National Government Administration Officers from Narok County have pledged to make Narok the model county in the eradication of FGM in the country ahead of 2022 envisaged by the government as per the Presidential Directive.
In a meeting with the administration officers chaired by the County Commissioner Mr. Evans Achoki, the chiefs pledged to make the county the first to end FGM in Kenya. The chiefs took a public oath to end the archaic practice by the end of 2021, one year ahead of the Government target of zero FGM cases by end of 2022.
The meeting was attended by six Deputy County Commissioners, Assistant County Commissioners, chiefs, and their assistants have drawn across the entire county. They made the solemn commitment at the historic William Ole Ntimama stadium in Narok town. The occasion was graced by Board Chairperson Ms. Agnes Pareyio and CEO Bernadette Loloju.
The County Commissioner Mr. Achoki in appreciating the chief’s commitment stated that FGM was a serious issue that needed to be treated with as equal seriousness as other crimes like terrorism, banditry, and cattle rustling.
He pledged to make the chiefs accountable to their oath. He stressed that he is committed to ending FGM and other related vices such as teenage pregnancies and child marriages which are pervasive in the county.
“We want to see as many arrests as possible and ensure culprits are punished accordingly and make the vice end completely and make it safe for girls in this county,” said Mr. Achoki.
The Chairperson Ms. Agnes Pareyio told the Chiefs that the Presidential Directive can only be realized if everyone shuns the practice and makes a deliberate effort to end it. “The President directed government agencies to ensure the law is enforced and action taken against all perpetrators. That is why we are pleading with you to help us end FGM,” remarked Ms. Pareyio.
The CEO Ms. Bernadette Loloju informed the chiefs that most people were unaware of the Presidential directive and that it is their responsibility to inform them by organizing barazas at the location level to help them understand why the State is against the retrogressive cultural practice.
She further urged the chiefs to take girl education seriously adding that cutting and marrying off girls was attracting poverty in their families and society. “Girls are equally capable of carrying out any duty just like the men. That is why even amongst you there are female chiefs equal to the task. Subjugating women and equating them to mere dowry fetchers is outdated and is attracting poverty in your family,” stated the CEO.
The Director of Administration in the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government Mr. Paul Famba, who is also the Ministry’s focal person in the multi-agency technical committee on ending FGM warned the chiefs that it is no longer business as usual and that they risked their jobs if convicted of abetting the crime.
“As an administrator, you should ensure your area of jurisdiction is free from FGM and related cases of teen pregnancies and child marriages. You will be held personally responsible if the retrogressive practice is practiced in your area,” he asserted.
“A time comes when you get exposed to newer ways of life and doing things. It is now time to denounce harmful cultures to move the nation forward,” added Mr. Famba.