A group of elders from Embu have said that female circumcision is still being practiced in the county and blamed some trained medics for allegedly helping perpetrate the outdated practice.
Mbeere Council of Elders (Ngome) coordinator Njeru Mairani told a county assembly committee that despite the gains made by anti-FGM crusaders, the vice still went on undeterred.
Speaking in Ishiara Town during a public participation forum for the 2015 Embu County Childcare Facilities Bill, the elder said the vice encouraged early marriages and defilement as those who underwent the cut are deemed “mature”.
Mr Mairani told the Gender, Culture, Children and Social Affairs Committee that girls as young as eight years were now undergoing the cut.
The elder alleged that medical professionals, who were acting clandestinely, had replaced traditional circumcisers, who were forced out of business by aggressive anti-FGM campaigns.
He attributed the high rate of school dropouts among girls in Mbeere North Sub-County to the vice, adding that some parents also later married off the girls to wealthy old men for financial gain.
DEFILEMENT ON THE RISE
“Cases of girl child defilement are on the rise since men see circumcised girls as mature women, yet the FGM practice is currently being performed on girls as young as eight years,” he told the committee, chaired by Makima MCA Peninah Mutua.
Nominated MCA Rosemary Manunga urged the elders to volunteer information that may lead to the arrest of violators of girls in the county.
She added that circumcised girls were now being treated as outcasts in modern societies and pleaded with parents in Embu to respect the rights of girls.
“Nowadays, nobody wants to marry circumcised girls. The elders can help in urging men not to entertain it (FGM),” she said.
Mr Mairani called for the drafting of a county law that would impose stiff penalties on both parents and doctors found subjecting girls to the cut.
He observed that laws prohibiting FGM were only applied in urban areas.
Elders now want the county to establish a special unit to crack down on those circumcising girls in order to wipe out the vice.
Others who spoke told the committee that the national government had failed to stem the rampant practice.