Religious leaders found abetting Female Genital Mutilation could find themselves punished according to the rules laid out by the interfaith council.
Religious leaders who spoke at the end of a three-day anti-FGM sensitization seminar held at Sunset Hotel Kehancha, resolved to escalate punishment of any religious leader among the Kuria community who aids the continuation of the outlawed practice.
The leaders agreed that the aggressive church approach on anti-FGM campaign will solidify unity of more than 100 denominations established in Kuria East and Kuria West.
They said they are working closely with Migori County Interfaith Council, which will provide leadership ahead of FGM season from November this year.
Led by Bishop Peter Moseti of Zion Harvest International they said the church has sent a strong anti-FGM message and the real impact will be felt when the trained religious leaders will be meeting their members during worship.
Bishop Moseti said the approach taken by the government in the past by arresting and detaining FGM perpetrators had not succeeded in ending the practice but instead heightened animosity and resistance from the community elders who are the custodians of the practice.
He expressed confidence that the faith approach will succeed because the church leaders are in control of their followers.
The bishop said the leaders will tailor their anti-FGM messaging while weighing in the health, spiritual and other damaging social effects of the outlawed practice.
Bishop Moseti regretted that the elders promoting FGM are school dropouts who have nothing to bequeath the community other than issuing inconsequential threats.
Mary Kwamboka, an Adventist Relief Agency- Kenya official in charge of Anti FGM campaign said more than 80 percent of Kuria community are attached to denomination or religion which makes it easier for their leaders to pass anti-FM messaging.
Kwamboka said the three days’ training of the religious leaders on dangers of FGM and how they can help in stopping the practice is part of the implementation of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s call to end FGM by 2022.
She said the religious leaders under the interfaith council will engage the elders who are the custodians of FGM.
The training was organized by ADRA-Kenya together with UNICEF.
By Geoffrey Satia