Nairobi — The government has intensified efforts to ensure that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is eradicated by 2022 as envisioned.
This follows a commitment by President Uhuru Kenyatta to end the practice by 2022.
Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) on Monday unveiled modalities known as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which it said will aid in the prosecution of FGM cases in the country even as Kenya gears to realize its dream.
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said the guidelines will be critical in fighting the vice.
"The main objective of the procedures is to standardize and bring consistency and efficiency in investigation and prosecution of FGM cases," he said stressing that procedures will be used as a basis for addressing disparities in the investigation and prosecution of FGM cases.
He noted that the SOPs will lay out what is required of a prosecutor in making the decision to charge, the evidence required, the conduct of the trial and how to handle victims and witnesses in the prosecution of FGM and related crimes.
"It is my hope that successful conviction of FGM cases will ultimately lead to prevention and eradication of FGM, hence promoting the rights of girls and women and foster the full realization of their potential," he said.
To foster its implementation, Haji noted that his office has already established a special Anti-FGM unit comprising of 50 female prosecutors that will exclusively handle FGM cases in the country.
The prosecutors who have since been deployed in hotspot areas across the country that are notorious in practicing the vice have been tasked to coordinate with different government officials on the ground to tame the vice.
"With the prosecutors, we hope to build confidence among the girls who will be victims and this would go a long way in building our cases in courts as the evidence provided by the witnesses would be tight," he said.
According to the Anti-FGM Board, close to five million women in Kenyan have undergone the cut, grim statistics which the board's Chief Executive Office Benardette Loloju attributed to the prevalent culture practiced by some communities in the country.
With the unveiling of the SOPs, Loloju noted that the fight against FGM will be reformed.
"The procedures are important for us because it will allow our organizations which deal with carrying out interventions on FGM to systematize their processes, keep all team members and stakeholders on the same page at all times and move forward in a singular and cohesive manner," she said.
With the inadequacies in evidence submission being one of the challenges that have slowed the fight against FGM, Loloju expressed optimism that the future looks bright and that Kenya will be on course to do away with the vice in 2022.
Judy Lanet who is in charge of community policing affairs at the National Police Service committed to work closely with other stakeholders to ensure justice is delivered.
Lady Justice Agnes Murgor who was also present during the unveiling of the procedures and represented Chief Justice Martha Koome assured that the Judiciary will be swift in dealing with FGM cases to realize the eradication dream of the vice by 2022.
"We want to assure you that as a Judiciary we are all part of this justice chain. We always say that we are at the end of the chain but if the chain has been working effectively up to the point where cases come to court and are prosecuted, then there is the likelihood that the efforts of all those who are in this process will be successful," she said.
Parliament has since enacted the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, 2011 to outlaw FGM and safeguard against the violation of a person's mental or physical integrity through its practice.