Female genital mutilation perpetrators have been put on notice as FGM rate in West Pokot county stands at 75 percent posing danger to women reproductive health and wellbeing.
West Pokot county administrative officers warned the cutters that they will be arrested if they be will found performing FGM to women adding that FGM is outlawed but there are notorious perpetrators who are still forcing girls to undergo the cut.
Joseph Kipkorir West Pokot sub county deputy county commissioner said anti FGM law 2011 is very clear on FGM and those found culpable of participating in the outdated practice will be put behind bars.
He cited that there are some chiefs who still attend ceremonies of circumcising girls at night adding that the law will not spare them and they will be arrested and be charged as any other criminal.
“We won’t spare anyone in the fight against FGM, we will arrest you and you will be taken to court, men are not participating in the fight against FGM because they know they are the ones pushing their girls to undergo the cut so that they can get dowry.” He said.
Speaking at Kesot Location in Endough ward Kipkorir said FGM rate in the West Pokot county is at 74 % which means out of 100 girls 74 are cut.
“The government respects the different cultures and heritage of every community and society but any culture that violates the rights of human beings or causes harm needs to be shunned and stopped since it’s illegal,” He said
He urged residents to choose good things from their culture and avoid bad ones and challenged those who are informed on the dangers the FGM poses to the women and gild child to help sensitize others to stop the vice.
Kipkorir appealed to parents, community leaders, government authorities, Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), and children and young people to be at the forefront of fighting the retrogressive culture of female genital mutilation.
He warned the locals who still engage in mutilation and police officers who collaborate with residents to hide culprits of FGM that they risk losing their jobs as the government has declared war on the retrogressive cultural practice.
Wilson Kisiero, a child protection specialist at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) mentioned that prevalence in the Pokot community is 75%.
He said the UNICEF has a mandate to protect children from FGM because FGM leads to child marriage which has very serious consequences to the girl child.
He said the high prevalence rates of FGM in West Pokot county has denied girls their right of getting education.
“Other parts are far and developed. Girls are getting employed while the Pokot community still want to stick to outdated cultural practices,” He said.
He added that parents should take their children to school if they didn’t get a chance to go to school
Kiseiro added that by the end of 2022 FGM should have come to an end pointing out that in kesot location FGM stands at 90%
‘‘The FGM prevalence in Pokot community is 75% but the same is set to reduce significantly if the government and other stakeholders embark on a mission to creating awareness about the harmful effects of FGM which has affected the welfare and dignity of women and girls in the region,’’Kisiero noted
Among those who participated in the FGM sensitization event were the parents, community leaders, government authorities, Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) students, children, and men and women.