• County Commissioner Isaac Masinde warned practitioners, abettors that their days damaging lives are over.
• State committed to ending the practice which is getting worse in some areas.
Sunday was International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.
The main observation took place in Wajir county. the theme was ‘Accelerating Investment to End Female Genital Mutilation’. Other observations were held around the country,
While warning FGM practitioners their days are numbered, county commissioner Isaac Masinde said the government is committed to end the cruel practice.
Speaking to the journalists in his office, Masinde said FGM was illegal no matter who carries it out as it has hurt young girls and women.
“FGM has a negative impact on education and the victims mostly drop out of school to get married or get pregnant. This is why we want to fight this outdated practice,” Masinde said. He told chiefs and their assistants they must be in the front line battling FGM and reporting culprits to police.
“The people still practicing the vice should be arrested and prosecuted,” the county commissioner said.
Some interventions proposed to keep children in school include introduction of school feeding programmes in all public primary schools, low-cost in boarding schools, providing sanitary pads and empowering women.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had committed to ending the FGM by 2022.
Anti-FGM board chairperson Agnes Pareiyo urged administrative units to be at the forefront arresting and prosecuting offenders.
She said success in the fight against FGM will depend mostly on the determination of local administrators.
“We want to see you making more arrests and ensuring the culprits are punished accordingly,” she said.
Anti-FGM Board CEO Bernadette Loloju said chiefs should educate the communities on the presidential directive as many residents may not be aware of the head of state order.
“Most of these people do not have information and it is the responsibility of chiefs to holding programme at the grassroots that will help them understand the state opposes this retrogressive practice," Loluju said.
According to data from the United Nations, one in five women and girls aged between 15 and 49 in Kenya have undergone FGM.
It causes serious health and childbirth problems, including death.
Kenya outlawed FGM in 2011, imposing stringent penalties on perpetrators. Others to be prosecuted are those who aid or abet FGM, possessing tools of the trade and failure to report a person carrying out FGM.
The law stipulates a prison sentence at least three years, a fine of Sh200,000 or both for the crimes..
A person who causes the death of a girl through FGM can be sentenced to life imprisonment.
the President's goal of ending FGM by 2022 is considered unrealistic, as poverty has increased because of Coid-19 ad drought, so more families want to marry off their daughters. A girl must be cut in some cultures before she can be married.
Insecurity and entrenched tradition make eradication difficult. Police and activists have been stoned when they try to prevent the practice.
(Edited by V. Graham)