State, lobbies urge court to throw out FGM case

State, lobbies urge court to throw out FGM case. [Photo: Courtesy]
The Government and lobby groups have asked the court to dismiss a case filed by a doctor seeking to legalise female circumcision.

High Court judges Lydiah Achode, Margaret Muigai and Kanyi Kimondo heard that if the anti-Female Genital Mutilation law is lifted, the practice will do more harm than good.

The Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecution, FGM board pulled efforts with Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), Amref Health Africa and women MPS lobby KEWOPA to oppose Dr Tatu Kamau’s case.

In the second day of hearing, it emerged that children will be the most affected as communities practicing female cut target girls under the age of 18 years. At the same time, the court heard, the cultural practice will in turn encourage early marriages. The minors, judges heard, have no free will to reject their parents’ decision.

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The AG in his argument told the court that the contested law is above board as it went through all the stages of legislation, including public participation. “The case filed before the court is unmerited and should be dismissed,” the judges heard.

Adut women

Kenya outlawed the decades-long tradition in 2011. The sweeping law made it an offence to carry out FGM. It also provided for punishment to anyone who helps procure the same and also adult women who undergo the cut.

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The court heard that Kenyan communities carry out three types of FGM - clitoridectomy, excision and infibulation. 

Judges were told that as the practice is conducted by traditional healers, some of their patients end up dying, have difficulties in giving birth and cannot control bladder.

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Parliament passed Female Genital Mutilation Act in 2011 and it spelt a punishment of between 3 years and life imprisonment for those caught conducting FGM, those who cause death of an initiate in the process and also a fine of Sh200,000 as an alternative punishment of life imprisonment.

The Act creates nine offences which also make it punishable for a person who ridicules a woman who has not undergone the ritual. The punishment for the offender is three years in jail or Sh200,000 fine. 

However, the contested practice is still prevalent among the Somali, Samburu, Kisii and Maasai communities, among others.

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