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January 16, 2019

Court to rule on bench to hear pro-FGM case

Masaasi women Anti FGM Crusaders in a peaceful Demo outside the Machakos Court yesterday. Pix Andrew Mbuva
Masaasi women Anti FGM Crusaders in a peaceful Demo outside the Machakos Court yesterday. Pix Andrew Mbuva

A court will determine on Thursday whether three judges will hear a case in which a petitioner seeks to have FGM legalised.

Petitioner Tatu Kamau, a doctor, wants Chief Justice David Maraga to appoint a three-judge bench to hear the case because of the wide public interest it has attracted.

Yesterday, Justice David Kemei said all parties had filed their submissions. He will have to go through the documents before ruling.

“I was just perusing the submissions by the 10th interested party and I noted he is very much interested in the three-judge bench. He has even asked to have a Kadhi included,” he said.

Kamau seeks to have women allowed to consent to circumcision.

The freedom of choice allows one to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, so adult females should be allowed to choose whether to face the cut, she said.

Civil society, individuals and clerics have opposed the petition. They have said the practice is backward and harmful. 

Nine interested parties have been allowed in the case and want it dismissed. They include Equality Now, Amref Health Africa and Federation of Women Lawyers, the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness Africa, Katiba Institute, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Samburu Girls Foundation, Msichana Empowerment and Kenya Women Parliamentary Association.

The 10th interested party, John arap Koech, supports Kamau.

The petition comes in the wake of increased advocacy against FGM. Reverend Timothy Njoya, an anti-FGM crusader, yesterday said FGM is ungodly. 

“The nakedness of a girl is God’s wisdom. Don’t mutilate God’s wisdom. The clitoris of a girl is the antenna for listening to the whole universe,” he said outside court in Machakos.

Maasai anti-FGM advocates also turned up yesterday. Others included Agnes Pareiyo. She runs Tasaru Rescue Centre that takes care of rescued girls.

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