Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Rachel Shebesh hailed Isiolo County cultural elders and religious leaders for supporting the directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta to end FGM by 2022.
She was speaking at Isiolo Police Ground where she presided over the launch of the Acceleration Plan to end FGM by 2022 in Isiolo County in October 2020.
Underscoring the role of cultural elders and religious leaders in ending FGM, Hon. Shebesh said that FGM is deeply connected to culture and religion. She said, as a result, the President convened a meeting with the cultural and religious leaders to support his commitment to end the practice by 2022.
Hon. Shebesh applauded the cultural elders and religious leaders who vehemently spoke against the practice among the Borana community and other communities residing in Isiolo County. She promised to directly forward their resolve to fight the practice to the President.
“I will not add or subtract any sentiments from what the elders and religious leaders have said here today. I will submit what they have said to H.E President, Uhuru Kenyatta,” she said.
She expressed confidence that the move by the Borana council of elders to support the President in realizing his commitment will set a precedent to other councils of elders from the 21 FGM hotspot counties.
“There is nothing more impressing to me and the Anti-FGM Board to hear the voice of elders in support of the Presidential directive. We hope and believe that this will be emulated by other elders from the 21 FGM hotspot counties.”
However, the Chief Administrative Secretary called on the local administrators to support the elders and religious leaders in their declaration to support the directive by the President. She urged them to fully implement the directive and ensure no girl is subjected to FGM.
“The declaration made today by both the elders and religious leaders will be null and void if there will be no goodwill from the administrators,” she said.
She added that the President had mandated the administrators to implement his directive on the ground. She said community dialogue engagement has been left to the elders, religious leaders, and community-based organizations.
Hon. Shebesh gave an assurance to the community-based organizations of full support from the Government since they are the ones who work tirelessly on behalf of the Government to ensure that girls are rescued from harmful cultural practices.
The Anti-FGM Board Chairperson Mrs. Agnes Pareyio noted that besides launching the Acceleration Plan to end FGM by 2022, the Board was also in Isiolo County to monitor the progress of the local administration in implementing the presidential directive.
Isiolo County Assembly Speaker, Hon. Hussein Roba decried medicalization of FGM being carried out by some nurses in the county especially during neonatal clinics or during delivery.