Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Rachel Shebesh met with Elgeyo Marakwet County National Government Administrators where she implored on them that FGM is illegal and has no social value and therefore must end by the year 2022 as per the Presidential Directive.
The CAS asked the administrators to implement the Presidential Directive to end FGM to the letter to ensure The Presidential Directive is achieved by set timelines. The CAS regretted that girls from the county had been denied equal opportunity to excel due to FGM and early pregnancies unlike girls from other regions.
In a meeting with the administrators at the Kenya Medical Training College hall in Iten town to cascade the Presidential Directive to end FGM by 2022, Hon. Shebesh asserted to the Chiefs that they must prioritize the war on FGM for the community to participate fully in economic development.
“What is removed from a woman hurts her future, adds no value to life, and sabotages the future and prosperity of the young girls. All girls are born perfect. We must end this vice once and for all. Why should anyone interfere with the normal functioning of their bodies in the name of culture?” she posed.
She told the chiefs to work alongside the cultural elders to eradicate the vice in the county. “Statistics indicate that the prevalence of FGM among the Kalenjin community is 27% while among the Marakwet sub-tribe is 53%. This is above the national average meaning girls from this community are disadvantaged in their progression in life,” she added.
The CAS was accompanied by the County’s Women Representative in the National Assembly Hon. Jane Chebaibai, Board Chairperson Hon. Agnes Pareyio among other national and county government officials.
Hon. Pareyio said that the government has adopted new strategies of ending the practice. She observed that for a long time, the war on FGM had been a preserve of Non-Governmental organizations. She decried lack of tight enforcement of the law from the administrators.
“We have had numerous awareness campaigns but the practice is still rife. We also have robust laws in place from the Constitution that protect all Kenyans from harmful cultural practices, the Children Act, and the Anti-FGM Act but the practice is not ending. The law enforcers have to be more proactive. We have a directive from the President meaning it is not business as usual,” she affirmed.
She stated that the Government had resolved to incorporate all the actors to accelerate the end of the practice. She called for deeper and enhanced partnerships to seal all loopholes and the gaps that exist in fighting the vice.
She further urged the County Government to enact a county policy on ending FGM stressing that it indicates the commitment to eradicate the vice at the county level and guarantees girls from the county prosperity and equal chance like girls from other parts of the country.
Hon. Chebaibai urged men to stand firm against FGM by setting a good example by marrying uncut girls. “The men must be fully involved in ending this vice as it involves their daughters, sisters, mothers, and their wives. A world where there is gender equality is a wonderful world. The world is moving progressively and that is why today there are female chiefs unlike before. We have to move ahead like the rest of the world,” stated Hon. Chebaibai.
She also assured the Board that through affirmative action funds, she would champion the construction of rescue centers in the County. She appealed for support from the County Government to ensure its sustainability.