that in some Maasai primary schools, girls are told to write a composition on the dangers of female circumcision, Ms Njeri said.

Naivasha district commissioner Hellen Kiilu cautioned women who still practise the female cut that they were breaking the law.

She said a crackdown had been launched to curb the practice.