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Shebesh challenges local administrators to front the fight against FGM

Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service and Gender Ms. Rachael Shebesh has challenged the local administrative units to arrest and prosecute culprits of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in a bid to end the outdated cultural practice.

Shebesh reiterated President Kenyatta’s directive to fight and end the retrogressive cultural practice by the year 2022 saying it was the responsibility of every individual to work towards achieving this vision.

“It does not matter whether it is a cultural practice or not. What I know is that the President engaged all cultural leaders from the most affected communities who agreed to end FGM by the year 2022,” said Shebesh.

Local Maasai women receive a cheque issued by National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) Saturday, June 27, 2020 at the Narok North Youth Center. The Cheque was issued by CAS Gender Ms. Racheal Shebesh (second left).

She spoke yesterday in Narok town when she met the local administrators led by Narok Commissioner Samuel Kimiti and attended by the six Deputy County Commissioners and their assistants.

Also present during the occasion was Narok Women Representative Ms. Soipan Kudate, Narok Governor’s wife Ms. Sarah Tunai and the Chairlady of Anti FGM board Ms. Agnes Pareiyo.

“70 per cent of our success will depend on the local administrators. We want to see you doing more arrests and ensuring the culprits are punished accordingly,” she added.

Shebesh reminded the residents that FGM was illegal no matter who carries it out as it impacted negatively on the young girls.

“No medic has gone to school to study how to carry out FGM. This means even those parents who take their daughters to the hospital to be cut are on the wrong side of the law and both the medics and parents risk being prosecuted,” reiterated Shebesh.

She challenged the DCCs to sensitize the community on the Presidential directive as many residents may not be aware of law.

“Incase these people do not have information, kindly tell them. It is good you hold programmes in the grassroots that will help in educating the community on the vices of FGM and let them understand why the government is against this retrogressive cultural practice,” said Shebesh.

CAS Gender Ms. Racheal Shebesh with Anti-FGM board Chair Agnes Pareiyo on Saturday, June 27, 2020 at the Tasaru Girls Rescue center

Shebesh who also visited Tasaru Girls Rescue Center and Narok Huduma Center encouraged girls to work hard in school so as to become relevant people in the society.

“It is not a mistake that you are girls. God created you and said it is perfect. The President fully supports you, that is why he has put the Ministry of Gender to be fully led by women so that they can spearhead changes that will favour you,” added Shebesh.

At the same time, Shebesh handed over a Sh5 million cheque for Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) and Sh9.65 million for the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) and encouraged the residents to apply to benefit from the funds.

On her part, the Anti-FGM board Chair wondered why mothers would encourage their girls to undergo the cut at this 21st century yet the practice has been tested and proved to be of no benefit to the girls.

“I wonder why a mother will watch her daughter undergoing the pain of the cut yet it does not help her in anything and instead harms her health,” she said.

FGM is rampant in Narok County with many cases going unreported as the mothers take their girls to far counties to escape the eyes of the local administration officers.

Once arrested, in many cases the young girls try to conceal the crime by admitting having cut themselves. This makes it difficult to punish the culprits as most girls are as young as 13 years old.

Last year, in a Statehouse meeting attended by pastoralist communities’ cultural leaders from areas where FGM is rampant, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that his administration is committed to ending FGM by the year 2022. 

By Ann Salaton

 

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