The Elgeyo Marakwet Women representative, Jane Kiptoo has asked the county government to partner with her office in the establishment of a rescue centre to provide refuge for girls and women escaping Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The women representative said it was sad that the county with an FGM prevalence rate of 53 percent does not have a rescue center forcing girls escaping from the vice to go all the way to Eldoret, where the nearest center is located.
Kiptoo said this is a major setback in the fight against FGM as those who have no means to reach Eldoret end up being forcefully cut.
She was speaking during a meeting between the Ministry of Public Service Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Racheal Shebesh, Chiefs and Security personnel from the county at the Iten Kenya Medical Training College.
Shebesh called on chiefs to be extra vigilant after some of the residents indicated that they were getting ready for the rite after a star which guides the activities was sighted.
“We are also calling on chiefs and elders who understand the people’s culture to assist the government in fighting the retrogressive culture,” she said.
The CAS said chiefs being leaders at the local level were better placed to eradicate FGM by 2022 as directed by the president.
She expressed concern that some people were even conducting the rite on infants as they seek ways to evade the law.
Shebesh added that there were increasing cases of residents taking their girls to retired doctors and nurses for the rite which she said is illegal regardless of who does it.
She said FGM does not add any value to women and girls.
The Chairperson Anti FGM Board, Agnes Pareiyo regretted that FGM continues unabated despite the country having strong laws.
She called on the county government to come up with a policy to fight the vice saying this will be an indicator that they were committed in eradicating the vice.
By Alice Wanjiru