Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Rachel Shebesh accompanied by Board Chairperson Hon. Agnes Pareyio presided over a meeting with Tana River County National Government Administrators to cascade the Presidential Directive to end FGM by 2022 she issued a directive to the chiefs to initiate a serious crackdown on FGM perpetrators.
The CAS observed that chiefs must go out of their way to safeguard the dignity of girls in their locations by rounding up all cutters for prosecution. She warned the administrators that FGM is a criminal offense that has adverse effects on girls and women and negotiations with the perpetrators must not be tolerated.
She noted that the President had full trust and confidence with the local administrators to implement government directives and therefore they had no excuse to fight FGM.
“You are the ears of the President and the government in your location. You know all the residents and the households in your area. You must therefore take responsibility for incidents of FGM in your area,” said Hon. Shebesh adding: “As officers of government, you have a duty to enforce the law.”
She added that the Presidential directive can only be achieved if all the stakeholders worked together. She called for synergy and collaboration among state and non-state actors in the county fighting FGM to have a bigger impact.
The Chairperson Ms. Agnes Pareyio said law enforcement had been the weakest link in the eradication of FGM. “We have laws in places such as the Constitution, the Prohibition of FGM Act, and a National Policy on the Eradication of FGM in place. But all these are shells if there is no one implementing the laws,” she said.
“FGM is neither supported by the Bible nor by Islamic law. Then what makes it go on? Where there is a law, there must be implementation.” she added. She also implored the chiefs to take the Presidential directive seriously, noting that to achieve the target depended on their goodwill and commitment in eradicating the vice by cracking down on perpetrators.
Ms. Pareyio also lauded non-state actors that have been advocating for the end to the practice and committed the Board’s support to assist them where possible.
Ms. Sadia Hussein, a renowned anti-FGM activist in the county narrated her challenges while campaigning for the abandonment of the practice saying sections of the community have castigated her for firm resolve to end FGM.
“I have been called bad names because of my vigorous campaigns against FGM. I have accepted the name provided I save as many girls as possible. I am glad more people are coming on board to campaign against FGM, said Ms. Sadia.
The County Commissioner Mr. Mathias Rioba committed to keeping the Chiefs on their toes to ensure they do not sleep on the job. He ordered them to create awareness on the Presidential Directive to end the practice as well as the negative consequence of FGM to girls and women. He also vowed to take stern action against a chief or their assistants who will be guilty of abetting the practice in their locations.
You have been empowered with information and the law. What else do you need? You cannot be an administrator and not implement government directives. This practice must come to an end,” said Mr. Rioba to the chiefs.