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Men in Molo accused of forcing women into circumcision

Tuesday December 10 2019
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Members of the Ogiek community protest against FGM in Nakuru town on July 20, 2019. The community leaders have condemned forced FGM on married women in Mariashoni and Nessuit in Molo Sub-County. PHOTO |FRANCIS MUREITHI |NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FRANCIS MUREITHI

Married men in Molo, Nakuru County are paying up to Sh12,000 and one sheep to circumcisers to have their women to undergo circumcision.

The Ogiek Council of Elders has raised the red flag over the increasing cases of female circumcision (FGM) targeting married women and young girls in Nessuit and Mariashoni areas.

According to the chairman of the elders’ council Joseph Towett, a total of 87 women and girls – 29 in Nessuit and 58 in Mariashoni – have undergone the harmful cut this December.

CHIEFS ON THE SPOT

“This is shocking, yet we have assistant chiefs and chiefs in Nessuit and Mariashoni who are abetting this archaic cultural practice,” said Mr Towett.

He said this sad state of affairs is happening even as the local administration led by Regional Commissioner George Natembeya and Molo Deputy County Commissioner David Wanyonyi said they were not aware of such cases.

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“I am not aware of forced FGM on married women in Mariashoni and Nessuit areas. Nobody has told me about that. I will check the situation on the ground,” said Mr Natembeya.

NOT AWARE

On his part, Mr Wanyonyi who is directly in charge of the area, denied any knowledge of FGM activities in his area of jurisdiction.

“I’m not aware of FGM cases in Nessuit and Mariashoni,” he said when contacted by the Nation.

But Mr Towett blamed the local administration, security personnel and local Nyumba Kumi leaders for failing to end FGM in the area.

“The victims have been locked up in horrible conditions in a house in Molem and Karabwet in Mariashoni Location for the past two weeks and I’m surprised the local leaders led by the chiefs and deputy county commissioner and regional commissioner are not aware of it,” said Mr Towet.

Kenyan law prohibits the harmful practice.

COUNSELLING

“These married women and girls need a lot of counselling as they were forced to undergo the dangerous cut against their wishes,” added Mr Towett.

He added that the victims may need tetanus vaccination and through medical check-ups as the circumciser normally uses one knife on everyone.

“In this era of HIV/Aids, these women and girls should be taken to hospital for further medical check-ups,” said Mr Towett.

He said if the practice continues, girls who are in school will also be tempted to join their peers and mothers and disrupt their learning.

Mr Towett said that some girls who recently completed Class 8 are also being forced to undergo the cut by their parents.

“Married women are forced to undergo the cut with their children to end stigmatisation and be accepted in the society,” said Mr Towett.

CAMPAIGN TO TARGET MEN

He suggested that the next campaign strategy to end FGM should target men who are forcing their women to be circumcised.

“Married women are caught between the rock and a hard place and are torn between pleasing their husbands and fellow women who have turned uncircumcised women into objects of ridicule,” said Mr Towett.

He said the government and non-governmental organisations should launch a campaign in the area targeting married men.

“The fight against FGM in Nakuru, Narok, Baringo, Bomet and Kericho counties will only succeed if more energy is redirected towards civic education targeting men who are still supporting this retrogressive cultural practice that is harmful to girls and women,” said Mr Towett.

He noted that FGM is the root cause of increasing cases of early pregnancies and marriages in the South Rift region and called on the government to sack chiefs and their assistant who are not enforcing the FGM ban in their respective areas.

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