Chiefs and their Assistants in Kajiado Central Sub-county have been directed to step up the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), teenage pregnancies and early marriages in their localities.
Area Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Charles Wambugu, said cases of FGM and teenage pregnancies have been on the rise, especially after the closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Wambugu ordered the Chiefs to report all cases to the authorities so that the perpetrators can be arrested and charged.
“All cases of teenage pregnancies must be reported immediately. If there are some school girls who have fallen pregnant in your area and you have not reported, then we will hold you responsible,” said Wambugu
Wambugu confirmed that one Chief and a local pastor had already been arrested and charged in court for impregnating minors.
Speaking after Chairing a committee meeting on Early Pregnancies Tracing and Action, the DCC warned the Chiefs against colluding with suspects and parents to have such cases handled out of court.
Chiefs in Kajiado have often been accused of supporting FGM and early marriages by failing to arrest those involved, saying that it is their cultural norm.
He revealed that so far 181 cases of teenage pregnancies had been reported in Kajiado Central but added that the number could be higher and ordered the Administrators to compile a detailed list to be submitted within the next one week for action.
The DCC linked cases of teenage pregnancies and forced early marriages to the circumcision of girls.
He noted that in the Maasai community, once a girl is circumcised, she is considered a woman, ready for marriage.
“The only way to end teenage pregnancies is by first ending FGM. Once a girl is circumcised, she is seen as to have now become a woman and can engage in sexual activities. To stop the menace of teenage pregnancies we must stop FGM first,” he stressed.
Wambugu further called on parents and guardians to spend more time with their children and monitor their movements and also educate them on sexual matters.
“Parents will also be held accountable for abdicating their responsibilities. They must spend more time with their children, monitor their day to day movements and keep them engaged at home so that they do not fall prey to predators,” he added.
He warned them against marrying off their daughters once they become pregnant, adding that the girls should be given a chance to complete their education after giving birth.
Gender CEC, Eve Merin, said the law protects sexual activities with minors and all perpetrators must be brought to book.
She called on the community to shun retrogressive cultural practices that infringe on the rights of the girl child like FGM and forced early marriages.
By Rop Janet