Female genital mutilation (FGM) has yet again reared its ugly head in the South Rift region despite efforts by stakeholders and government agencies to eradicate it.
The alarm has been raised over the increasing number of married women undergoing circumcision in Bomet, Kericho, Narok and Nakuru counties, unlike previously when the main target was young girls.
In Bomet, more than 40 newly initiated young and elderly women and circumcisers have been arrested and arraigned in court in the past one week.
CHARGED FOR CUT
On Monday, seven young women were charged before a Bomet court with undergoing FGM.
Nine elderly women were charged with failing to report an offence, after 10 girls were subjected to circumcision in Chebunyo, Chepalungu constituency.
The women aged between 21 and 24 appeared before Senior Resident Magistrate Kipkirui Kibelion, where they were charged with undergoing the outlawed cultural practice on November 19.
The nine elderly women denied the charges and were released on Sh50,000 bond or Sh30,000 cash bail each.
cases will be mentioned on December 9.
Konoin constituency, 17 women are reported to have been circumcised in Chelemet village. Some 15 others were rescued by administrators following a tip-off from residents working closely with children's rights activists.
"The county has trained 40 children's rights champions, who have been instrumental in sensitising residents on the dangers of clinging to age-old cultural practices that are harmful to girls," said Ms Rose Chepkorir, Bomet County's gender director.
"It is unfortunate that the majority of those who have been circumcised are married women or young mothers. They have been forced to undergo the rite in order to be acceptable in a society where married but uncircumcised women are frowned upon even by the womenfolk," she added.
The official further noted that to mark the 16 days of activism against gender violence, the county will run a mentorship programme targeting schoolgirls in Konoin, Bomet East, Bomet Central, Chepalungu and Sotik sub-counties.
Mr Charles Tonui, a human-rights activist based in Longisa, said most of the affected women reside in peripheral parts of Bomet neighbouring Nakuru, Kericho, Narok and Kisii counties.