Kenya: Activists Want Chiefs to Undergo Anti-FGM Suitability Test

Gender-based violence activists in Tana River have kicked off an exercise to draft a petition to compel chiefs and their assistants to undergo an anti-FGM suitability test.

The petition to the Cabinet Secretary (CS) of Internal Security Dr Fred Matiangi and the National Assembly Committee for Gender, seeks to root out provincial administrators who have silently been aiding the cut.

The test will involve chiefs subjecting their daughters under the age of eight, to a medical test for female genital mutilation (FGM).

Ann Mawio, a member of Girl Agenda group said chiefs and their assistants in respective areas do not report FGM perpetrators since they are accomplices.

The activists spoke at Wema Village in Garsen Constituency during a legal aid forum organised by Kenya Community Support Centre in partnership with United Nations Development Program.

Ms Mawio noted that whereas girls undergo the cut every December with the cases likely to have shot during the pandemic, the numbers reported were negligible.

"In Tana River, a chief reported only one case of FGM to the police, yet we have four communities deeply rooted in this culture; someone is playing games on us," she said.

The activist noted that the chiefs have not been supportive in the fight to end the cut but have instead subjected their own children to the same.

Anti-FGM funding

They appealed to CS Interior to expedite their petition to achieve President Uhuru's agenda to end the cut by the end of 2022.

"Chiefs found to have defied the presidential order against FGM should not just be interdicted, but should also face the law," said Hawaa Fadhe another activist.

The lobbyists urged the to also vet activists who benefit from anti-FGM funding purporting to be against the vice yet their children are also circumcised.

"The presidential order is nearly 11 years old, if any activist has their child below eight years that has undergone the cut, then they need to be smoked out; those are con people," said Ali Berhe.

A report by World Vision shows that more than 20 girls were subjected to FGM last year, during the pandemic.

More than 100 who have since undergone the cut are suffering from trauma, while two out of ten die as a result of bleeding after the cut.

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