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Deputy Governor expresses outrage over circumcision of minors

Elgeyo Marakwet deputy governor Prof Grace Cheserek has expressed outrage over the circumcision of girls as young as seven years.

The DG said children between seven and nine years were among those who were rescued from undergoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and wondered why the community was forcing minors who didn’t even know what was happening to their bodies to undergo the rite.

Prof. Cheserek said she was disappointed as a leader and a woman from the community to hear that young children who defied the rite were being chased by adults bent on forcing them to be circumcised saying that has never been witnessed in the area.

She was speaking at Chorwa AIC Rescue Centre when the anti-FGM Board led by its chair Mrs. Ipato Surum donated food and toiletries to the over 100 girls rescued from FGM in the area. The centre has a capacity of 50 girls but the number has almost tripled.

She expressed concern that the community was retrogressing saying the rite was a major handicap to the development of the girlchild in the area as many don’t go back to school but get married after circumcision.

The DG told the girls to shun the belief among the community that girls who are not circumcised cannot get married saying there were many men out there ready to marry them.

“You can get married to men from other communities both within the country and outside so let no one scare you that you will not get husbands,” she said.

Prof. Cheserek said it was time for the community to come together and address the issue of circumcision not only of girls but even that of boys saying the community has buried very young boys of between 14 and 15 years who died after circumcision.

The young girls narrated how they were forced to walk for tens of kilometres to escape the rite saying there was a lot of pressure to get circumcised as one who fails to undergo the rite is considered a social misfit.

The Anti-FGM chair said the board will continue to champion community dialogues targeting women, elders, the clergy, and leaders saying the fight against the practice requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders.

Mrs. Surum said they would create a pool of champions from the girls to fight the practice saying while victory in the fight to eradicate FGM may take time she was optimistic that it will succeed if the community took the lead.

By Alice Wanjiru and Blessed Kemboi

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