Concern over rising FGM cases in Nakuru County

An elderly Masai man blesses girls by sprinkling milk on them during the graduation of Alternative rite of passage in a past event. Photo: Courtesy
An elderly Masai man blesses girls by sprinkling milk on them during the graduation of Alternative rite of passage in a past event. Photo: Courtesy

Even as Kenyans marked sixteen days of activism, violations against women and girls continued unabated. Nakuru County for instance registered high cases of FGM which appeared to weaken gains made in the sector.

According to Dandelion Africa which is a local NGO involved in the fight against FGM and poverty among women in rural areas , over 50 women underwent the cut in Rongai and Mogotio areas alone in a span of one week.

Six women aged between 18 and 24 years were first arrested at Sachangwan village in Molo Sub County.

Police who ambushed the women in the wee hours of the morning said that they were tipped by an elderly woman, who had been asked to hide the six women in her house.

Details emerged that the six had undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) but quickly hid when they learnt that the police were pursuing them.

“When I got the tip off, I together with the local administrators moved in to arrest the women and brought them to Molo sub county hospital, where doctors confirmed that the six had undergone FGM,” said the Sachangwan Assistant County Commissioner, Mr Peter Mutiso.

 

Mr Mutiso said the medical report from the hospital showed that some of the women had wounds that were already infected with bacteria.

“The doctors administered antibiotics to the affected women as the suspects waited to be booked to Molo police station,” he said.

Police are still looking for the woman who carried out the act and is believed to have fled to Bomet County.

Forced

According to the area assistant chief, Mr Peter Kipkemoi, the women, who are married and have children, claimed they had been compelled to FGM by their husbands.

“They all confided in us that it was their husbands who pushed them into the act on the basis that they would remain incomplete until they agreed to practice FGM,” said Mr Kipkemoi.

He added that the practice was common in the area, as some elderly women have turned the vice into a business venture.

“The women who carry out FGM charge Ksh 2,000 per person and use the money to go into hiding,” revealed the assistant chief.

He agreed that there was need to sensitize both the men and women in rural Kenya, on the dangers associated with FGM.

Mogotio

He spoke even as four other people were arrested in Simotwo area of Mogotio for abetting FGM.

They are currently admitted at the Eldama- ravine sub county hospital after contracting infection.

Naswa Emmah who is the acting Assistant county commissioner in Mogotio Sub County said that the administration is having challenges in combating the vice given that the community is reluctant to give information.

She said that poor network coverage in the area also hinders timely relaying of information but at the moment civic education is being conducted through barazas.

Further, Police in Mauche Njoro have arrested four people for practicising female genital mutilation.

The four were arrested at Tabaswet village in Kapkembu location. According to Njoro deputy OCPD Gladys Madee, three women aged 21, 29 and 30 years were arrested for procuring FGM.

A husband to one of the arrested women who is also the owner of the house where the FGM was conducted has also been arrested.

Three other suspects managed to escape the police raid.

Medical examination

The women who were taken to Njoro Sub County hospital for checkup were confirmed to have undergone the cut.

The suspects told the police that they decided to undergo the cut to avoid discrimination and intimidation from the community members who have undergone it.

The incidents typify the spread of FGM in the county with Aszet  Wendo- the director of Dandelion Africa accusing rogue national government administrators of being great obstacles in the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM) in Mogotio  and Rongai constituencies.

Wendo said that FGM sympathizers among the police and chiefs are a letdown in the fight against the vice.

While marking 16 days of activism against gender based violence in Mogotio town, Wendo said that with proper co-operation from the administrators and involvement of the boy child in the fight, it is possible to scale down the vice.

She said that they are already involving men and boys in the campaign against FGM.

She regretted that the practice is now common in women than girls.

In the last two years she said that they have saved at least 20 girls from undergoing the cut.

According to Wendo, tradition and culture also contributes a lot to thriving of the vice considering that those who have not undergone the cut are treated as “lesser adults”

Elizabeth Chepkurui Barta who has since abandoned practicing FGM said that she abandoned the vice after circumcising an expectant girl who bled profusely.

She encourages those that are still practicing FGM to stop since it is against the law and dangerous.

She conceded having cut about 60 girls before she quit the practice.

Chepkurui blames outdated traditions and culture for the vice adding that in some instances security officers encounter hostilities while making arrests where cases of FGM have been reported.